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Victims & NGOs file complaint against BNP Paribas in France over alleged complicity in human rights abuse in Sudan

Laurent Vincenti

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Article
26 September 2019

Sudanese victims ask French judges to investigate BNP Paribas’ role in atrocities

Author: International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

Nine Sudanese victims, supported by FIDH and Project Expedite Justice, have filed a criminal complaint today targeting BNP Paribas for alleged complicity in crimes against humanity, torture, and genocide that took place in Sudan, as well as financial offences.

Between at least 2002 and 2008, BNPP was considered to be Sudan’s “de facto central bank”.

Prosecuted in the United States for dealing with Sudan, Iran and Cuba in violation of U.S. sanctions, BNPP has admitted to acting as Sudan’s foreign bank between 2002 and 2008. The U.S. Department of Justice has described BNPP as Sudan’s “de facto central bank” because it gave the Sudanese government access to the U.S. financial system and processed billions of dollars worth of transactions on behalf of sanctioned Sudanese entities.

"Behind the gravest crimes and human rights violations there is always money. By granting the Sudanese regime access to international money markets, BNPP allowed the government to function, pay its staff, military and security forces, make purchases abroad, all while Sudan was a pariah on the international scene for planning and committing crimes in Darfur.” - Patrick Baudouin, lawyer and FIDH honorary President

 From 2002 to 2008, the Sudanese government – through its military and security forces and Janjaweed militias – committed widespread human rights violations that led to the death of more than 300,000 Sudanese civilians. Marginalised communities in Darfur and other areas inside Sudan were the primary targets of mass murder, forced displacement, sexual violence, detention, torture, and other forms of inhumane treatment. 

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Article
26 September 2019

Victims of Sudan violence file complaint against BNP Paribas

Author: Regis Duvignau, Reuters

Nine people who say they are victims of rights abuses by the former government of Sudan filed a legal complaint against BNP Paribas in a French court alleging the lender was complicit because it financed Khartoum.

The French complaint said that the U.S. Department of Justice had described BNP Paribas as Sudan’s de facto central bank because it gave the Sudanese government access to international money markets, and allowed it to pay staff, the military and security forces. 

At the same time, Sudanese forces were waging a campaign of violence in Sudan’s Darfur region that the International Criminal Court in The Hague has since characterized as war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

BNP Paribas said in a statement provided to Reuters it was not aware of the complaint having been opened and that it did not comment on judicial proceedings.

“From 2002 to 2008, the Sudanese government – through its military and security forces and Janjaweed militias – committed widespread human rights violations that led to the death of more than 300,000 Sudanese civilians,” the statement from the victims and their lawyers said. 

“We call on the French authorities to promptly open an investigation to determine whether BNP is criminally responsible for its dealings with Sudan”, said Michel Tubiana, one of the victims’ lawyers.

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