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7 Oct 2014

Michael Peel, Financial Times

Cambodians claim land grabs are crime against humanity [Subscription only]

A petition to be filed at The Hague on Tuesday against a group of politicians, security chiefs and business magnates in the southeast Asian country raises the stakes for land disputes by arguing that systematic illegal seizures can be a crime against humanity...[T]he argument behind it has a potential impact on sectors such as resources and commodities, where companies are increasingly becoming embroiled in disputes over land rights. “The message this case sends to companies is that they need to do their due diligence much more carefully,” said Richard Rogers, a partner in Global Diligence, the London-based law firm bringing the ICC claim...In a separate Cambodia damages case brought to the High Court in London last year, 200 villagers allege a sugar business formerly owned by the UK’s Tate & Lyle sourced cane from a plantation...on land grabbed by government agents, including military police. “In our view, there is no basis for the villagers’ claims against us,” T& L Sugars said...The new Cambodia claim to the ICC accuses the country’s ruling elite of a “widespread and systematic attack” on the rights of the civilian population, including land-grabbing “on a truly massive scale”... [Also refers to CocaCola] 

Part of the following timelines

Cambodians file claim before Intl. Criminal Court alleging widespread & systematic land seizures by govt. & govt-linked businesses amount to crime against humanity

Koh Kong sugar plantation lawsuits (re Cambodia)

Cambodian villagers’ Intl. Criminal Court complaint (re land grabbing)