Résumé du procès contre le Groupe Danzer & SIFORCO (Rép. dém. du Congo)

TimberFor an English-language version of this case profile, please click here.

Für die deutsche Beschreibung des Falles, klicken Sie hier.

Le 2 mai 2011, la police et l'armée congolaise auraient attaqué le village de Bongulu au nord de la République démocratique du Congo (RDC). De nombreuses violations des droits de l'homme, telles que des viols et arrestations arbitraires de villageois, auraient eu lieu pendant l'attaque. Un membre de la direction du groupe Danzer, une entreprise forestière suisso-allemande, aurait soutenu et encouragé ces abus en ne prenant pas les mesures nécessaires pour les empêcher. De plus, les ONG soutiennent que les forces de sécurité auraient reçu une aide financière et logistique de la  part de l'ancienne filiale de Danzer, SIFORCO (à présent filiale de Blattner). Danzer et SIFORCO ont démenti ces accusations. Les deux entreprises ont insisté sur le fait qu'elles n'ont jamais encouragé la violence contre les communautés locales en RDC et qu'elles n'ont eu aucun contrôle ni aucune responsabilité quant aux évènements du 2 mai.

Procédure en Rép. dém. du Congo

En mars 2012, un groupe de villageois de Bongulu représentés par Avocats sans Frontières (ASF) a déposé une plainte en RDC contre 60 officiers de la police et de l'armée prétendument impliqués dans ledit incident de 2011. En 2013, le procureur militaire a mené une enquête avec la participation conjointe de l’ONU. Les plaignants soutiennent que des preuves indirectes indiquent que des employés de la SIFORCO ont pris part à la planification et la préparation de l'attaque.  En juillet 2012, ASF a engagé la responsabilité civile de SIFORCO devant la justice congolaise et a déposé une plainte pénale contre deux employés de SIFORCO pour leur prétendue complicité dans l’incident.  Le procès a débuté le 5 juin 2015.

Procédure en Allemagne

Le 25 avril 2013, le European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights  (ECCHR) et Global Witness, deux ONG, ont déposé une plainte auprès d’un tribunal allemand contre Olof von Gagern, un membre de la direction du groupe Danzer. La plainte allègue que von Gagern a été complice de violations des droits de l'homme perpétrées par la police et l'armée congolaise lors de l'attaque contre le village de Bongulu en ne prenant pas les mesures nécessaires pour les empêcher. La législation allemande énoncee que les entreprises ne peuvent pas être poursuivies pour des crimes. Cependant, les membres de leurs directions peuvent endosser une responsabilité pénale en vertu de leur devoir de diligence envers ceux qui sont affectés par les actes de leurs employés. En mars 2015, le procureur de Tübingen a mis fin à l'enquête.

 

- [EN] “The Global Lawyer: Kiobel's Continental Cousins”, Michael D. Goldhaber, American Lawyer, 15 May 2013
- [EN] “German court investigates raid on Congolese village”, Katrin Matthaei, Deutsche Welle, 8 May 2013
- [EN] “Danzer Denies Human-Rights Abuses in Congolese Forest Village”, Michael J. Kavanagh, Bloomberg, 27 Apr 2013
- [DE] “Der Mord im Dorf”, Andera Boehm, Die Zeit, 25 Apr 2013

Danzer:
- “Statement of Danzer regarding the occurrences at Yalisika in 2011”, Danzer Group, 26 Apr 2013

Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF):
- "Procès « Yalisika »: Exploitation et droits humains en RD Congo", 8 juin 2015
- « L’exploitation forestièreet les droits humains en RD Congo », Avocats Sans Frontières, 26 avril 2013

European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR):
- "Criminal complaint against Danzer manager over human rights abuses against community in DRC", May 2015
- [PDF] « Plainte déposée accusant un cadre dirigeant du groupe Danzer d'être responsable de violations des droits de l'Homme contre une communauté congolaise », 25 avril 2013
- [PDF] [EN] “Criminal complaint filed accuses senior manager of Danzer Group of responsibility over human rights abuses against Congolese community“, 25 Apr 2013
- [PDF] [DE] “Strafanzeige gegen leitenden Mitarbeiter der Danzer Group wegen Menschenrechtsverletzungen in der Demokratischen Republik Kongo“, 25 Apr 2013
- [PDF] [EN] "Special newsletter: Criminal complaint against senior manager of Danzer: Accountability for human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of Congo", 25 Apr 2013

 

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Article
17 July 2015

Rép. Dém. du Congo : Avocats Sans Frontières appelle SIFORCO à participer aux débats dans le procès de l’attaque du village de Yalisika

Auteur: Avocats Sans Frontières

« Procès « Yalisika »: tous les acteurs doivent être à la barre », 15 juillet 2015

Près de 6 semaines après l'ouverture du procès « Yalisika » par la Cour Militaire de Mbandaka, les procédures peinent toujours à avancer. Alors que la reprise du procès, suspendu depuis un mois, est annoncée, ASF [Avocats Sans Frontières] appelle à ce que les audiences se déroulent dans des conditions assurant l'établissement de la vérité et l'identification de toutes les responsabilités. Pour ce faire, toutes les parties concernées ou supposées impliquées dans les faits en examen doivent effectivement participer au procès. Ce procès relatif à l'attaque sur le village de Yalisika commise en mai 2011 est un enjeu majeur pour les communautés directement touchées par l'exploitation forestière et industrielle en RDC...La question du rôle de la Société Industrielle et Forestière du Congo (SIFORCO [filiale du Groupe Blattner Group]) à cette opération demeure au cœur des éléments qui doivent être clarifiés dans le cadre de ce procès...

 

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Article
10 June 2015

Rép. dém. du Congo : Avocats Sans Frontières se félicite de l’ouverture du procès contre Siforco concernant des abus des forces de l'ordre

Auteur: Avocats Sans Frontières

Yalisika, 2013 © ASF/ Bahia Zrikem

"Procès « Yalisika »: Exploitation et droits humains en RD Congo", 8 juin 2015

L’ONG Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF) se félicite de l’ouverture du procès concernant l’attaque sur le village de Yalisika commise en 2011. ASF s’inquiète cependant que tous les responsables identifiés au  cours des enquêtes ne soient encore pas traduits en justice...Ce procès est également un signal : les droits humains des populations doivent être respectés dans le cadre de l’exploitation forestière et industrielle en RD Congo. Le 2 mai 2011, quelque 60 policiers et militaires entrent dans le petit village de Bosanga situé dans le groupement de Yalisika, en province de l’Equateur. Lors de cette opération, de graves violations de droits humains sont commises : viols, coups, torture et destruction de biens. Cette opération constituerait des représailles à des actions des villageois qui avaient saisi certains biens de la Société Industrielle et Forestière du Congo (SIFORCO [filiale du Groupe Blattner]) pour forcer l’entreprise à engager un dialogue. 

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Article
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Auteur: Shira Stanton & Jean-Philippe Kot, Avocats Sans Frontières

Almost ten years after the lawsuit against Anvil Mining was brought before a Lubumbashi military court, a new conflict between a logging company, SIFORCO, and a community affected by the company’s activities is before a domestic court of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) The trial started 5 June in Mbandaka, in DRC’s western province of Equateur, and represents a significant step forward to ensure justice for an affected population....In the case against SIFORCO, tensions arose following the company's failure to execute contractual obligations related to its "social responsibility" agreement...In the early morning hours of 2 May 2011, a group of around sixty DR Congolese armed forces and police descended on the village of Bosanga in Yalisika. Driving trucks provided by SIFORCO, they proceeded to rape multiple women in the village, beat up villagers, and destroy people’s property...Fifteen village residents were arbitrarily arrested, taken in the SIFORCO truck to the nearest prison...The trial will address the extent of control and responsibility a company must have over a crime for it to be held legally accountable, and will clarify how a company can be “vicariously” liable for a crime committed by security forces acting on the company’s behest...

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Auteur: Avocats Sans Frontières

"Yalisika trial: Logging and human rights in DRC", 8 June 2015

The NGO Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF) welcomes the start of the trial concerning the attack on the village of Yalisika carried out in 2011. However, ASF is concerned that the perpetrators identified during the investigations have not yet been brought to trial…This trial also sends out a signal that the human rights of populations must be respected in connection with logging and industrial operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo. On 2 May 2011, around 60 policemen and military personnel entered the small village of Bosanga, located in Yalisika…During this operation, serious human rights violations were committed…This operation is said to have been a means of retaliation against villagers who had seized property belonging to the logging company SIFORCO in order to force it to enter into dialogue.

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Article
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Auteur: European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)

"Criminal complaint against Danzer manager over human rights abuses against community in DRC", May 2015

In March 2015 the Office of the State Prosecutor in Tübingen discontinued investigations against a senior manager of Swiss and German timber manufacturer Danzer Group in connection with an attack on a village in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). On 23 April the ECCHR and Global Witness filed a criminal complaint accusing a senior manager of Danzer of grave human rights violations against members of a forest community in the DRC. The manager is accused of aiding and abetting, through omission, the crimes of rape, grievous bodily harm, false imprisonment and arson...ECCHR is seeking to appeal this decision and is calling for investigations to be reopened. The state prosecution failed to take into account key pieces of evidence, including files from two investigative proceedings in Congo. These files contain records of testimony from several victims and witnesses providing a consistent account of the incident that corresponds with investigation reports by Congolese authorities...

 

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Auteur: Sudeep Chakravarti, Livemint.com (India)

Strategic lawsuits against public participation, or SLAPP, is one of several retaliatory mechanisms increasingly used against defenders of human rights…The Resource Centre discusses these and other matters and provides a global situation report in its 2013 annual briefing on corporate legal accountability…Its…list of case studies…contains recent and ongoing accusations and legal debates of various kinds of human rights violations…attributed to a total of 52 companies across the world. It is of little surprise that human rights lawyers and activists would get SLAPPed about, as it were, or face the legal weight of businesses that far outweigh their own. The stakes, both in perception and finance, are immense…[T]he briefing adds directional value by flagging issues that it expects will affect this space…This is happening, and will happen, in countries where infractions and crimes are perceived as being committed; and in countries where such businesses are headquartered or invested…[Refers to adidas, Anvil Mining (part of China Minmetals), BASF, China Minmetals, Daimler, Danzer, Dow Chemical, Ford, Lonmin, Shell, Tate & Lyle, Union Carbide (part of Dow), Vedanta Resources, Vinci]

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Article
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Auteur: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Welcome to the 10th issue of the Corporate Legal Accountability Quarterly Bulletin. To assist all those following corporate legal accountability issues, we send this bulletin to highlight key developments, new cases profiled on our site, updates to existing profiles, and other news. Our Corporate Legal Accountability Portal is an online information hub providing resources for non-lawyers as well as lawyers – including victims, advocates, NGOs, businesspeople, lawyers bringing lawsuits against companies and lawyers defending companies. The portal provides impartial, concise information about lawsuits against companies in which human rights abuses are alleged – its aim is to demystify these lawsuits. Each case profile includes materials from both the plaintiffs and defendants, to the extent they are available…This bulletin is now available in Spanish and French. [Refers to African Barrick Gold, Alstom, BP, CACI, Chevron, Coca-Cola, COMILOG (part of ERAMET), Daimler, Danzer, Dow Chemical, Drummond, ERAMET, Ford, HudBay Minerals, IBM, KBR, Ledesma, Mercedes-Benz (part of Daimler), Monterrico Metals, Nestlé, PA Child Care, Qosmos, Rio Tinto, Shell, Sinter Metal, SNCF, Texaco (part of Chevron), Thomson Safaris, Total, Union Carbide (part of Dow), Vedanta Resources, Veolia (part of Veolia Environnement), Veolia Environnement, Walmart]

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Procès
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Auteur: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Pour une version française de ce profil, cliquez ici.

On 25 April 2013, the NGOs European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and Global Witness filed a criminal complaint in Germany against Olof von Gagern, a senior manager of Danzer Group, a Swiss and German timber manufacturer.  The complaint alleges von Gagern was complicit in human rights abuses committed by Congolese police and military during an attack on the village of Bongulu in northern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on 2 May 2011.  The complaint claims that the police and military abused, raped and arbitrarily arrested the villagers during the attack, and allege that von Gagern aided and abetted these abuses by failing to prevent these crimes from being committed.  In addition, the NGOs claim that security forces reportedly received financial and logistical help from Danzer’s former subsidiary, Siforco (now part of Blattner).  Danzer and Siforco deny the accusations.  They insist that they did not facilitate violence against local communities in DRC and that the events of 2 May happened outside their control and responsibility.  Under German law, corporations cannot be prosecuted for crimes.  Senior managers may, however, have criminal responsibility arising from a duty of care towards those affected by the actions of their employees.  

In March 2012, a group of Bongulu villagers represented by Avocats sans Frontières (ASF, or Lawyers Without Borders) filed a complaint in DRC against 60 Congolese military and police officers allegedly involved in the same 2011 incident.  In 2013 the DRC Military Prosecutor's office conducted investigations, on a team with the joint participation of the UN.  The plaintiffs claim there is evidence that some Siforco employees participated in the planning and preparation of the attack.  In July 2012, ASF filed a complaint in DRC court against Siforco for civil responsibility and against two Siforco employees for criminal responsibility for alleged complicity in the incident.

- “The Global Lawyer: Kiobel's Continental Cousins”, Michael D. Goldhaber, American Lawyer, 15 May 2013
- “German court investigates raid on Congolese village”, Katrin Matthaei, Deutsche Welle, 8 May 2013
- “Danzer Denies Human-Rights Abuses in Congolese Forest Village”, Michael J. Kavanagh, Bloomberg, 27 Apr 2013
- [DE] “Der Mord im Dorf”, Andera Boehm, Die Zeit, 25 April 2013

Danzer:
- “Statement of Danzer regarding the occurrences at Yalisika in 2011”, Danzer Group, 26 Apr 2013

European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR):
- [PDF] "Special newsletter: Criminal complaint against senior manager of Danzer: Accountability for human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of Congo", 25 Apr 2013
- “Criminal complaint filed accuses senior manager of Danzer Group of responsibility over human rights abuses against Congolese community“, 25 Apr 2013
- [PDF] [FR] « Plainte déposée accusant un cadre dirigeant du groupe Danzer d'être responsable de violations des droits de l'Homme contre une communauté congolaise », 25 avril 2013
- [PDF] [DE] “Strafanzeige gegen leitenden Mitarbeiter der Danzer Group wegen Menschenrechtsverletzungen in der Demokratischen Republik Kongo“, 25. Apr 2013

Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF):
- “Logging and human rights in DR Congo”, Avocats Sans Frontières, 26 Apr 2013

Article
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Auteur: Timber Trades Journal (UK)

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has terminated its relationship with decorative veneer and hardwood timber producer Danzer Group in a landmark decision…The decision means all of Danzer’s FSC forest management and chain-of-custody certificates will be revoked for a minimum of one year…Danzer said it disagreed with the Complaints Panel’s conclusions but committed itself to resolving the DRC issues and develop robust new conflict avoidance and resolution procedures before applying for re-association with FSC…The disassociation has resulted from a complaint made by Greenpeace that SIFORCO [now part of Blattner Group] was involved in the violation of human rights of forest communities in Yalisika, DRC…

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Auteur: Michael D. Goldhaber, Litigation Daily [USA]

On the first day of spring…I told a European audience in Paris why the law of U.S. corporate alien tort was about to wither. I expected to hear at the conference…about civil actions for corporate accountability taking root on the Continent. But I soon learned that Europe's fresh shoots are mostly in the soilbox of criminal law… My main takeaway from the Paris conference is that corporate accountability on the Continent seems more likely to be advanced through criminal than civil actions. Perhaps…it's because European criminal law can empower NGOs while keeping the safety screen of prosecutorial discretion. I learned that criminal cases are easier to win against executives than businesses… [refers to Alstom, Veolia, Amesys (part of Bull), Qosmos, Shell, Riwal, Danzer]

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