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        • Press release: Lundin Petroleum to be the subject of a criminal investigation into alleged violations of International Humanitarian Law in Sudan 1997-2003

Press release: Lundin Petroleum to be the subject of a criminal investigation into alleged violations of International Humanitarian Law in Sudan 1997-2003

ECOS calls on the Swedish, Austrian and Malaysian Governments to ensure appropriate compensation for victims


The Swedish Public Prosecutor Magnus Elving today confirmed that a preliminary criminal investigation has been opened into alleged violations of International Humanitarian Law in Sudan during the years 1997 - 2003. The Prosecutor noted that the contents of the recently published report UNPAID DEBT by the European Coalition on Oil in Sudan (ECOS) justifies this decision. In the report ECOS argues that the oil companies OMV AG, Petronas Caligari and Lundin Petroleum may have been complicit in the commission (by others) of war crimes and crimes against humanity.


ECOS welcomes the preliminary criminal investigation and hopes that it will contribute to undoing the losses and injustices that the people in Block 5A have suffered during the oil wars.


ECOS calls upon the public prosecutors of Austria and Malaysia to investigate the alleged violations of norms of international law by OMV and Petronas


It would be an error to focus exclusively on the potential liability of the companies that made up the Lundin Consortium. All governments have a strong international legal obligation to prevent human rights violations. At the time of the oil wars, Austria, Malaysia and Sweden received credible indications that decisions made by companies based in their territories allegedly contributed to the commission of international crimes in Sudan. Yet, they never took action.


ECOS calls upon the governments of Austria, Malaysia and Sweden to account for their failure to prevent the alleged human rights violations and international crimes.


It is of utmost importance that justice is done for all the victims of Sudan’s oil wars. It is crucial for the future of Sudan that the rights of the people in the volatile border areas are recognised. Oil should never again be a source of conflict in Sudan. The people in Block 5A desire reconciliation. Reconciliation requires that alleged wrongdoing be investigated and injustices undone. The Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement establishes a right to compensation for victims of oil contracts, but so far no action has been taken.


ECOS calls upon the Governments of Sweden, Austria and Malaysia to ensure appropriate compensation for all persons whose rights have been violated in the course of the war for control over Sudan’s oil fields.


The report UNPAID DEBT is available at http://www.ecosonline.org. It contains analysis of satellite images that demonstrates a massive displacement of up to 80% of the population in the most densely populated areas of Block 5A between 1997 and 2003. The Consortium’s close proximity to destroyed and deserted communities makes it unlikely that the companies were unaware of this.


UNPAID DEBT offers a detailed estimate of the damages and losses suffered by the population of Block 5A, estimating 12,000 deaths and 160,000 displaced, 20,000 people permanently uprooted, 500,000 heads of cattle lost, and incalculable loss of income and opportunities.


UNPAID DEBT quotes credible sources that the Lundin Consortium, in 2002 and 2003, employed as its Head of Security a former Colonel in the Sudan Armed Forces. He is believed to have served on the Special Security Council, which oversaw all military operations in the oil areas. ECOS calls for an investigation into whether he effectively reported to the head of the Special Security Council, while working for the Lundin Consortium.


Lundin, OMV and Petronas have denied any wrongdoing or liability.