The Lund incident – ​​war crimes, oil and legal battle

1997. The Lundin Group signs an oil exploration agreement with the government of Sudan. The agreement covers the Block 5A area in the state of Unity in what was then South Sudan. The group’s operations in the area are to be conducted by the subsidiary Sudan Ltd. In Sudan, since 1983, a civil war has been going on between the regime in the north and rebels in the south.

1999. Offensives are launched by Sudan’s military and regime-allied militias in the oil exploration area. According to Swedish prosecutors, the purpose is to take control of areas for oil exploration and thereby create conditions for Sudan Ltd’s operations. The military offensives will then have been carried out up to and including March 2003.

The warfare includes systematic “attacks against civilians or in any case indiscriminate attacks”, and thus constitute war crimes, according to the Swedish criminal investigation.

2001. The organization Christian Aid comes out with the report “The Scorched Earth Oil and War in Sudan”, where it is described how the population of oil areas in the southern parts of Sudan is displaced to enable the activities of the oil companies. In Sweden, there will be discussions about the report, among other things, because the former Prime Minister Carl Bildt (M) sits on the board of Lundin.

2003. Lundin sells its operations in Sudan.

2010. The report “Unpaid debt” is published by the organization European Coalition on Oil in Sudan (Ecos), where, among others, Lundin Oil is accused of having helped the regime in Sudan to force out the local population to facilitate oil exploration.

The following week, the prosecutor Magnus Elving at the International Prosecutor’s Office in Stockholm announces that a preliminary investigation has been launched into suspected war crimes.

2016. Alex Schneiter and Ian Lundin, when the CEO and chairman of the company are called to questioning about the company’s role in suspected human rights violations in southern Sudan. Both are suspected of aiding and abetting a serious violation of international law.

2018. The government approves the Prosecutor’s Office’s application to bring charges against Ian Lundin and Alex Schneiter for gross violations of international law in Sudan.

Ian Lundin requests that the Supreme Administrative Court remove the decision because he believes that the Minister of Justice Morgan Johansson (S) is a jerk, as he claims that Johansson has already taken a position on the debt issue in SVT and Sydsvenskan in 2007.

2019. The Supreme Administrative Court rejects Lundin’s application.

2021. Prosecutors bring charges against Ian Lundin and Alex Schneiter for aiding and abetting gross violations of international law in Sudan in the years 1999–2003. Lundin and Schneiter were the most responsible for the company in those years.

Both deny wrongdoing. Lundin’s lawyer Torgny Wetterberg describes the prosecution decision as “shockingly wrong” and claims that during its time in Sudan the company instead helped the civilian population “to a very high extent”.

Schneiter and his defense request that the prosecution be dismissed by the Stockholm district court. They claim that the Swedish court lacks legal authority to try the charges against him, because Schneiter is neither a Swedish citizen nor a resident of Sweden. The district court’s answer is no. The defense appeals to the Svea Court of Appeal, which also refuses.

2022. Schneiter appeals to the Supreme Court, which announces in November that a Swedish court has the right to hear the prosecution.

September 2023. The main hearing begins in the Stockholm district court.