CEO Ian Lundin and Chairman Alex Schneiter of the Swedish oil company Lundin Petroleum will be interrogated for alleged complicity in war crimes that were committed in Sudan and South Sudan.
The Swedish government is conducting an investigation to determine whether or not to bring charges against the oil concern.
The ‘oil wars’
The alleged abuses stem from the period between 1997 and 2003, when Lundin, along with three other companies, began oil exploration in what is now South Sudan. The oil exploration 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. 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.
Lundin, an ECOS report from 2010 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’.
Long road to justice
Victims of the oil war hope that the court case in Sweden may help them get their right to effective remedy.
“Impunity and disregard for victims has been among the root causes of perpetuating violence in South Sudan. (…) I hope that Sweden’s righteous intention to take Lundin executives to court will also produce satisfaction for the many people who have paid such a high price for Lundin’s benefits,” says Rev. James Kuong Ninrew, one of the victims involved in the case, in Juba, South Sudan.
An open letter about the case was published by the Victims’ Group in Juba, South Sudan, and PAX, which was the leading organization in the European Coalition on Oil in Sudan (ECOS).