Unpaid Debt: The Right to Remedy
All victims of human rights violations have a right to remedy and reparation. This website is about the tens of thousands of victims of the oil war in Sudan who have been denied this right.
From 1983 to 2005, Sudan was torn apart by a civil war involving the Government and a variety of armed groups, many from the Southern part of the country. Mid-1990s, international oil companies signed contracts with the Government of Sudan to exploit oil in areas that were not under Government control, setting off a vicious war that would last until 2003. One of the affected areas was Block 5A, that had been awarded in 1997 to the members of the Lundin Consortium – IPC/Lundin Oil/Lundin Petroleum (the Swedish operator), Petronas (Malaysia) and OMV (Austria). The people in the oil fields belong to the Nuer ethnic communities. The war divided them more than ever, solidifying the emergence of the very same class of war lords that is driving civil war in South Sudan today.
Between 1997 and 2003, war crimes were committed on a large scale in what was essentially a military campaign by the Government of Sudan to secure and take control of the oil fields in Block 5A. They included indiscriminate attacks and intentional targeting of civilians, burning of shelters, pillage, destruction of objects necessary for survival, unlawful killing of civilians, rape of women, abduction of children, torture, and forced displacement. Satellite pictures taken between 1994 and 2003 show that the Lundin Consortium’s activities in Block 5A coincided with a spectacular drop in agricultural land use, bringing hunger and poverty to most of the population. Conservative estimates show that by the time Lundin Petroleum left the area in 2003, 12,000 people had died and 160,000 had been forcibly displaced. The company denies any responsibility for anything that has happened in Sudan.
Sweden’s “no-guts-no-glory” company Lundin Petroleum sold its Sudanese assets in 2003 for a handsome profit, invested in Norway, and became a multi-billion dollar business. Together with its shareholders, the company has arguably profited from war crimes. The company has endorsed the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, that asserts that businesses must know and remedy their adverse impacts, but doesn’t do this.
By not assessing and addressing its past human rights impacts, Lundin Petroleum is disrespecting human rights today.
By tolerating Lundin Petroleum’s misconduct, its shareholders and financers are enabling its continuance.
The War Crimes Unit of Swedish Prosecution Authority has finalised his investigation into aiding and abetting international crimes committed in Sudan. The suspects are Lundin Petroleum’s Chairman Ian H Lundin, its President and CEO Alexandre Schneiter. On 15 November 2018, they were informed about the charges and received the case files. They can request additional investigations. If found guily, they may face life inprisonment. Lundin Petroleum S.A. has received notification by the prosecutor that he may seek a penalty of SEK 3,285 million from the company. The trial is likely to start by the Summer of June 2019 and may take a year.
Once hearings commence, this website will provide daily coverage of proceedings, expert analyses, and entertaining comments by interesting observers.