The Lundin war crimes trial may begin in April

The planning of the war crimes trial has resumed and the parties to the proceedings met on the 20th of October at the District Court in Stockholm. Minutes from the meeting state that the prosecutors estimate that they will need 159 court days, where 20 days would be set aside for the presentation of facts. This is a very high number of days compared to other war crime trials.

The timing of the trial has still not been decided. While the Prosecutor stated that they can begin hearings the week after Easter, which would be 11 April, 2023, the defence lawyers for Lundin, Schneiter and Lundin/Orrön Energy asked the court that hearings begin after 5 September. A decision is yet to be taken on when the trial starts.

The fact that the defence suggest such a late date for the trial is not surprising considering that they have made every attempt to delay the trial proceedings.

The planning meeting was attended by four prosecutors, eleven lawyers representing the defence team of Ian Lundin, Alex Schneiter and Orrön Energy (formerly known as Lundin Energy, Lundin Petroleum and Lundin Oil). There were also two legal counsels representing the victims of the war crimes, two police investigators and two court clerks. In total, 21 people attended the meeting.

They also discussed the number of interpreters, media and public attendance, security and the possibility of disqualifying members of the court if they would hold shares in companies connected to Lundin.

This is a considerable development in the case as the planning was halted for eight months pending the Supreme Court decision on whether Sweden has jurisdiction over Alex Schneiter. While it was halted, Prosecutor Henrik Attorps urged the defence and the court to resume the planning, highlighting that the case is “extremely extensive and requires proper planning in order to protect the integrity of the trial”. Each request was rejected by the defence.

In September 2022 the District Court finally decided that the planning of the trial must resume. They based their decision on the fact that the even if the Supreme Court were to uphold Schneiter’s appeal, the indictment against Ian Lundin and the action against Lundin/Orrön Energy remains.

This is set to become one of the biggest and most complex trials in Swedish history. It carries major importance when it comes to furthering accountability for corporate actors with operations that are directly linked to international atrocity crimes and other human rights violations.

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