On Friday 6th February 200 people who were victims of a major pollution incident caused by Konkola Copper Mines in 2006, which poisoned the Kafue river and made thousands sick, flooded the Supreme Court of Zambia. They were attending the hearing of an appeal (by KCM) against the precedent judgement in January 2011 which awarded them K10 billion ($2 million) in damages for the sickness caused by drinking polluted water, and defended the original judgement.
The 2000 claimants in the original case, led by lead claimant James Nyasulu, had feared they would never get justice until President Michael Sata intervened after meeting them in April 2014 and arranged a hearing of the Supreme Court in Ndola on June 3rd. The hearing took place but one of the three judges, Justice Albert Wood, had previously been an advocate for KCM in earlier hearings of the case. Nyasulu and his group complained to the Supreme Court about this undeclared conflict of interest and were granted a re-sit of the hearing on Friday 6th Feb in Lusaka.
However justice was not delivered as Vedanta asked for an adjournment in order to find another lawyer and prepare more documents. The judges granted them 10 days to file any additional information, and the respondents (the victims) to file a response to that. However the judges stated that they were ‘suspicious about Vedanta’s activities’ and asserted that the judgement will be delivered by them at the next sitting of the Supreme Court.