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1 Mai 2010

Lahmeyer lawsuit (re dam construction in northern Sudan)


Date lawsuit was filed
1 Mai 2010
Jahr und Monat korrekt
Ort der Einreichung: Deutschland
Ort des Vorfalls: Sudan
Art des Rechtsstreits: Transnational


Lahmeyer Deutschland Wasserkraft- & Staudammprojekte



In 2010, an NGO filed a criminal complaint with the Public Prosecutor in Frankfurt, Germany against two executive officers of the engineering company Lahmeyer International GmBH, a German contractor responsible for constructing the Meroqe dam in Northern Sudan. The complaint accused Lahmeyer of knowingly flooding more than 30 villages, causing the forcible displacement of over 4,700 families. The prosecutor decided not to pursue the case. 

Legal proceedings

In May 2010, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) filed a criminal complaint at the department of the public prosecutor in Frankfurt am Main against two executive officers of engineering company Lahmeyer International GmbH, a German contractor responsible for constructing the Merowe dam in northern Sudan. The complaint accused the two Lahmeyer employees of flooding more than 30 villages, causing the forcible displacement of over 4700 families and the destruction of their livelihoods. The complaint alleges the employees knowingly flooded the area without arranging any plans to resettle the community. Lahmeyer denied all accusations in the complaint and promised to investigate the accusations in support of the public prosecution office.

Lahmeyer began construction of the dam in 2004 before the Sudanese Government had agreed on a resettlement plan with the affected Manasir community. In April 2006, while protesters were eating breakfast in the courtyard of Amri school, dam security killed three people and wounded fifty. In June and July 2008, shortly after the hydropower plant went into operation, rising water suddenly flooded the region destroying homes, crops, animals and other sources of livelihood. The Manasir people lost access to adequate shelter, food and drinking water. In April 2011, the prosecutor in Frankfurt accepted the case and began to investigate the matter. On 20 April 2016, the prosecutor decided not to pursue the case.  The plaintiffs have appealed the decision.

In June 2013, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights initiated a complaint before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) on behalf of two Sudanese nationals who were members of the affected community. The complaint alleges the Sudanese government violated the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, which requires states to obtain permission from local communities before beginning projects that could destroy their lands and livelihoods. According to the complaint, the Sudanese government also failed to investigate and prosecute the individuals that killed and wounded protestors in 2006. In February 2016, ACPHR issued a declaration of admissibility so the Commission will now examine the merits of the case.

-“Sudan Dams” case declared admissible by the African Commission: mass forced evictions, displacement, and forcible suppression of anti-dam demonstrations before the regional body, EIPR, 16 Mar 2016
- EIPR launches legal action against Sudan for violations arising from the construction of the Merowe and Kajbar dams", EIPR,  07 Oct 2013
- Sudan: No Clear Studies on Impacts of Merowe Dam, Reem Abbas, 02 Jan 2012
- Sudan arrests two Germans in relation to dam row, Sudan Tribune, 09 Nov 2011
- Merowe dam Technical Consultant, Lahmeyer, under investigations, Sudan Tribune, 17 Sep 2011
- UN expert urges Sudan to respect human rights of communities affected by hydro-electric dam projects, UN Human Rights Council, 27 Aug 2007
- Barren idea? How Sudan's dam will harness the Nile but widen discord, Andrew England, 07 Mar 2007
- Sudanese militia kill three people in Merowe dam area, Ali Askouri, 22 Apr 2006
- Urgent Call for a Negotiated Agreement To End the Violence in the Merowe/Hamadab Dam-Affected Areas, International Rivers Network & The Corner House, 30 Nov 2005
- Three killed in Sudan protest over Nile dam, AFP, 23 Apr 2006
- Sudan dam will drown cultural treasures, destroy Nile communities, Ali Askouri, 29 Apr 2004


- Lahmeyer response to ECCHR criminal complaint, 07 May 2010
Lahmeyer response to statement by UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing regarding human rights impacts of Merowe dam, 03 Sep 2007
Lahmeyer comments regarding incident in which 3 civilians were killed during protests over Merowe dam, 03 May 2006
Response of Lahmeyer International to International Rivers Network & Corner House Update on Merowe Dam Project, 15 July 2005
The Merowe Dam in Sudan: Lahmeyer International's Involvement and Assistance, May 2005

European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights

- Lahmeyer case
- The Lahmeyer case: Construction with no regard for the human cost, 27 Nov 2015
- Construction regardless of the consequences? Background information regarding the ECCHR's criminal complaint against Lahmeyer, May 2010
Criminal complaint against Lahmeyer, 2011