Court throws out Sudan war crime appeal

A long and bitter chapter of Talisman Energy's involvement in Sudan came to a close Monday after the U.S. Supreme Court tossed out an appeal that sought to hold the Calgary-based oil and gas producer responsible for war crimes and genocide in the North African country.


The court gave no reasons for rejecting the case, which was brought by the Presbyterian Church of Sudan on behalf of current and former residents of the country who were affected by the ongoing civil war.


According to the Supreme Court website, issues central to the case included whether "causes of action for violations of customary international law exist when the claims are based on events arising solely outside the United States and had no effect on the United States (and when) the claims are asserted against a foreign defendant not in the custody of the United States, and (whether) a country providing an adequate alternative forum has a close tie to the dispute."


The decision ends more than a decade of legal wrangling after Talisman entered Sudan in with the purchase of Arakis Energy in 1998 for $275 million. Talisman was eventually forced to sell its stake in the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company for $1.1 billion in 2003 after pressure from major shareholders such as the Ontario Teacher's Plan.


A class-action lawsuit against the company was tossed from a U.S. court in September of 2006, a decision which was reaffirmed on appeal in October of 2009.


Company officials declined requests for comment.