Already targeted by an investigation into its alleged role in the genocide in Rwanda, the French bank BNP Paribas is the subject of a new judicial investigation for “Complicity in crimes against humanity” in Sudan, opened after a complaint from NGOs and Sudanese activists.
Almost a year after the filing of this complaint with the constitution of civil party, investigating judges of the Paris court were tasked, at the end of August, to investigate the accusations made by the International Federation of Human Rights. (FIDH), the League for Human Rights (LDH) and nine Sudanese who fled their country after suffering persecution. The complaint with the constitution of civil party almost automatically leads to the appointment of an investigating judge to conduct investigations.
This is the second judicial investigation from the crimes against humanity division of the Paris court targeting BNP Paribas: since 2017, three investigating judges have been investigating her role during the genocide in Rwanda, while several NGOs have accused her for having financed in 1994 a purchase of weapons for the benefit of the Hutu militia. “We have no information about this procedure and therefore we are not in a position to comment”, reacted the banking group.
“Excellent news for the victims”
“This is excellent news for the victims and a further step towards a criminal investigation into the responsibility of BNP, which served as the de facto central bank of the Sudanese authorities during the height of the genocide in Darfur, then under embargo”, for his part greeted FIDH.
🔴On 09/16/19, 9 Sudanese victims, with the support of FIDH and @ExpediteJustice, have filed a complaint against @BNP Paribas for alleged complicity in crimes against humanity, torture and genocide, and financial crimes.
➡️On 22/09/2020, a judicial investigation was opened. pic.twitter.com/swv74Gcaur
– FIDH (@fidh_fr) September 24, 2020
According to the plaintiffs, the first European bank was guilty of “Crimes against humanity, genocide and acts of torture” by not respecting the American embargo against the regime of Omar El Bashir (1989-2019).
Financier of Omar El Béchir
The facts alleged against the ousted president occurred between 2002 and 2008, in particular during the civil war which has left more than 300,000 dead and 2.5 million displaced since 2003, according to the UN, in the Sudanese province of Darfur. (Where is). In 2014, BNP Paribas pleaded guilty in the United States to violating US embargoes against Sudan, Cuba and Iran and acquitted itself of a record fine of $ 8.9 billion.
By this procedure, “BNP Paribas has thus acknowledged having provided the Sudanese government with access to billions of US dollars and the US financial system that it could not have had without its assistance”, observed the complaint, filed in September 2019.
Wanted by the ICC
After ruling the country with an iron fist for thirty years, Omar El Bashir was ousted in April 2019, after several months of popular revolt. 76 years old and detained in Khartoum, he was sentenced to two years in prison for ” corruption “ in December and has yet to stand trial for seizing power in a 1989 coup.
Omar El Bashir. Bashir is also wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for “Crimes against humanity” and “Genocide” in Darfur. In February, the transitional government in Sudan made a verbal pledge to promote his appearance before the ICC on an undetermined date.
Since the end of August, a peace agreement initialed by Khartoum and insurgent groups provides for the formation of a special tribunal dedicated to the crimes committed in Darfur, before which Omar El Bashir could also appear.