On 16th January 2013 the Tiguentourine Gas Facility based in In Amenas, Algeria, and run as a joint venture between BP, Statoil and the Algerian oil company Sonatrach, came under violent terrorist attack. The facility housed approximately 145 foreign nationals.
As terrorists entered the facility they seized foreign nationals as hostages in what was to become a horrific four-day siege, culminating in catastrophic loss and injury. Sadly 40 of the foreign nationals as well as a number of Algerian workers lost their lives during the attack. Many others suffered both physical and psychological injuries. International press coverage suggests that those responsible for the attack were a faction of Al-Qaeda.
Slater & Gordon Lawyers are representing a number of survivors and the families of those people killed at the Tiguentourine Gas Facility to establish the circumstances surrounding the terrorist attack, how it happened and what lessons can be learned. Our clients are from several nations but despite the passage of 18 months little information has emerged to comfort those whose lives have been so substantially affected.
Whilst the Norwegian Statoil has published the results of its internal investigation into the incident, the UK business BP, for whom many worked, has remained silent so those people who have suffered are reliant on judicial investigations to enable them to understand and come to terms the events that happened to them and their loved ones.
Inquests into the deaths of seven British workers began in 2013, and is now being heard in Court 73 at the Royal Courts of Justice and is due to conclude on the 24th October 2014. The ‘interested persons’ to the inquests include Slater & Gordon’s clients whose loved ones died, BP, Statoil, the Metropolitan Police, and the UK Government. Details about the inquest process, including the hearing dates and schedule, can be found at In Amenas Inquest.
A vast amount of evidence and background material has been assembled in preparation for the hearings. Approximately 70 witnesses are being called and there are important and detailed witness statements to be considered. The inquests promises to be the best chance for a full and independent investigation into the terrorist attack at the Tiguentourine Gas Facility.
UK Government Sought to Delay
On Friday 5th September 2014 the UK government applied to postpone the inquest and argued that the inquest should be presided over by a Judge rather than a Senior Coroner owing to the nature of some of the evidence which could have resulted in the inquest being delayed by many months.
On behalf of the people affected Slater & Gordon Lawyers strongly opposed the proposed adjournment. The victims had already waited for nearly two years for open independent judicial investigation and had spent much of the last year preparing themselves for a hearing in September 2014. We shared their grave concerns about the prospect of further delays in completing the investigation. We were therefore very pleased when, following our objections, the inquest was adjorned for only a week and has now begun and with a Judge as Coronor.
The Continuing Fight for Justice
Slater & Gordon Lawyers believe that security failings at the In Amenas facility caused or contributed to the injuries and loss of life that occurred during the siege.
Whilst we remain hopeful that the inquest process can shed further light on this issue, we have continued to investigate our clients’ legal rights to seek direct remedies, including compensation against any responsible parties.
We will leave no stone unturned. This terrorist attack was an international outrage and if the UK legal system lets us down we will explore all options including international ones.
Slater & Gordon Lawyers welcome contact from UK citizens or any other jurisdiction who have been affected. Wherever you are, if you have been directly affected by the In Amenas incident or you are representing individuals that have been affected, please contact AThompson@SlaterGordon.co.uk or call freephone 0800 884 0383 or contact us online.
Slater & Gordon Lawyers UK have 1,450 staff and offices in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, Derby, Merseyside, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Wakefield, Halifax & meeting rooms in Bramhall, Cheshire.
Slater & Gordon Lawyers AUS have 1,200 staff in 70 locations across Australia.