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Sweden prosecuting oil executives for complicity in war crimes - the first time since Nuremberg

  The Swedish Prosecution Authority has indicted two oil executives for complicity in the war crimes against the people of Sudan by the fo...

 


The Swedish Prosecution Authority has indicted two oil executives for complicity in the war crimes against the people of Sudan by the former government of Omar al-Bashir.

 

Ian Lundin, the chair and controlling family shareholder of the Swedish oil and gas producer, and Alex Schneiter, CEO of Lundin Energy, are alleged to have committed “grave war crimes’ by sparking a civil war that resulted in the deaths of thousands and the displacements of hundreds of thousands. The announcement by Sweden's Justice Minister warned both defendants (they currently reside in Switzerland) three years ago that they could be imprisoned for life after the justice minister approved their prosecution.

 

 

From 1983 to 2005, Sudan was torn apart by a civil war between the Muslim-dominated north and Christian south. A separate conflict in Darfur, the war-scarred region of western Sudan, began in 2003. Thousands of people were killed and nearly 200,000 displaced.

 

 

A 2010 report by an activist group, the European Coalition on Oil in Sudan, alleged that Lundin Oil and three other oil companies helped exacerbate the war in southern Sudan by signing an oil exploration deal with the Sudanese government for an area the regime didn’t fully control.

 

Our ”investigation shows that the military and its allied militia systematically attacked civilians or carried out indiscriminate attacks,” Public Prosecutor Henrik Attorps said in a statement.

 

 

Lundin has abandoned or spun off most of its international activities to focus on Norway in recent years, where it discovered the largest oilfield in the North Sea in decades, Johan Sverdrup. It sold out of Sudan in 2003, and prosecutors are claiming back the proceeds from that sale.Swedish prosecutors have universal jurisdiction for certain international crimes and have used it to bring cases, among others, for crimes committed in Iran and Rwanda.But the Lundin case is the highest profile as it concerns one of Sweden’s leading business families, who control several oil, mining and natural resource companies.

 

Swedish prosecutors have universal jurisdiction for certain international crimes and have used it to bring cases, among others, for crimes committed in Iran and Rwanda.

 

But the Lundin case is the highest profile as it concerns one of Sweden’s leading business families, who control several oil, mining and natural resource companies.

 

 

A group of aid agencies that worked in Sudan during the civil war, reporting together as the European Coalition on Oil in Sudan (ECOS), have called for an investigation into the role played by a consortium of oil companies in the conflict and their possible complicity in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

 

ECOS' report, UNPAID DEBT: The Legacy of Lundin, Petronas and OMV in Sudan, 1997-2003, says that the start of oil exploration in Block 5A in Southern Sudan set off a spiral of violence as the Sudanese government and forces loyal to them set out to secure and take control of the oil fields in that block. Thousands of inhabitants died, and almost 200,000 people were violently displaced.

 

Atrocities included killings, rape, child abduction, torture, the destruction of schools, markets and clinics and the burning of food, huts and animal shelters. Thousands died, and almost 200,000 people were violently displaced.

 

The terror began after the Sudanese government signed an oil exploration contract with a consortium comprising Swedish company Lundin Oil AB, Petronas Carigali Overseas from Malaysia, OMV (Sudan) Exploration GmbH from Austria, and the Sudanese company Sudapet Ltd.

 

The oil consortium, the report says, 'should have been aware of the abuses committed by the armed groups that partly provided for their security needs. However, they continued to work with the Sudanese government, its agencies and its army'.

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