The claimants belong to the indigenous Ogoni people, who live in Ogoniland, an oil-rich area in Nigeria. Up until early 1993 a joint venture, of which the SPDC also formed part, had extracted oil in that area. Ogoni organisations protested the way this was done, to which the Nigerian authorities responded with a crackdown. Supporters of the more radical Ogoni organisations were held responsible for the protests. In November 1995, a special tribunal sentenced nine men – the Ogoni 9 – to death for their involvement in the murder of Ogoni leaders. The claimants’ husbands belonged to this group of men, who were hanged after their conviction.