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Australian mining company in prosecution spotlight for role in Congo massacre
Author: Keren Adams, Human Rights Law Centre (AUS), Published on: 7 August 2017
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 Civil proceedings in Western Australia were also withdrawn after key witnesses in the DRC were threatened.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...