Swedish oil managers prosecuted for complicity in war crimes

Swedish prosecutors have indicted the chairman and former CEO of the oil and gas company Lundin Energy for complicity in war crimes committed by the Sudanese army and militia in southern Sudan between 1999 and 2003.

The Swedish Public Prosecutor’s Office (SPA) said on Thursday that the local company, then called Lundin Oil, had asked the Sudanese authorities in May 1999 to secure a potential oil field in the south of the country, even though they were aware that it was not fully controlled, and capturing the country would require the use of force.

“What constitutes complicity in the criminal law sense is that they made these demands even though they understood or at least were indifferent to the military and the militia carrying out the war in a way that was prohibited under international humanitarian law,” it was pointed out. in a statement.

Sudanese government forces “systematically attacked civilians or carried out indiscriminate attacks,” according to prosecutors.

The investigation against Lundin Energy was launched in Sweden in 2010 after a report from the Dutch non-governmental organization PAX accused the company of being involved in human rights abuses in Sudan.

PAX hailed the indictment against Ludin’s chairman Ian Lundin and former CEO Alex Schneiter, who is currently a board member, with complicity in war crimes as “a great victory for justice and a historic achievement”.

However, Lundin Energy denied any wrongdoing and insisted in a lengthy statement on Friday that its operations in Sudan were “completely legitimate and responsible”.

Prosecutors had no evidence or valid reasons to bring the charges, and their statement of criminal intent was “extremely vague and unclear,” it said.

The company claimed that reports from NGOs “can not be relied on as evidence in court” because they lack credibility, accuracy and reliability.

Lundin Energy also questioned the prosecutors’ claim to confiscate SEK 1.39 billion ($ 161.7 million) that the company made from the sale of its operations in Sudan in 2003. There is “no basis for a company fine or confiscation”, it said.

The Swedish company was a major player in Sudan between 1991 and 2003 in the middle of a decades-long civil war between the central government in Khartoum, the Muslim majority in the north and the oil-rich Christian south. Omar al-Bashir, who was Sudan’s president during that conflict, is now wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for genocide and other war crimes. The fighting in the North African country ended in 2011, when South Sudan became an independent state.


Source: sn.dk





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