COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) – Sweden has indicted two executives of a Swedish oil exploration and production company for complicity in military war crimes in Sudan from 1999 to 2003, including in its dealings with the regime of the country to secure the company’s oil operations in the African nation.
The two, who have not been identified by the Swedish prosecution, had “a decisive influence” on the activities of Lundin Oil AB, based in Stockholm in Sudan, prosecutors said, adding that one of them had was charged with aiding and abetting for the period May 1999-March 2003., and the other for the period October 2000-March 2003. Lundin Oil later became Lundin Petroleum and is now known as Lundin Energy.
From 1983 to 2005, Sudan was torn apart by a civil war between the Muslim-dominated north and the Christian south. A separate conflict in Darfur, the war-torn region of western Sudan, began in 2003. Thousands of people have been killed and nearly 200,000 displaced.
A 2010 report by an activist group, the European Coalition on Oil in Sudan, alleged that Lundin Oil and three other oil companies helped exacerbate the war in southern Sudan by signing an oil exploration agreement with the Sudanese government for an area that the regime did not fully control.
This led Swedish prosecutors to open a criminal investigation into the company. Six years later, its chairman, Ian H. Lundin, and then its CEO Alex Schneiter, were informed that they were the suspects in the investigation.
Lundin was the operator of a consortium of companies exploring the Block 5A site, including Malaysian company Petronas Carigali Overseas, OMV (Sudan) Exploration GmbH from Austria and Sudanese state oil company Sudapet Ltd.
Our “investigation shows that the army and its allied militias have systematically attacked civilians or carried out indiscriminate attacks,” Attorney General Henrik Attorps said in a statement.
In response, Lundin spokesman Robert Eriksson said the Swedish prosecutor’s decision to lay charges was “incomprehensible” and called the investigation “baseless and fundamentally flawed”.
“Ian and Alex firmly deny the accusations and we know Lundin did nothing wrong. There is no evidence linking Lundin representatives to the main alleged crimes in this case, ”said Eriksson, Lundin’s media communications manager.
After the Sudanese army entered Block 5A in May 1999, Lundin Oil “changed its mind about who should be responsible for security around the company’s operations,” the prosecution said, and added. that the company demanded that the military now be responsible. for security, knowing that this meant that the military would then have to take control of Block 5A via military force.
“What constitutes complicity in the criminal sense is that they made these requests despite their understanding or, at least, being indifferent to the military and militias waging the war in a manner prohibited by international humanitarian law, ”the attorney general said. Krister Petersson said.
Eriksson said Lundin was operating in Block 5A “responsibly, as part of an international consortium, and in full alignment with the policy of constructive engagement endorsed by the United Nations, European Union and Sweden at l ‘era”.
The authority said there was also a request for confiscation in the amount of 1.4 billion crowns ($ 161 million) from Lundin Energy AB, which the prosecutor said is the equivalent value of the 720 million crown ($ 83 million) profit that the company made from the sale of the business in 2003.
“It is important that these serious crimes are not forgotten. War crimes are one of the most serious crimes that Sweden has an international obligation to investigate and bring to justice, ”said Attorps.
Jari Tanner in Tallinn, Estonia, contributed to this report.