Swedish prosecutors have prosecuted senior executives within the Lundin Group for complicity in war crimes committed in Sudan.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office prosecuted the chairman of the board, Ian H Lundin, and the director, Alex Schneiter, former CEO. Sweden has accused them of involvement in crimes committed in Sudan from 1999 to 2003 and from 2000 to 2003, respectively.
Sweden has tried to fine Lundin for the amount they made in the sale of their Sudan operations in 2003. This amounts to $ 159.9 million.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office noted that the accusations focus on the activities in Block 5A. Lundin found oil on the block in 1999. Shortly afterwards, the Sudanese military and a militia group led offensive military operations in the area to enable Lundin’s exploration.
Sweden said that the actions of the Sudanese government, via the military and the militia group, had acted against humanitarian law.
“In our opinion, the investigation shows that the military and its allied militias systematically attacked civilians or carried out indiscriminate attacks.
“For example, airstrikes from transport planes, shooting civilians from helicopter warships, abducting and looting civilians and burning entire villages and their crops so that people had nothing to live on. As a result, many civilians from Block 5A were killed, injured and expelled, ”says Henrik Attorps, Head of Investigation.
The Lundin chiefs were “complicit in war crimes,” the prosecutor said in a statement.
Lundin had changed his view of security after 1999, Sweden said, urging the Sudanese military to take control of Block 5A.
“What constitutes complicity in the criminal law sense is that they made these demands despite understanding or at least indifferent to the military and the militia conducting the war in a way that was prohibited under international humanitarian law,” said the chief prosecutor. Krister Petersson.
Both Lundin and Schneiter have denied the allegations and Lundin’s board has backed them. However, Ian Lundin has chosen not to stand for re-election as chairman at the 2022 Annual General Meeting. Lundin will hold its Annual General Meeting at the end of March.
Ian Lundin described the move as “incomprehensible”. He denied that there was evidence to support the investigation. This has “not changed in the last eleven years.”
“I know that we have not done anything wrong and that we will ultimately prove this in court. It has been an honor and a privilege to be chairman of Lundin Energy for the past 20 years,” he said.
A Dutch non-governmental organization, Pax for Peace, said it was crucial that people do not forget the crimes of Sudan’s past.
The group’s director, Anna Timmerman, said it had taken “enormous perseverance to take such a major war crime case to court, especially if suspects could afford an army of lawyers. It is a historic achievement. PAX is proud to have taken Lundin which was presented to the prosecutor in 2010. “
Lundin’s statement said they were “extremely concerned” about the investigation and the links between NGOs and the prosecution.
“In the firm’s firm opinion, there is no evidence linking any representative to the alleged primary crimes and this will be fully proven at trial,” it said. Lundin was a “positive force for development in Sudan and acted responsibly there”.
Lundin went on to say that it would challenge the fine and confiscation. The company believes that there is no legal basis for such a claim, it says.
European Coalition on Oil in Sudan (ECOS) published a report on Lundin’s operations in Sudan in 2010. In the same year, Sweden launched an investigation into Lundin.
Lundin has tried to get the investigation completed, however The Supreme Court ruled in July that it would continue.