Survivors organisations and the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal celebrated their victory in forcing the Indian Government to serve a long-pending notice to the US Government to extradite former Union Carbide chairman Warren Anderson. Anderson is wanted in the Bhopal Court for his primary role in the 1984 gas disaster in Bhopal that has claimed more than 20,000 lives till date. Senior officials of the Indian embassy in Washington, D.C. and the Central Bureau of Investigation [CBI] have confirmed the delivery of the extradition request.

"We will ensure that this is not just a token gesture. We will continue to pressure the Government till Anderson and others responsible for the world's worst disaster face trial in the ongoing criminal case."

- Rashida Bee

"This long-awaited move is a major step towards in our struggle for justice." said Rashida Bee, president of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh (Bhopal Gas-Affected Women Stationery Workers Association). "We will ensure that this is not just a token gesture. We will continue to pressure the Government till Anderson and others responsible for the world's worst disaster face trial in the ongoing criminal case." she added.

The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal's supporters in the U.S. have already initiated moves to ensure that the US government honors the extradition request. "The ball is squarely in the US Government's court. After all the talk about justice, it is now time for the US Government to walk the walk and get Anderson to face criminal trial in Bhopal," said Krishnaveni Gundu, ICJB's coordinator in USA. "Precedents for extradition from the US, as of former Nazi John Demjanjuk's extradition to Israel in the 1980s came about only because of an extensive international public campaign demanding justice," added Casey Harrell of Greenpeace USA which is part of ICJB.

The request for Anderson's extradition has come after three years of intense pressure on the Indian Government by survivors organisations in Bhopal, their supporters worldwide and the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Bhopal. Last July, two women survivors and a long-time Bhopal activist went on a 19-day fast, supported by more than 1500 hunger strikers worldwide, to reverse a request by the Indian Government to dilute criminal charges against Warren Anderson. The hunger strike was coupled with protests outside Indian embassies in several countries, including the United Kingdom, the US and South Africa. On May 12, 2003, Bhopal survivors and their supporters demonstrated outside the Indian embassy in Washington, D.C. to press their demands for extradition.

For more information:

Satinath Sarangi
ICJB (Bhopal): +91 755 2743157 / 2730914

Gary Cohen
ICJB (US) : +1 617 524 6018
(Environmental Health Fund)

Tim Edwards
ICJB (UK): +44 7815172148 (cell)
Anderson and Union Carbide Corporation [UCC] stand accused of manslaughter, grievous assault, poisoning and killing of animals and other serious offences. "Criminal trial of corporate CEOs is not merely a necessary legal measure for justice in Bhopal. It is an essential prerequisite for tackling the growing crisis of corporate crime," said Raj Sharma, an attorney representing the survivors in the class action suit. In 1992, the Bhopal court declared Warren Anderson a fugitive from justice, after he ignored summons issued by the Bhopal court to appear in the criminal case. Anderson remained in hiding for 10 years till Greenpeace and Daily Mirror traced his whereabouts in July 2002, to an up-market neighborhood in Bridgehampton, New York.

The Bhopal disaster of December 3, 1984, poisoned nearly 500,000 people and killed more than 8,000 people in its immediate aftermath. Union Carbide fled the country after paying a pittance in damages between $500 and $2000 per victim for lifelong injury or death and leaving behind thousands of tons of toxic wastes and an unresolved legal inquiry into Carbide's criminal liabilities. In February 2001, Midland, Michigan-based The Dow Chemical Company acquired Union Carbide as a 100 percent subsidiary. However, Dow has refused to accept Carbide's Bhopal liabilities. In a strongly worded letter to the Indian Prime Minister, ICJB and Bhopal survivor organisations have demanded that "The Government should take immediate steps to bring Accused No. 10, Union Carbide Corporation, to face trial and include Dow Chemical, its new owner, as an accused in the criminal case."