#AceNewsReport – Sept.10: The ruling by the Court of Cassation marks a major setback for Lafarge, which is accused of paying nearly 13 millions euros ($15.3 million) to jihadist groups including the Islamic State (IS) to keep its cement factory in northern Syria running through the early years of the country’s war.
#AceDailyNews report on cement corporation Lafarge paid $15,300,000 to jihad groups to keep Syria factory running and loses ruling in Syria ‘crimes against humanity’ case,” by Eleonore Dermy and Clare Byrne, AFP, September 7, 2021:
Lafarge’s lawyer refused AFP’s request for comment.
Lafarge, which merged in 2015 with Swiss group Holcim, has acknowledged that its Syrian subsidiary paid middlemen to negotiate with armed groups to allow the movement of staff and goods inside the war zone.
But it denies any responsibility for the money winding up in the hands of terrorist groups and has fought to have the case dropped.
The Paris Court of Appeal had in 2019 dismissed the crimes against humanity charge, saying it accepted that the payments were not aimed at abetting IS’s gruesome agenda of executions and torture.
It however ruled that the company be prosecuted on three other charges — financing terrorism, violating an EU embargo and endangering the lives of others.
Eleven former employees of Lafarge Cement Syria (LCS) challenged the decision at the Court of Cassation, with the backing of NGOs.
Quashing the lower court’s finding on complicity, France’s highest court of appeal ruled Tuesday that “one can be complicit in crimes against humanity even if one doesn’t have the intention of being associated with the crimes committed.”
“Knowingly paying several million dollars to an organisation whose sole purpose was exclusively criminal suffices to constitute complicity, regardless of whether the party concerned was acting to pursue a commercial activity,” it added.
The judges added that “numerous acts of complicity” would go unpunished if courts adopted a more lenient interpretation….
#AceNewsDesk report ……Published: Sept.10: 2021:
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