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15 Nov 2016

Nadia Bernaz, Middlesex University on Rights as Usual

Criminal Complaint against French Cement Company for Terrorism Financing, Complicity of Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes in Syria

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Today French newspaper Le Monde reports that two NGOs, Sherpa and the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights, have brought a criminal complaint in France against the Franco-Swiss cement company LafargeHolcim...Le Monde explains that at the time Lafarge Cement Syria was operating a cement plant in Jalabiya, in the Northern part of Syria, in a zone then controlled by the so-called Islamic State...[T]he cement plant employees as well as businesspeople visiting the plant to buy cement had to pay a fee to the Islamic State to access the plant...The complaint...seems to focus on financing the operations of the Islamic State...The complaint constitutes an important development for the field of business and human rights for at least three reasons...There is a lot of uncertainty when it comes to financial complicity in international crimes...The complaint against LafargeHolcim could be a great opportunity to get some clarity around the precise conditions under which a company can be held criminally liable of aiding and abetting atrocity crimes.