Danzer-Gruppe & Siforco-Gerichtsverfahren (bez. der Dem. Rep. Kongo)

TimberPour la version française de ce profil, cliquez ici.

For the English version of this case profile, click here.

Laut den Vorwürfen der Kläger, wurde am 2. Mai 2011 wurde das Dorf Bongulu in der Demokratischen Republik Kongo (DRC) von Polizei und Militär der DRC angegriffen. Polizei und das Militär wird vorgeworfen, die Dorfbewohner missbraucht, vergewaltigt und willkürlich festgenommen haben, und dass Siforco bzw. Danzer diese Taten durch nicht ergriffene Präventionsmaßnahmen ermöglicht hat. Zusätzlich behaupten die NGOs, dass Sicherheitskräfte dokumentierte, finanzielle und logistische Hilfe des Tochterunternehmens von Danzer, Siforco (jetzt Teil von Blattner) erhalten haben. Danzer und Siforco bestreiten die Vorwürfe. Sie bestehen darauf, keine Gewalt gegen die lokalen Gemeinschaften in der DRC ermöglicht zu haben und dass sich die Geschehnisse vom 2. Mai außerhalb ihrer Kontrolle und Verantwortung ereignet hätten. 

Verfahren in der Demokratischen Republik Kongo

Im März 2012 erhob eine Gruppe von Dorfbewohnern von Bongulu mit Hilfe von Avocats sans Frontières (ASF, oder Lawyers Without Borders) gegen 60 Kongolesische Miltiärs und Polizisten, die an dem Vorfall 2011 beteiligt gewesen sein sollen, Anklage in der DRC. 2013 führte die Militärische Staatsanwaltschaft DRC Ermittlungen gemeinsam mit den Vereinten Nationen durch. Die Kläger behaupten dass es Beweise dafür gibt, dass Siforco-Mitarbeiter in der Planung und Vorbereitung des Einsatzes bzw. Angriffs beteiligt waren. Im Juli 2012 hat ASF eine Klage wegen zivilrechtlicher Verantwortung gegen Siforco und wegen strafrechtlicher Verantwortung der Komplizenschaft in dem Vorfall gegen zwei Siforco-Mitarbeiter vor einem Gericht in der DRC erhoben. Der Prozess begann am 5. Juni 2015.

Verfahren in Deutschland

Am 25. April 2013 haben die NGOs  European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) und Global Witness eine strafrechtliche Klage in Deutschland gegen Olof von Gagern, einen leitenden Manager der Danzer Gruppe erhoben. Danzer ist ein Schweizer und Deutsches Holzhandelsunternehmen. Die Klageschrift wirft von Gagern Komplizenschaft in Menschenrechtsverstößen der Kongolesischen Polizei und des Kongolesischen Miltiärs während eines Einsatzes bzw. Angriffs gegen das Dorf Bongulu in der nördlichen Demokratischen Republik Kongo (DRC) am 2. Mai 2011 vor. Nach deutschem Gesetz können Unternehmen nicht strafrechtlich verfolgt werden. Leitende Angestellte allerdings können eine strafrechtliche Verantwortung, die von Ihren Sorgfaltspflichten gegenüber den Betroffenen von den Handlungen ihrer Angestellten her rührt, haben. Im Danzer-Fall ermittelt die Staatsanwaltschaft Tübingen seit März 2015 nicht weiter. 

- [EN] “The Global Lawyer: Kiobel's Continental Cousins”, Michael D. Goldhaber, American Lawyer, 15. Mai 2013
- [EN] “German court investigates raid on Congolese village”, Katrin Matthaei, Deutsche Welle, 8. Mai 2013
- [EN] “Danzer Denies Human-Rights Abuses in Congolese Forest Village”, Michael J. Kavanagh, Bloomberg, 27. April 2013
- “Der Mord im Dorf”, Andera Boehm, Die Zeit, 25 April 2013

Danzer: 
- [EN] “Statement of Danzer regarding the occurrences at Yalisika in 2011”, Danzer Group, 26. April 2013

European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR):
- [EN] [PDF] "Special newsletter: Criminal complaint against senior manager of Danzer: Accountability for human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of Congo", 25. April 2013
- [EN] “Criminal complaint filed accuses senior manager of Danzer Group of responsibility over human rights abuses against Congolese community“, 25. April 2013
- [FR] [PDF] « Plainte déposée accusant un cadre dirigeant du groupe Danzer d'être responsable de violations des droits de l'Homme contre une communauté congolaise », 25. April 2013
- [PDF] “Strafanzeige gegen leitenden Mitarbeiter der Danzer Group wegen Menschenrechtsverletzungen in der Demokratischen Republik Kongo“, 25. April 2013

Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF): 
- [EN] “Logging and human rights in DR Congo”, Avocats Sans Frontières, 26. April 2013

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Autor/in: Avocats Sans Frontières

« Procès « Yalisika »: tous les acteurs doivent être à la barre », 15 juillet 2015

Près de 6 semaines après l'ouverture du procès « Yalisika » par la Cour Militaire de Mbandaka, les procédures peinent toujours à avancer. Alors que la reprise du procès, suspendu depuis un mois, est annoncée, ASF [Avocats Sans Frontières] appelle à ce que les audiences se déroulent dans des conditions assurant l'établissement de la vérité et l'identification de toutes les responsabilités. Pour ce faire, toutes les parties concernées ou supposées impliquées dans les faits en examen doivent effectivement participer au procès. Ce procès relatif à l'attaque sur le village de Yalisika commise en mai 2011 est un enjeu majeur pour les communautés directement touchées par l'exploitation forestière et industrielle en RDC...La question du rôle de la Société Industrielle et Forestière du Congo (SIFORCO [filiale du Groupe Blattner Group]) à cette opération demeure au cœur des éléments qui doivent être clarifiés dans le cadre de ce procès...

 

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Autor/in: Avocats Sans Frontières

Yalisika, 2013 © ASF/ Bahia Zrikem

"Procès « Yalisika »: Exploitation et droits humains en RD Congo", 8 juin 2015

L’ONG Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF) se félicite de l’ouverture du procès concernant l’attaque sur le village de Yalisika commise en 2011. ASF s’inquiète cependant que tous les responsables identifiés au  cours des enquêtes ne soient encore pas traduits en justice...Ce procès est également un signal : les droits humains des populations doivent être respectés dans le cadre de l’exploitation forestière et industrielle en RD Congo. Le 2 mai 2011, quelque 60 policiers et militaires entrent dans le petit village de Bosanga situé dans le groupement de Yalisika, en province de l’Equateur. Lors de cette opération, de graves violations de droits humains sont commises : viols, coups, torture et destruction de biens. Cette opération constituerait des représailles à des actions des villageois qui avaient saisi certains biens de la Société Industrielle et Forestière du Congo (SIFORCO [filiale du Groupe Blattner]) pour forcer l’entreprise à engager un dialogue. 

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Autor/in: Shira Stanton & Jean-Philippe Kot, Avocats Sans Frontières

Almost ten years after the lawsuit against Anvil Mining was brought before a Lubumbashi military court, a new conflict between a logging company, SIFORCO, and a community affected by the company’s activities is before a domestic court of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) The trial started 5 June in Mbandaka, in DRC’s western province of Equateur, and represents a significant step forward to ensure justice for an affected population....In the case against SIFORCO, tensions arose following the company's failure to execute contractual obligations related to its "social responsibility" agreement...In the early morning hours of 2 May 2011, a group of around sixty DR Congolese armed forces and police descended on the village of Bosanga in Yalisika. Driving trucks provided by SIFORCO, they proceeded to rape multiple women in the village, beat up villagers, and destroy people’s property...Fifteen village residents were arbitrarily arrested, taken in the SIFORCO truck to the nearest prison...The trial will address the extent of control and responsibility a company must have over a crime for it to be held legally accountable, and will clarify how a company can be “vicariously” liable for a crime committed by security forces acting on the company’s behest...

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Autor/in: Avocats Sans Frontières

"Yalisika trial: Logging and human rights in DRC", 8 June 2015

The NGO Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF) welcomes the start of the trial concerning the attack on the village of Yalisika carried out in 2011. However, ASF is concerned that the perpetrators identified during the investigations have not yet been brought to trial…This trial also sends out a signal that the human rights of populations must be respected in connection with logging and industrial operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo. On 2 May 2011, around 60 policemen and military personnel entered the small village of Bosanga, located in Yalisika…During this operation, serious human rights violations were committed…This operation is said to have been a means of retaliation against villagers who had seized property belonging to the logging company SIFORCO in order to force it to enter into dialogue.

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Autor/in: European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)

"Criminal complaint against Danzer manager over human rights abuses against community in DRC", May 2015

In March 2015 the Office of the State Prosecutor in Tübingen discontinued investigations against a senior manager of Swiss and German timber manufacturer Danzer Group in connection with an attack on a village in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). On 23 April the ECCHR and Global Witness filed a criminal complaint accusing a senior manager of Danzer of grave human rights violations against members of a forest community in the DRC. The manager is accused of aiding and abetting, through omission, the crimes of rape, grievous bodily harm, false imprisonment and arson...ECCHR is seeking to appeal this decision and is calling for investigations to be reopened. The state prosecution failed to take into account key pieces of evidence, including files from two investigative proceedings in Congo. These files contain records of testimony from several victims and witnesses providing a consistent account of the incident that corresponds with investigation reports by Congolese authorities...

 

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Autor/in: Sudeep Chakravarti, Livemint.com (India)

Strategic lawsuits against public participation, or SLAPP, is one of several retaliatory mechanisms increasingly used against defenders of human rights…The Resource Centre discusses these and other matters and provides a global situation report in its 2013 annual briefing on corporate legal accountability…Its…list of case studies…contains recent and ongoing accusations and legal debates of various kinds of human rights violations…attributed to a total of 52 companies across the world. It is of little surprise that human rights lawyers and activists would get SLAPPed about, as it were, or face the legal weight of businesses that far outweigh their own. The stakes, both in perception and finance, are immense…[T]he briefing adds directional value by flagging issues that it expects will affect this space…This is happening, and will happen, in countries where infractions and crimes are perceived as being committed; and in countries where such businesses are headquartered or invested…[Refers to adidas, Anvil Mining (part of China Minmetals), BASF, China Minmetals, Daimler, Danzer, Dow Chemical, Ford, Lonmin, Shell, Tate & Lyle, Union Carbide (part of Dow), Vedanta Resources, Vinci]

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Autor/in: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Welcome to the 10th issue of the Corporate Legal Accountability Quarterly Bulletin. To assist all those following corporate legal accountability issues, we send this bulletin to highlight key developments, new cases profiled on our site, updates to existing profiles, and other news. Our Corporate Legal Accountability Portal is an online information hub providing resources for non-lawyers as well as lawyers – including victims, advocates, NGOs, businesspeople, lawyers bringing lawsuits against companies and lawyers defending companies. The portal provides impartial, concise information about lawsuits against companies in which human rights abuses are alleged – its aim is to demystify these lawsuits. Each case profile includes materials from both the plaintiffs and defendants, to the extent they are available…This bulletin is now available in Spanish and French. [Refers to African Barrick Gold, Alstom, BP, CACI, Chevron, Coca-Cola, COMILOG (part of ERAMET), Daimler, Danzer, Dow Chemical, Drummond, ERAMET, Ford, HudBay Minerals, IBM, KBR, Ledesma, Mercedes-Benz (part of Daimler), Monterrico Metals, Nestlé, PA Child Care, Qosmos, Rio Tinto, Shell, Sinter Metal, SNCF, Texaco (part of Chevron), Thomson Safaris, Total, Union Carbide (part of Dow), Vedanta Resources, Veolia (part of Veolia Environnement), Veolia Environnement, Walmart]

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Prozess
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Autor/in: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Pour une version française de ce profil, cliquez ici.

On 25 April 2013, the NGOs European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and Global Witness filed a criminal complaint in Germany against Olof von Gagern, a senior manager of Danzer Group, a Swiss and German timber manufacturer.  The complaint alleges von Gagern was complicit in human rights abuses committed by Congolese police and military during an attack on the village of Bongulu in northern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on 2 May 2011.  The complaint claims that the police and military abused, raped and arbitrarily arrested the villagers during the attack, and allege that von Gagern aided and abetted these abuses by failing to prevent these crimes from being committed.  In addition, the NGOs claim that security forces reportedly received financial and logistical help from Danzer’s former subsidiary, Siforco (now part of Blattner).  Danzer and Siforco deny the accusations.  They insist that they did not facilitate violence against local communities in DRC and that the events of 2 May happened outside their control and responsibility.  Under German law, corporations cannot be prosecuted for crimes.  Senior managers may, however, have criminal responsibility arising from a duty of care towards those affected by the actions of their employees.  

In March 2012, a group of Bongulu villagers represented by Avocats sans Frontières (ASF, or Lawyers Without Borders) filed a complaint in DRC against 60 Congolese military and police officers allegedly involved in the same 2011 incident.  In 2013 the DRC Military Prosecutor's office conducted investigations, on a team with the joint participation of the UN.  The plaintiffs claim there is evidence that some Siforco employees participated in the planning and preparation of the attack.  In July 2012, ASF filed a complaint in DRC court against Siforco for civil responsibility and against two Siforco employees for criminal responsibility for alleged complicity in the incident.

- “The Global Lawyer: Kiobel's Continental Cousins”, Michael D. Goldhaber, American Lawyer, 15 May 2013
- “German court investigates raid on Congolese village”, Katrin Matthaei, Deutsche Welle, 8 May 2013
- “Danzer Denies Human-Rights Abuses in Congolese Forest Village”, Michael J. Kavanagh, Bloomberg, 27 Apr 2013
- [DE] “Der Mord im Dorf”, Andera Boehm, Die Zeit, 25 April 2013

Danzer:
- “Statement of Danzer regarding the occurrences at Yalisika in 2011”, Danzer Group, 26 Apr 2013

European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR):
- [PDF] "Special newsletter: Criminal complaint against senior manager of Danzer: Accountability for human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of Congo", 25 Apr 2013
- “Criminal complaint filed accuses senior manager of Danzer Group of responsibility over human rights abuses against Congolese community“, 25 Apr 2013
- [PDF] [FR] « Plainte déposée accusant un cadre dirigeant du groupe Danzer d'être responsable de violations des droits de l'Homme contre une communauté congolaise », 25 avril 2013
- [PDF] [DE] “Strafanzeige gegen leitenden Mitarbeiter der Danzer Group wegen Menschenrechtsverletzungen in der Demokratischen Republik Kongo“, 25. Apr 2013

Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF):
- “Logging and human rights in DR Congo”, Avocats Sans Frontières, 26 Apr 2013

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Autor/in: Timber Trades Journal (UK)

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has terminated its relationship with decorative veneer and hardwood timber producer Danzer Group in a landmark decision…The decision means all of Danzer’s FSC forest management and chain-of-custody certificates will be revoked for a minimum of one year…Danzer said it disagreed with the Complaints Panel’s conclusions but committed itself to resolving the DRC issues and develop robust new conflict avoidance and resolution procedures before applying for re-association with FSC…The disassociation has resulted from a complaint made by Greenpeace that SIFORCO [now part of Blattner Group] was involved in the violation of human rights of forest communities in Yalisika, DRC…

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Autor/in: Michael D. Goldhaber, Litigation Daily [USA]

On the first day of spring…I told a European audience in Paris why the law of U.S. corporate alien tort was about to wither. I expected to hear at the conference…about civil actions for corporate accountability taking root on the Continent. But I soon learned that Europe's fresh shoots are mostly in the soilbox of criminal law… My main takeaway from the Paris conference is that corporate accountability on the Continent seems more likely to be advanced through criminal than civil actions. Perhaps…it's because European criminal law can empower NGOs while keeping the safety screen of prosecutorial discretion. I learned that criminal cases are easier to win against executives than businesses… [refers to Alstom, Veolia, Amesys (part of Bull), Qosmos, Shell, Riwal, Danzer]

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