The decision today, 11 November, by Sweden to take Lundin Energy to court is a major step towards justice for the hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese whose lives have been shattered during to the war for control over Lundin’s oil fields. PAX praises Sweden for its commitment to international justice.
It is important that these serious crimes are not forgotten. War crimes are one of the most serious crimes that Sweden has an international obligation to investigate and prosecute. A large number of civilians were affected by the crimes committed by the Sudanese regime, in which we believe the defendants participated. Many of the civilians who survived were forced to flee their homes to never return and still have no knowledge of what happened to their relatives and friends from whom they were separated, says Henrik Attorps, the Swedish Public Prosecutor.
The Director of the Dutch peace movement PAX, Anna Timmerman, praises Sweden for its stand on international law. “It requires tremendous perseverance to take such a large war crimes case to court, especially if suspects can afford an army of lawyers. It is a historic achievement. PAX is proud to have brought the Lundin presented to the prosecutor in 2010. This indictment is a recognition of the suffering of the victims of war crimes. We have been standing with them for two decades and will continue to stand with them until justice is served.”
Rev. James Kuong Ninrew, the Chairman of the South Sudanese Coalition on Transitional Justice and a plaintiff in the trial, comments, “Impunity and disregard for victims has been among the root causes of perpetuating violence in South Sudan. There can be no peace without truth and redress. The wheels of justice are turning slowly, and but nobody can escape them, no matter how rich or powerful.”
The Swedish investigation followed a report by PAX for the European Coalition on Oil in Sudan, Unpaid Debt. The report argued why Lundin Energy, Petronas and OMV may have been complicit in international crimes in Sudan between 1997-2003. The companies deny any wrongdoing.
According to Egbert Wesselink, main author of the Unpaid Debt report, the case has a transformative potential. “Corporations are increasingly held liable for adverse impacts and the Lundin trial will reinforce that trend. It is now urgent that shareholders start getting their act together. Major investors in Lundin, Petronas and OMV – Blackrock, Vanguard, T. Rowe Price, Principal Global, BNP Paribas, the Bank of Norway, the governments of Austria, Abu Dhabi and Malaysia, etc. – talk about human rights but continue to disregard the fate of victims of war crimes.”