The District Court’s ruling from last year to allow the prosecutor to continue the war crimes investigation against Lundin has been upheld on 27 April by the Svea Court of Appeal. The decision was expected. Swedish courts have never before ordered the termination of an on-going criminal investigation and it is highly questionable whether they have the authority to do so. The defence teams announced that they will now take the matter to Sweden’s supreme court, the Högsta Domstolen.
The appeal was based on Art. 6.1 of the European Convention of Human Rights, that gives suspects the right to a trial within reasonable time after the opening of legal proceedings. Neither the European Convention nor Swedish case-law seem to support the appeal. That the case will now be taken to the Högsta Domstolen may be explained by the ‘robust’ legal defence strategy of Lundin Energy.
Attorney Percy Bratt, who represents a group of plaintiffs, remarks that the European Convention also establishes that victims of crimes have the right to access to justice.
Whether the prosecutor will wait to bring charges until he Supreme Court decides the appeal remains unclear. It is not an easy decision for a magistrate to bring charges while an appeal to drop the entire case is under judicial review. On the other hand, he is under no obligation to postpone his decision to bring charges and the investigation is in its 11th year. To wait for a Supreme Court decision will cause further delays that will infringe upon the right to prompt proceedings of the plaintiffs and the suspects alike.