Last week, Sweden indicted two oil executives from Swedish oil company Lundin Energy for aiding and abetting war crimes in South Sudan between 1999 and 2003. If the trial starts next year as expected, it will be a very important move in the area of corporate responsibility. To know more, our partners from Asymmetrical Haircuts invited Egbert Wesslink, one of the authors of a 2010 report by Dutch NGO Pax for Peace, entitled “Unpaid debt”. To get control of an oil area, Lundin Energy paid government forces and militias who committed war crimes, the report says. With its massive legal team, the oil company has done everything to stop this indictment, in what has become “the largest criminal investigation in Swedish history”, says Wesslink.
In November the prosecutor’s office in Sweden announced it had brought charges against the chairman and former CEO of Lundin Energy for complicity in war crimes allegedly committed by the Sudanese army and allied militia in southern Sudan from 1999 to 2003 during the so called oil wars.
The basis for the charges was a 2010 report authored by Dutch NGO Pax for Peace on the behalf of the European Coalition on Oil in Sudan called Unpaid Debt. The report sets out the story of how between 1997 and 2003 and oil consortium including Swedish oil firm Lundin, together with Austria’s OMV and Malaysian firm Petronas, tried to secure an area in Southern Sudan known as Block 5 for oil exploration. To get control of the area they paid government forces and militias who committed war crimes, the report says. Thousands of people died in the so-called oil wars and 200,000 people were displaced by the violence, the NGO estimates.
We invited one of the reports authors Egbert Wesslink to tell us all about it.
This podcast has been published as part of a partnership between JusticeInfo.net and Asymmetrical Haircuts, a podcast on international justice produced from The Hague by journalists Janet Anderson and Stephanie van den Berg, who retain full control and independence over the contents of the podcast.