Trial commences in case regarding complicity in grave war crimes in Sudan2023-08-18
The prosecutor’s background to the charges
Between 1997 and 2003 there was an ongoing armed conflict in Sudan between the government and rebel groups. On February 6, 1997, an oil prospecting and production sharing agreement was concluded between a Swedish company through a subsidiary and the Sudanese government. The two defendants held senior positions in said companies and participated in the conclusion of the agreement. The agreement involved a right to search for and extract oil in a larger area called Block 5A in southern Sudan for a specific period of time, in exchange for the payment of fees and a share in future profits. Between May 1999 and March 2003, the Sudanese government conducted offensive military operations in Block 5A and its vicinity to gain control of areas for oil prospecting and create the necessary conditions for oil extraction. During these military operations, severe violations of international humanitarian law were committed.The charges
The prosecution requests that the two defendants should be convicted of aiding and abetting grave war crimes. According to the statement of the criminal act as charged, the defendants, either separately or together and in agreement, within the framework of their respective roles within the companies, supported the Sudanese government in creating the necessary conditions for the subsidiary’s operations by conducting warfare in a way that entailed the Sudanese military and regime allied militia systematically attacking civilians or at least carrying out systematic attacks in violation of the principles of distinction and proportionality.
The prosecution requests that the two defendants should have a ban imposed upon them on conducting business activity for ten years, as they seriously neglected their obligations as part of their business activities and are thereby guilty of criminal acts that are not considered minor. A ban on conducting business activity is warranted from a public standpoint.
The prosecution requests that the Swedish company should be ordered to pay a company fine to the amount of 3 000 000 SEK due to crimes committed as part of its business activities. Representatives of the company did not do what could be reasonably expected of them to prevent the criminal activity.
The prosecution requests that an amount of 1 391 791 000 SEK should be declared forfeited from the Swedish company because of economic benefits that were achieved due to crimes committed as part of its business activities.Schedule
The trial commences at 09.30 on September 5, 2023. The trial will be conducted weekly according to the following schedule, with breaks for public and school holidays.
Tuesdays: 09.30 – 16.30
Wednesdays: 09.15 – 16.30
Thursdays: 09.15 – 16.30
The trial will be conducted as follows.
September 2023 – May 2024: Claims, pleas, grounds, and presentation of facts
May 2024 – November 2024: Examination of the plaintiffs
December 2024 – January 2025: Examination of the defendants
February 2025 – November 2025: Examination of the witnesses
December 2025 – February 2026: Closing argumentsPractical information
There will be 20 audience seats in the courtroom (room 34). These seats are primarily intended for members of the press that pre-register and are informed of their spot in advance. Press ID is required. In this room it will be possible for a limited number of people to follow the trial in English using translation equipment. Pre-registration for English translation is required.
In addition, there will be 23 audience seats in a side room (room 6) with video and sound transmissions from the courtroom. It is not possible to pre-register for these seats.Security checks
There will be security checks at the entrance. As part of the check, all visitors must pass through an electronic article surveillance gate. Bags and other items will be checked by an X-ray machine. The security check will be quicker the fewer items that are brought. If possible, avoid bringing larger bags. Queues may occur at busy times, so it is important to arrive well ahead of schedule. Members of the press are not exempt from security checks.Procedural rules
It is not permitted to take photographs in the courtroom or of the inside of the courtroom during the trial. This also applies to the side room.
Following a decision from the district court, journalists, organizations, and researchers who monitor and report from the trial may use electronic equipment in the courtroom and side room for their work (e.g., mobile phones, tablets, computers, and audio recording equipment).
For all other visitors, any electronic equipment that could disrupt the order or be used to take photographs (e.g., mobile phones, tablets, computers, and cameras) must be turned off and tucked away when inside the courtroom or side room.
The presiding judge may announce additional procedural rules.Additional information
For orders of official documents and information regarding trial dates, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For other questions regarding the case, please contact the court officials Anna Wester and Ferial Tan or the law clerk Miriam Herlitz Bäckman.
Pre-registrations from members of the press and pre-registrations regarding English translation should be done latest August 25, 2023, to Anna Wester and Ferial Tan at email@example.com.
Judges Tomas Zander (presiding judge) and Karin Palmgren Goohde will adjudicate the case together with four lay judges.