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US to give 'fair consideration' on Anderson extradition

By The Assam Tribune

WASHINGTON, June 12 (IANS) - The US has said it would give "fair consideration" to any request for the extradition of Warren Anderson, Union Carbide CEO at the time of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy, and "carefully evaluate" any call to bring him to justice.

Anderson, 89, and wife Lillian Anderson are living in retirement in Bridgehampton, Long Island, New York and also own houses in Vero Beach, Florida and Greenwich, Connecticut. He is believed to be deaf and senile by activists who have confronted him over the Bhopal disaster.

"Since extradition requests are confidential, I'm not in position to verify, the fact, whether we have such requests or whether we have responded to it," State Department spokesman PJ Crowley, told reporters Friday when asked how the US will respond if the Government of India approaches it with a fresh extradition request.

"We have an extradition treaty with India. And if India makes an extradition request to us, we will give it fair consideration," he said.

Asked if the US will help India to track Anderson, who was released on a bond of Rs. 25,000 in 1984, and to bring him to justice, Crowley said: " I have no way of validating whatever document he signed in 1984."

"All I will tell you, obviously, if the Government of India makes such a request of us, we will carefully evaluate it," he said.

Declining to "draw a direct comparison" between the Obama administration's call for accountability in the case of BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and Bhopal gas tragedy, Crowley said: "Certainly, if I recall, in the case of Bhopal there was a settlement realised a number of years ago.

"And I believe that there was an effort towards remediation, although I don't express that I have all of the facts here in front of me."

"You have an ongoing situation here. BP, as a private company, has stepped up and indicated it will take its own steps since it owns the well to stop the leak and to pay for the mitigation of the impact. We're working as a government aggressively with BP to try to mitigate the impact of this as we've detailed here".

"So I wouldn't necessarily feel comfortable comparing what happened in the mid-80s and what's happening today," he said.

Asked if he now expected a similar kind of response from US companies overseas if they get involved with an incident like the BP oil spill, Crowley said: "There's a different set of legal issues in terms of the codes of India. And I would take it on faith that US companies that are operating overseas are very mindful of and respectful of the laws of any country in which they operate.

Earlier, this week, US Congressman Frank Pallone, the founder and former co-chairman of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, had supported the demand for Anderson's extradition.

"All those responsible for this disaster, including the former chairman of Union Carbide Warren Anderson, should stand trial in India and receive punishment that reflects the devastation and pain they have caused for thousands of people.

"Warren Anderson absolutely deserves to be extradited from the US and punished for the full extent of his crimes. As chairman of Union Carbide at the time of the Bhopal gas disaster, Anderson was ultimately responsible for his company's actions," Pallone said.

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WASHINGTON, June 12 (IANS) - The US has said it would give "fair consideration" to any request for the extradition of Warren Anderson, Union Carbide CEO at the time of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy, and "carefully evaluate" any call to bring him to justice.

Anderson, 89, and wife Lillian Anderson are living in retirement in Bridgehampton, Long Island, New York and also own houses in Vero Beach, Florida and Greenwich, Connecticut. He is believed to be deaf and senile by activists who have confronted him over the Bhopal disaster.

"Since extradition requests are confidential, I'm not in position to verify, the fact, whether we have such requests or whether we have responded to it," State Department spokesman PJ Crowley, told reporters Friday when asked how the US will respond if the Government of India approaches it with a fresh extradition request.

"We have an extradition treaty with India. And if India makes an extradition request to us, we will give it fair consideration," he said.

Asked if the US will help India to track Anderson, who was released on a bond of Rs. 25,000 in 1984, and to bring him to justice, Crowley said: " I have no way of validating whatever document he signed in 1984."

"All I will tell you, obviously, if the Government of India makes such a request of us, we will carefully evaluate it," he said.

Declining to "draw a direct comparison" between the Obama administration's call for accountability in the case of BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and Bhopal gas tragedy, Crowley said: "Certainly, if I recall, in the case of Bhopal there was a settlement realised a number of years ago.

"And I believe that there was an effort towards remediation, although I don't express that I have all of the facts here in front of me."

"You have an ongoing situation here. BP, as a private company, has stepped up and indicated it will take its own steps since it owns the well to stop the leak and to pay for the mitigation of the impact. We're working as a government aggressively with BP to try to mitigate the impact of this as we've detailed here".

"So I wouldn't necessarily feel comfortable comparing what happened in the mid-80s and what's happening today," he said.

Asked if he now expected a similar kind of response from US companies overseas if they get involved with an incident like the BP oil spill, Crowley said: "There's a different set of legal issues in terms of the codes of India. And I would take it on faith that US companies that are operating overseas are very mindful of and respectful of the laws of any country in which they operate.

Earlier, this week, US Congressman Frank Pallone, the founder and former co-chairman of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, had supported the demand for Anderson's extradition.

"All those responsible for this disaster, including the former chairman of Union Carbide Warren Anderson, should stand trial in India and receive punishment that reflects the devastation and pain they have caused for thousands of people.

"Warren Anderson absolutely deserves to be extradited from the US and punished for the full extent of his crimes. As chairman of Union Carbide at the time of the Bhopal gas disaster, Anderson was ultimately responsible for his company's actions," Pallone said.

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