After 13 years of legal wrangling, an appeals court in The Hague has ruled that Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary must pay compensation for oil spills on land in two villages named Goi and Oruma

It also held the Anglo-Dutch parent company, Royal Dutch Shell liable for not installing new pipeline equipment to prevent further devastating spills in the Niger Delta region.

The case, backed by the Netherlands arm of environment group, Friends of the Earth, has dragged on so long that two of the four Nigerian  farmers who filed the suit on behalf of the communities have died since it was first filed in 2008.

“The court ruled that Shell Nigeria is liable for the damage caused by the spills. Shell Nigeria is sentenced to compensate farmers for damages,” judge Sierd Schaafsma said.

The amount to be paid, according to the court, would be determined later. Also, the court did not specify how many of the four farmers would receive the  compensation.

The farmers first sued Shell in 2008 over pollution in their villages of Goi, Oruma and Ikot Ada Udo, in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region.

A lower court in the Netherlands determined in 2013 that Shell should pay compensation for one leak but it also held that Shell’s parent company could not be held liable in a Dutch court for the actions of its Nigerian subsidiary.

However, in 2015, the Hague appeals court ruled that Dutch courts did indeed have jurisdiction in the case.

“In the Oruma cases, Shell Nigeria and… Royal Dutch Shell are ordered to equip the pipeline with a leak detection system so that environmental damage can be limited in the future,” the court said.

Shell Nigeria should have shut down oil supplies on the day of the spill in the cases in Goi, it said.

The court said it needed more time to resolve the case of Ikot Ada Udo, saying that the leak was due to sabotage but it was not clear whether Shell could still be held liable for it, and for cleaning up.

“For the inhabitants of the Niger Delta it is crucial that their land is cleaned up and their lost crops and livelihoods are compensated by the guilty party: Shell,” Donald Pols of Friends of the Earth Netherlands said in a statement ahead of the case.