A Stockholm court began a trial on Tuesday against two former directors of the Swedish oil company Lundin for collaborating in crimes against humanity in Sudan, in what is set to become the longest process in the history of this Scandinavian country.
In 1997, Lundin signed a contract with the Sudanese Government to carry out oil exploration in the so-called block 5A, located in an area affected by the then civil war and currently part of South Sudan, an independent country since 2011.
The Swedish Prosecutor’s Office accuses the former chairman of the firm’s board of directors, Ian Lundin, and its former executive director, Alex Schneiter, of signing agreements with the Sudanese authorities to create the conditions that would allow the company to carry out its activity in an area then under rebel control.
Lundin’s demands involved the Army carrying out offensives in the area and knowing that the operations included “systematic or indiscriminate attacks against civilians,” according to the indictment.
According to reports from various NGOs, the action of the Sudanese military in the area caused the death of tens of thousands of people and forced more than 100,000 to flee.
Both Lundin and Schneiter, the latter a Swiss national, have pleaded not guilty to the charges, which focus on the period from 1999 to 2003, when the Swedish firm divested of its business in that African country.
The process culminates an investigation that began in 2010 and was completed eleven years later with the presentation of a formal accusation against the former directors.
More than 60 witnesses are called to testify in a trial that is expected to end in February 2026, making it the longest in Swedish history.
Among those due to take the podium is Swedish former prime minister and foreign minister Carl Bildt, who was on Lundin’s board of directors at the time.