Ninth Circuit Rules That U.S. Companies Not Guilty of Genocide in Use of Pesticides in Ivory Coast

The United States Court of Appeals has ruled that 700 Ivory Coast farm workers cannot establish that exposure to a U.S.-made pesticide, known as DBCP for dibromochloropropane, constituted genocide. The court ruled that there was no evidence that Amvac Chemical Corp. of Newport Beach, Dole Food Co. of Westlake Village, Dow Chemical Co. and Shell Oil Co. intended to harm the farm workers.

The suit was brought under the federal Alien Torts Statute. The panel ruled that the plaintiffs in such cases need to show “specific intent” to destroy the population. The panel found that the plaintiffs were pushing the term genocide far from its common meaning and understanding: “No treaty of the United States, no controlling act of the president or Congress, and no judicial decision indicates that genocide is a knowledge-based norm. Nor is there a sufficient consensus that it is a violation of international law to be aware that genocide will occur in the ordinary course of events.”

Here is the decision from the Court: Opinion

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