French Court drops crimes against humanity charges against Lafarge in lawsuit over its operations in Syria

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7 November 2019

France's Lafarge has charge of crimes against humanity lifted: lawyers

Author: Reuters

French appeal court has rejected a charge of “complicity in crimes against humanity” brought against cement maker Lafarge, part of Lafarge Holcim, over its operations in Syria...

But the French company still faces a charge of “financing of terrorism”, said Marie Dose, who represents the organizations Sherpa and ECCHR (European center for constitutional and human rights).

French authorities are looking into whether maker Lafarge, which was taken over by Swiss rival Holcim in 2015, paid Islamic State in 2013 and 2014 to keep its factories running in areas controlled by the group.

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7 November 2019

Sherpa and ECCHR to appeal decision in Lafarge/Syria case at French Supreme Court

Author: Sherpa & European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)

Today, the Investigation Chamber of the Paris Court of Appeals revoked the indictment of French company Lafarge for complicity in crimes against humanity committed in Syria and Iraq – in particular by the "Islamic State" (IS). However, the judges upheld the indictment of the French multinational for deliberately endangering the lives of others, financing terrorism and violating a trade embargo. Charges remain against eight former executives.

The nonprofit organizations Sherpa and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) will appeal at the French Supreme Court.

...“By doing business with armed groups in the region, they took the risk to contribute to crimes against humanity. This has to be investigated. I’m confident that the French authorities will re-consider this charge." [said a former Syrian Lafarge employee and plaintiff in the case]...

The appeal at the French Supreme Court will be an opportunity for the court’s Criminal Division to examine this case, which has crucial repercussions for fighting the impunity of multinational companies that fuel human rights violations in armed conflicts...

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