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11 Jan 2014

Hasan Dindjer, Rights Watch (UK)

Prosecuting Corporate Pillage

Pillage is a war crime...[and] is both a serious breach of the laws of war...and, as resource-fuelled wars across the world attest, one that sustains some particularly brutal conflicts...[H]ow can corporations that buy pillaged resources themselves be held legally accountable?...[Recently] Swiss authorities launched a criminal investigation into the gold refiner Argor-Hareaus following a complaint [which alleges] that gold pillaged by the FNI, an armed group in the DRC, was sold...to Argor. [The company] vigorously denies the allegations...The complaint also alleges the “direct involvement” of Jersey-based Hussar Ltd...[and] Hussar Services Ltd...The results of the investigation [have been passed] on to the UK authorities and the Jersey authorities. [In the UK] pillage is incorporated as a domestic criminal offence by the International Criminal Court Act 2001, [but] the question remains whether corporations can be prosecuted under the ICC Act at all...

Part of the following timelines

NGO analyses how companies buying pillaged resources can be held legally accountable

Argor-Heraeus investigation (re Dem. Rep. Congo)