Oil played a decisive role in the outbreak and course of the civil war in Sudan (1983-2005) and is a central factor in the current civil war in Southern Sudan. The population has suffered terribly from the side-effects of oil extraction, but has hardly benefited, if at all, from the oil revenues. The benefits have instead largely been absorbed by the military and political leaders.
PAX was part of the European Coalition on Oil in Sudan (ECOS) an has worked for a more responsible oil sector since. We reported on the societal consequences of oil exploitation, lobbied for legislation that protects the rights and interests of civilians and support the right to remedy of people who have been harmed.
In 2010, the ECOS report Unpaid Debt called for an investigation into the role of Lundin Energy, Petronas and OMV in war crimes and other human rights violations. Subsequently, the Swedish Prosecution Authority opened an investigation into links between Sweden and the reported crimes. In November 2017, Lundin Petroleum’s CEO Alex Schneiter and Chair Ian Lundin were identified as suspects of aiding and abetting war crimes in Sudan and last April the Prosecutor finished his work. The two suspects and the company were given time to prepare their defense and the trial is expected to open early in 2021 and may take 2 years.
The importance of court proceedings would be threefold. Firstly, this would be the first time that anybody will be held to accountable for alleged contribution to any of the unspeakable horrors of Sudan’s civil wars. Secondly, it would be a very rare occasion that a multi-billion dollar company would have to defend itself against complicity in international crimes. And thirdly, it may make it impossible for the company and its shareholders to contribute to a substantial remedy and reparation process in one of South Sudan’s most battered regions. PAX believes that justice for the victims of the oil war is a prerequisite for peace and reconciliation in the area.
PAX’er Egbert Wesselink is much involved in this lawsuit and follows it’s developments closely. During this online webinar he will tell us all about it.
About the speaker:
Egbert studied history and followed post-doc courses on international relations and human rights. He worked for the Dutch Parliament, the French educational system and the United Nations. At PAX his focus is on making large companies respect the rights and interests of vulnerable populations. He is interested in security policies of companies and governments, e.g. through the the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. The countries he is most acquainted with are Sudan, South Sudan, Russia, DR Congo, and Colombia.