Two executives of a Swedish oil exploration and production company, Ian Lundin and Alex Schneiter, have gone on trial in Stockholm for their alleged involvement in war crimes committed in Sudan 20 years ago. The executives are accused of supporting the Sudanese government under former dictator Omar al-Bashir during a military campaign aimed at clearing an area in southern Sudan for oil production.
Prosecutors claim that Lundin and Schneiter participated in an agreement that granted the company the right to search for and extract oil in southern Sudan in exchange for fees and a share in future profits. The prosecution alleges that severe violations of international humanitarian law were committed during the Sudanese government’s military operations in the Block 5A oil field and its vicinity between May 1999 and March 2003.
Lundin, the former chairman of Lundin Oil, has denied the accusations, stating that they are completely false. The trial is expected to continue until early 2026. If convicted, the executives could face a maximum penalty of a life prison sentence, which typically translates to a minimum of 20 to 25 years in Sweden.
The prosecution is seeking a 10-year ban on the executives conducting business activities and a fine of 3 million kronor ($272,250) for the Swedish company. Additionally, they are requesting the confiscation of 1.4 billion kronor ($127 million) from Lundin Oil, representing the economic benefits allegedly gained from the crimes.
The civil war between the Muslim-dominated north and Christian south in Sudan lasted from 1983 to 2005, resulting in significant devastation. A separate conflict in Darfur began in 2003, leading to the loss of thousands of lives and the displacement of nearly 200,000 people. South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011, becoming the world’s youngest nation.