Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Swift Justice

There’s finally a verdict in the Bhopal case.

More than 25 years after a plume of fatal toxic gas from an American-owned chemical plant wafted over the slumbering city of Bhopal, eight former executives of the company’s Indian subsidiary — including one who has since died — were convicted Monday of negligence. The seven surviving defendants were sentenced to two years in prison and fined 100,000 rupees, or $2,100.

They were the first criminal convictions from the leak at the Union Carbide chemical plant in Bhopal, a central Indian city. The leak killed 3,000 people almost instantly, and thousands more died later from the aftereffects of the toxic gas, an ingredient in pesticides the plant produced.

I suppose that means that by 2036 we can look forward to the end of the trial of BP and the harsh fine of $50,000 each for any of the scapegoats that manage to live that long while the folks really responsible for it will have never been brought to trial. It will then be appealed to a higher court.