Interrogation of Lundin Execs for Crimes Against Humanity and Environment in South Sudan
Start of a new era of corporate accountability?
MUNICH, Germany (ViaNews) – “Lundin Petroleum’s chief executive and chairman are set to be charged with aggravated crimes against human rights over the Swedish oil company’s role in causing thousands of deaths in South Sudan,” states the report published in the October 18th edition of the Financial Times.
These crimes were allegedly committed in the course of Lundin’s exploration for oil in what is now South Sudan. This exploration is said to have been accompanied by widespread “economic cleansing”, in which murder and rape were allegedly used to drive nearly 200,000 people from their homes, thus clearing the way for the unimpeded exploration and production of oil.
Should the Lundin execs be indicted and then convicted for these crimes against humanity, they would be most probably sent to jail for life.
Of greater impact would be the case’s precedent-setting nature. Lundin’s activities in South Sudan pale in scope and severity to those undertaken by China National Petroleum, Malaysia’s Petronas, and India’s ONGC Videsh.
According to the study compiled by German NGO Sign of Hope, Petronas alone is responsible for the contamination of water consumed by more than 600,000 South Sudanese and by their livestock. Poisoned with a witches’ brew of lead, barium, salts and other toxic materials, this water is also being used to irrigate fields. The results: large-scale swathes of South Sudan have become inhabitable. And the ensuing hunger and thirst are joining with the fear generated by the oil-fueled civil war in causing millions of South Sudanese to flee for their lives.