Shell must pay damages to Nigerian farmers who have been litigating against the company for thirteen years.

The court in The Hague decided this on Friday.

The amount of compensation must be determined later.

Milieudefensie brought the lawsuit in 2008 on behalf of four Nigerian farmers.

The case revolved around the spills from underground oil pipelines.

According to the plaintiffs, their villages have become virtually uninhabitable due to the spills.

The contaminated land became unusable and fishing grounds were lost, causing them to lose their income.

Shell said that the spills are the result of sabotage and that the company is therefore not liable for them.

The company also argued that the pollution is always cleaned up properly, while the farmers say that hardly anything ends up in practice.

Milieudefensie argued that pipelines are often outdated and that Shell is doing too little to prevent sabotage.

At first instance, in 2013, one of the farmers was proved right by the court.

The other farmers' demands were rejected.

Both camps filed an appeal.