Ex-oil firm executives on trial in Sweden over Sudan war crimes

Fighting in Sudan

Two former executives at a Swedish oil firm face accusations of complicity in war crimes in present-day South Sudan. The trial of the two former executives began on Monday.

The former CEO of Swedish oil company Lundin Oil, now known as Orron Energy, is going on trial together with the firm’s ex-vice president in Stockholm, with both defendants accused of complicity in war crimes committed in Sudan under the regime of Omar al-Bashir.

The two men, Swede Ian Lundin and Swiss national Alex Schneiter, have denied wrongdoing. They risk life sentences if found guilty.

The trial follows a 13-year investigation culminating in findings over 80,000 pages. Closing arguments are expected to be delivered in February 2026.  

The alleged crimes occurred between 1999 and 2003, with the two men accused of asking the Sudanese government to put its military in charge of security at one of Lundin Oil’s exploration fields in 1999 in South Sudan’s Unity State. 

Prosecutors say this later led to “aerial bombardments from transport planes, shooting civilians from helicopter gunships, abducting and plundering civilians and burning entire villages and their crops.”

They argue that the two former executives were complicit because they knew Sudan’s government would take control of the area by “military force.”

The alleged crimes occurred after Lundin Oil struck oil in 1999 in the “Block 5A” field. Sudan waged war for decades in South Sudan, which won its independence in 2011. 

Former President Omar al-Bashir, who ruled Sudan between 1989 and 2019, is wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for genocide and other war crimes.

Prosecutors have asked to confiscate 2.4 billion kronor (€202 million, $218 million) from Orron Energy. That amount is equivalent to the company’s profit on selling its Sudan operations in 2003.

Reaction of the South Sudan Civil Society

Reacting to the ongoing trial, the South Sudan Civil Society Coalition on Natural Resources (CSCNR) welcomed the development and called on Swedish authorities to expedite the trial, serve justice to culprits, and remedy for the victims.

“CSCNR believed there was no means by which the Sudanese government, with a crippled economy ravaged by civil war, would afford to import advanced helicopter gunships used to attack civilians and hire all the allied militia groups involved. We hold on to the conviction that Lundin Energy Company directly sponsored the cruelty committed against the people of Unity State,” the group said in a Tuesday statement extended to Radio Tamazuj.

“It is time for the Unpaid Debt to be paid. Hence, CSCNR calls on the Swedish authorities to provide an environment conducive for witnesses to testify and their security guaranteed. CSCNR further calls on the Government of South Sudan to accord the necessary cooperation through diplomacy to ensure justice is delivered,” it added.

CSCNR’s constituency includes vulnerable communities, CSO groups, local authorities, and policymakers who aim to promote sustainable, transparent, and accountable management of natural resources through empowering communities and positively influencing policies around land and natural resources in South Sudan.

Source: Radio Tamzuj.

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