Anvil Mining lawsuit (re Dem. Rep. of Congo)
In October 2004, the town of Kilwa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), was the site of fighting between the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) and a small group of rebels. The armed forces launched the attack to take control of the town following a short occupation by the rebels. During this fighting, the soldiers committed serious human rights violations against civilians, including summary executions, arbitrary arrest, rape and torture. Anvil Mining operated the Dikulushi copper mine near Kilwa. Witnesses alleged that Anvil Mining provided transportation (planes and vehicles) to the Congolese Armed Forces during this event.
After MONUC (UN Mission in DRC) and other national and international NGOs investigated the incident, DRC prosecutors launched investigations of their own. On 12 October 2006, a military prosecutor charged certain FARDC soldiers with breaches of international humanitarian law, and accused three Anvil Mining employees of facilitating the abuses by placing vehicles at the disposal of the army. Anvil Mining denied any direct involvement in the killings. It argued that the allegations against its employees were “unfounded and without merit”. The company did confirm that its vehicles and planes were used in the operation, but it said that they were requisitioned “under the force of law” by the security forces.
On 12 December 2006, the Lubumbashi military high court started to hear the case. Towards the end of the trial, the military prosecutor indicated that there was insufficient evidence of intent to establish that Anvil Mining or its employees had been complicit in war crimes. On 28 June 2007, the court acquitted 12 defendants, including the three employees of Anvil Mining. The court also found Anvil Mining “not guilty”, notwithstanding the fact that Anvil Mining had not formally been tried. The court took the view that no summary executions had occurred in Kilwa, but that people had been killed during “fierce” fighting between the rebels and the army. In December 2007, an appeal against the court’s judgment was denied.
In addition to Anvil Mining’s operations in DRC, the company also has offices in Australia and Canada. Following a complaint filed by lawyers representing Kilwa villagers, in September 2005, the Australian Federal Police launched an inquiry into the actions of Anvil Mining to establish if there was evidence of the company’s complicity in war crimes and crimes against humanity. The inquiry was closed in August 2007 following the acquittal of the Anvil Mining defendants in the DRC lawsuit.
In November 2010, the Canadian Association Against Impunity (an association representing survivors of the incidents in October 2004) launched a civil class action against the company in the Quebec Superior Court. The plaintiffs alleged that Anvil Mining was complicit in the human rights violations that occurred in Kilwa in 2004. In late April 2011, the Superior Court of Quebec ruled that the case may proceed to the next phase. The judge found that the case had sufficient links to Quebec in order to establish the court's jurisdiction to hear the case. On 24 January 2012 the Quebec Court of Appeals reversed and dismissed the case. The appeals court ruled that it lacked the necessary legislation to allow the case to proceed. The plaintiffs appealed this dismissal to the Canadian Supreme Court on 26 March 2012. On 1 November 2012, the Canadian Supreme Court announced that it would not hear the plaintiffs' appeal.
In November 2010, three NGOs brought a complaint to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights on behalf of eight of the victims. In June 2017, the Commission found the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo responsible for the Kilwa massacre and demanded that victims be awarded $2.5 million as compensation. It also called on the government to "prosecute and punish" Anvil Mining staff who helped the army.
- "Supreme Court won't hear appeal in Congo massacre case", Canadian Press, 1 Nov 2012
- "Congolese raise mining lawsuit in Supreme Court", Canadian Press, 26 Mar 2012
- "Canadian mining company accused of complicity in Congo massacre", Maclean’s [Canada], 8 Nov 2010
- "Aust mining company cleared of war crimes charges", ABC News [Australia], 28 Jun 2007
- "Multinational company on trial in Katanga", International Justice Tribune, 22 Jan 2007
- "African tribunal cites Canadian company for role in massacre", Canwest News Service, 17 Oct 2006
- "AFP investigates Anvil Mining over human rights abuses (transcript)", ABC local Radio [Australia], 19 Aug 2005
- "The Kilwa Incident Transcript", ABC Four Corners [Australia], 6 Jun 2005
- [PDF] Anvil and its Employees Acquitted in Kilwa Incident, 28 Jun 2007
- [PDF] Anvil Mining Congo receives notification from Congolese Military Court in relation to the Kilwa incident in October 2004, 18 Oct 2006
- [PDF] Anvil Confirms That Allegations Are Unfounded, 23 Aug 2005
- PDF] Anvil Confirms Denial of Unfounded Allegations, 21 Jun 2005
Rights & Accountability in Development (RAID), Global Witness, Action Contre l’Impunité pour les Droits Humains (ACIDH), Association Africaine de Défense des Droits de l’Homme (ASADHO/KATANGA):
- [DOC] No justice in Canada for Congolese massacre victims as Canada's Supreme Court dismisses leave to appeal, 1 Nov 2012
- [PDF] Congolese massacre survivors to pursue justice at the Supreme Court of Canada, 31 Jan 2012
- [PDF] “Significant step forward in holding Anvil Mining to account”: Statement by The Canadian Association Against Impunity regarding the ruling of the Superior Court of Quebec, 29 Apr 2011
- [PDF] Kilwa Trial: a Denial of Justice – a chronology, October 2004-July 2007, 17 Jul 2007
- [FR] [PDF] Le Procès de Kilwa : un Déni de Justice – Chronologie, Octobre 2004-Juillet 2007, 17 juillet 2007
- Dikulushi copper/silver mine in the DR Congo
- United Nations: High Commissioner for Human Rights concerned at Kilwa military trial in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 4 Jul 2007
- MONUC: Report on the conclusions of a special investigation into alleged summary executions and other human rights violations committed by the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) in Kilwa on 15 October 2004 (English Translation by Rights & Accountability in Development (RAID)), Sep 2005
- Supreme Court of Canada Case Information [court documents]
- [FR] Cour d'Appel de Québec: Association Canadienne Contre L'Impunité c. Anvil Mining Limited, 24 janvier 2012
- [FR] Cour Supérieur de Québec: [PDF] Association Canadienne Contre l'Impunité c. Anvil Mining Limited - Jugement, 27 avril 2011
All components of this story
Author: Anneke Van Woudenberg, Rights & Accountability in Development (RAID), & Salil Tripathi, Institute for Human Rights & Business (IHRB)
...In this interview, IHRB's Salil Tripathi speaks to Anneke Van Woudenberg, RAID's executive director, about the incident, the campaign to get justice, the search for remedy, and the implications of the verdict for the accountability of corporations...
Author: Keren Adams, Human Rights Law Centre (AUS)
The African Commission on Human and People's Rights has urged the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to re-open the criminal investigation into the role an Australian company, Anvil Mining, played in a massacre of 70 people in 2004... Keren Adams, a Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre, welcomed the Commission’s call for a re-examination of Anvil’s role in the massacre. “The Anvil case remains one of Australia’s most troubling examples of corporate impunity. The company's version of events has just never stacked up and directly contradicts the accounts of key eye-witnesses on the ground," said Ms Adams. A criminal investigation into the company by the Australian Federal Police was opened in 2005 but was dropped after a deeply questionable military trial in the DRC failed to find anyone accountable. Civil proceedings in Western Australia were also withdrawn after key witnesses in the DRC were threatened. Ms Adams said the Commission’s decision should prompt consideration of new prosecutions not just by the DRC, but here in Australia. "Anvil has never had to properly answer for its role in what happened at Kilwa. We are talking about one of the worst corporate-facilitated massacres of recent times, but 13 years on, not a single person from the company has been held accountable”. Ms Adams also emphasised the need for better regulation of Australian companies operating overseas, to ensure abuses like the Kilwa massacre cannot happen again. “We currently have over 150 mining companies operating in Africa and yet there is very little regulation or oversight of their activities and it is extremely difficult for victims to hold them to account when human rights violations occur,” said Ms Adams...
- Related stories: Anvil Mining lawsuit (re Dem. Rep. of Congo) Dem. Rep. of Congo: African Commission issues landmark decision on 2004 Kilwa massacre - rebukes Anvil Mining for role in abuses by army
- Related in-depth areas: Latest Legal News
- Related companies: Anvil Mining (part of China Minmetals) China Minmetals
En République démocratique du Congo (RDC), la Commission africaine des droits de l'homme a donné raison aux victimes du massacre de Kilwa (Katanga), dont huit avaient demandé réparation. Le gouvernement congolais a été condamné à leur verser 2,5 millions de dollars.
En octobre 2004, au moins 73 personnes avaient été tuées par des militaires avec le soutien d'une compagnie minière australo-canadienne, Anvil Mining. Ces personnes étaient accusées d'être complices d'un nouveau groupe rebelle. Treize ans plus tard, la Commission africaine des droits de l'homme a donné raison aux victimes du massacre de Kilwa lors duquel au moins 73 personnes, des civils pour la plupart selon l’ONU, ont été tuées.
L'ONG Rights and accountability in development (RAID) a soutenu les victimes dans cette démarche...
Selon elle, la société minière Anvil Mining a contribué à ce massacre en apportant la logistique...
Le gouvernement congolais est également appelé à relancer les enquêtes et organiser un nouveau procès. L'affaire avait déjà été jugée par la justice congolaise qui avait alors acquitté, en 2007, tous les accusés, aussi bien les militaires que les employés de la compagnie. Ce verdict avait provoqué un tollé...
Author: RAID, IHRDA et ACIDH
La Commission Africaine des Droits de l'Homme et des Peuples a établi la responsabilité du Gouvernement de la République Démocratique du Congo dans le massacre de plus de 70 personnes à Kilwa dans le sud-est du pays en 2004, et exige qu’une indemnité historique de 2,5 millions de dollars américains soit versée aux victimes et leurs familles, a martelé aujourd’hui les trois groupes de défense des droits humains qui ont initié la plainte.
Anvil Mining, une société minière australo-canadienne, qui a exploité une mine de cuivre et d'argent à Dikulushi, à 50 kilomètres de Kilwa, a fait l’objet d’une réprimande publique à cause de son rôle dans les violations, qui a consisté à fournir un soutien logistique aux soldats qui ont bombardé sans discernement des civils, exécuté sommairement au moins 28 personnes et éliminé beaucoup d'autres après qu'un petit groupe de rebelles légèrement armés a essayé de prendre le contrôle de la ville. La commission exhorte le Gouvernement congolais à lancer une nouvelle enquête criminelle et « prendre toutes les mesures diligentes à l’effet de la poursuite et de la sanction des agents de l'État et le personnel de la Société Anvil Mining impliqués dans les violations constatées. »...
Cette décision découle d’une bataille juridique de 13 ans engagée pour la justice par les victimes et leurs familles, qui n'ont toujours vu aucun soldat ou un employé de la société minière traduit en justice. La Commission constate que les hauts fonctionnaires congolais ont entravé la procédure judiciaire en RDC et n’ont pas assuré aux victimes une justice impartiale et indépendante...
NGOs coalition welcomes African Commission's landmark USD2.5 million award to DR Congo massacre victims
Author: Rights & Accountability in Development (RAID), Action Contre l'Inpunite pour les Droits de l'homme (ACIDH), Institute for Human Rights & Development in Africa (IHRDA)
The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has found the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo responsible for the 2004 massacre of over 70 people in Kilwa, in the southeast of the country, and granted landmark compensation of US $2.5 million to the victims and their families, three human rights groups who initiated the complaint said today.
An Australian-Canadian mining company, Anvil Mining, who operated a copper and silver mine at Dikulushi, 50 kilometres from Kilwa, was publicly rebuked for its role in the violations, which included providing logistical support to soldiers who indiscriminately shelled civilians, summarily executed at least 28 people and disappeared many others after a small group of lightly armed rebels tried to take control of the town. The Commission urged the Congolese government to launch a new criminal investigation and “take all due measures to prosecute and punish agents of the state and Anvil Mining Company staff.”
The complaint on behalf of 8 of the victims was brought to the African Commission in November 2010 by UK-based Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID), Congo-based Action Against Impunity and Human Rights (ACIDH) and the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA), based in Banjul, Gambia. The Commission communicated its decision to the parties in French last month [...]
In a ground-breaking decision, the Commission found the Congolese government had violated nine human rights provisions of the African Charter, including extrajudicial executions, torture, arbitrary arrests, disappearances and forced displacement, amongst others. It awarded the 8 victims named in the complaint US $2.5 million, the highest ever award by the African Commission. It urged the Congolese government to identify and compensate other victims and their families not party to the complaint who were also directly affected by the attack...
Author: Rights & Accountability in Development (RAID)
Questions (Answers can be found below)
1. What happened in Kilwa?
2. Is what happened in Kilwa linked to the war in DRC
4. What role did Anvil Mining play in the massacre?
5. What does Anvil Mining say happened?
6. Did the Congolese government arrest any of the soldiers or Anvil employees?
7. Have there been other attempts to seek criminal justice?
8. Were there attempts to seek justice through the civil courts?
9. Why did the victims decide to launch a complaint with the African
Commission on Human and Peoples Rights?
10. How did African Commission reach its decision?
11. What did the African Commission decide?
12. What was ground-breaking about the award for compensation?
13. What else was groundbreaking about the decision?
14. What did the African Commission say about the role of Anvil Mining?
15. What happens next?
16. Can this decision be enforced?
Author: African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
The Commission, Based on the above,
154. Holds that the Democratic Republic of Congo violated provisions of articles 1, 4, 5, 6, 7(1) (a), 7(1)(c), 14, 22 and 26 of the Charter and the right to housing. Consequently:
i. Requests the Democratic Republic of Congo to take all diligent measures to prosecute and punish State’s agents and Anvil Mining Company staff who were involved in the violations...
Author: Commission Africaine des Droits de l'Homme & des Peuples
[Décision complète de la Commission Africaine]
Author: Gwynne Skinner, Robert McCorquodale, Olivier De Schutter & Andie Lambe
"第三大支柱： 讓跨國公司侵犯人權行為的受害者獲得司法救濟", 2013年2月
Author: Gwynne Skinner, Robert McCorquodale, Olivier De Schutter & Andie Lambe
"第三大支柱： 让跨国公司侵犯人权行为的受害者获得司法救济", 2013年2月
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