All victims of gross violations of human rights and war crimes have the right to remedy and reparation. According to the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, UNGP, which is endorsed by Lundin Petroleum, businesses that have adverse human rights impacts, “should provide for or cooperate in their remediation through legitimate processes”. From February 1997 to June 2003 a consortium of companies led by Lundin Petroleum explored oil in Sudan. There is no doubt that the activities of the Lundin Consortium in Sudan were directly linked to war crimes and other human rights violations and there is an overwhelming body of evidence indicating that they have contributed to war crimes. Disrespecting the UNGP, neither the companies nor their shareholders have ever properly assessed the human rights impacts of the Consortium’s operations.
The June 2010 report Unpaid Debt, state that the Consortium’s infrastructure enabled warring parties in Sudan to commit crimes. It built bridges and roads that expanded the geographic reach of armed groups and the Sudan Armed Forces. Conservative estimates hold that 12,000 people were killed and 160,000 displaced in Block 5A during the six years that Lundin Petroleum led the Consortium.
The companies benefitted from crimes and their activities had terrible consequences for the population. Still, they and their shareholders deny any responsibility towards the victims of these crimes. On May 4, 2017, a proposal to allocate SEK 5 billion for victims was presented at Lundin Petroleum’s annual shareholders’ meeting. The proposal, based on a new estimation of actual damages, was voted down by a smashing 99,84% of the registered shareholdings, confirming the non-conciliatory position of both the company and its shareholders.
If the Swedish court case opens, tens of victims will be represented but another 150,000+ will not. Those who will be represented can claim compensation from the indicted individuals. The remainder will have no legal recourse. To realise their right they depend on the goodwill of the companies and its shareholders. This is not likely to emerge without substantial public, political, or market pressure.