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14 Nov 2022

Karolina Bonde, PAX Unpaid Debt

Sweden: Supreme Court has jurisdiction to prosecute ex-CEO of Lundin Energy over alleged war crimes in Sudan

"Supreme Court: Sweden has Jurisdiction over Lundin’s Alex Schneiter", 10 Nov 2022

The Supreme Court of Sweden confirmed on 10 November, 2022, that Sweden can prosecute Lundin’s former CEO Alex Schneiter. The decision ensures that Sweden continues to honour the principle of universal jurisdiction, that prevents those who committed serious crimes from finding a safe haven in third countries. With its decision, the Court confirms Sweden’s commitment to making sure that those responsible for the worst international crimes do not go unpunished ...

Alex Schneiter was indicted together with Ian Lundin for aiding and abetting war crimes in South Sudan in November 2021. The same month, Alex Schneiter made a request to the District Court. Schneiter and his lawyers argued that the Swedish Courts do not have jurisdiction over him as there is no support in international law that universal jurisdiction can be applied over crimes committed in a non-international armed conflict or if the accused is not voluntarily present in the territory of the State where he or she is indicted ...

After both the District Court and Svea Court of Appeal denied his request, Schneiter appealed the decision to the Swedish Supreme Court who in turn referred the question to the Prosecutor General of Sweden, Petra Lundh. She concluded that the legal framework is clear and that the Swedish courts have jurisdiction to try Alex Schneiter. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court of Sweden decided to take up the question itself in order to clarify the matter ...

Although this decision is welcomed by the victims of the alleged crimes, this procedure has negatively affected them. Schneiter’s claim has delayed the criminal proceedings with 8 months, diminishing the integrity of the trial and infringing on the victims’ right to prompt justice and redress.

The planning of the trial resumed but no date has been set yet.