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Article

23 Dec 2021

Author:
Karolina Bonde, Unpaid Debt

The court denies another claim to dismiss the case

Lundin Energy’s former CEO Alex Schneiter filed a request to the court to dismiss the indictment against him. The District Court swiftly rejected the claim, an indication that they are starting to lose their patience with the numerous meritless claims made by the defendants in the Lundin case. 

The Stockholm District Court has faced a number of requests from Lundin’s lawyers and yet again they rejected an attempt by Alex Schneiter to dismiss the indictment against him. This time, Schneiter’s lawyers claimed that the Swedish Court had no jurisdiction over him. They referred to the fact that even though the Swedish courts provide universal jurisdiction through Chapter 2 Section 3(6) of the Swedish Penal Code, this is limited by an internal rule[1] providing that there must be support in international law for universal jurisdiction to be applicable.

The defence referred to expert opinions by Eric Bylander, Professor William Schabas and Dr. Guenael Mettraux, arguing that the Swedish Court has no jurisdiction over Alex Schneiter as there is no support in international law that universal jurisdiction can be applied over crimes committed in a non-international armed conflict or in situations when the accused is not voluntarily present in the territory of the State where it is indicted. The Court has rejected both arguments.

The International Committee of the Red Cross’ customary law study, which is the most comprehensive and internationally recognised study in the field, provides that States have the right to apply universal jurisdiction within the framework of their national law to crimes committed in a non-international armed conflict. The Prosecution relied on this, stating that the rule provided strong support for the fact that the Swedish jurisdiction rule is compatible with general international law, and that the district court is competent to try the prosecution against Alex Schneiter. The District Court agreed with their argument...

The defence referred to the fact that Alex Schneiter is a citizen of Switzerland, he does not reside in Sweden and did not do so when the charges were brought...

In this case, however, there is a connection between Schneiter and Sweden. Public prosecutor Henrik Attorps highlighted that the crime Schneiter is accused of was committed within the framework of his work as a senior representative of a Swedish corporation and that “there is thus a clear interest in Sweden to exercise the universal jurisdiction that exists for the crime under Swedish law.” An argument that the District court concurred with, adding that “the crime was committed together and in agreement with a Swedish citizen”...

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