A court in France has thrown out a lawsuit filed against TotalEnergies by two French and four Ugandan groups over the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (ECOP), also known as Uganda Tanzania Crude Oil Pipe (UTCOP)
The lawsuit had also included six Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the controversial $5 billion project linking Uganda and Tanzania.
According to a report by Business Africa, the six NGOs had originally lodged their complaint four years ago, using a then-recently adopted French law that requires multinationals and their subcontractors to demonstrate rigorous consideration of human and environmental rights in the implementation of their projects.
France was a pioneer in adopting the so-called “duty of care” laws, with other European countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, and Norway subsequently following suit.
The pipeline is set to sun from Lake Albert in Uganda to the Tanzanian port of Tanga, with the born of contention revolving around close to 100,000 who will be displaced from their lands.
TotalEnergies is also being accused of failing to consider human and environmental rights.
In a dismissal case, the French court ruled that the petitioners failed to respect legal procedures and presented different grievances during the trial than when the case was launched in 2019.
During the trial, the NGOs presented over 200 pieces of supporting evidence in an attempt to strengthen their case, but the judge ruled that the case, which had been filed using a fast-track procedure, was beyond the court’s capacity and required thorough examination.
The East African Crude Oil Pipeline has faced significant backlash from environmentalists since it was first proposed in 2015.
The online campaign #StopEACOP has received support from over 260 civil society organizations worldwide, including the pan-African climate movement 350 Africa and US-based think-tank Inclusive Development International.
Recently, 10 Tanzanian and Ugandan NGOs filed a complaint with the OECD against insurance broker company Marsh, which is backing the project.