• Sweden's news in English

Bildt avoids Sudan war crimes probe

TT/Rebecca Martin · 21 Oct 2011, 17:10

Published: 21 Oct 2011 08:35 GMT+02:00
Updated: 21 Oct 2011 17:10 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Magnus Elving of the International Prosecution Chamber in Stockholm (Internationella åklagarkammaren i Stockholm) is investigating the claims that crimes against humanity were committed in the wake of the oil extraction activities in southern Sudan during the years that Swedish oil and mining company Lundin was active there.

Behind the investigation is a report from 2010, ECOS (European Coalition on Oil in Sudan), by an umbrella group of European organizations.

The report, called “Unpaid Debt", urges Sweden, Austria and Malaysia to probe whether Lundin Petroleum (then Lundin Oil), in consortium with Petronas and OMV, had broken international law between the years 1997 and 2003.

Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt was on the board of directors of Lundin Petroleum at the time.

The report claims that Lundin, together with the other companies active in the region, indirectly worsened the conflict in the area.

According to daily Dagens Nyheter (DN), Elving has started questioning some 40 people, in Sweden and abroad, but he wasn't prepared to tell the paper who these are.

“You will have to draw your own conclusions,” Elving told the DN reporter.

Bildt told the paper through his press secretary that he had no comments on whether or not he had received a summons from Elving.

However, later on Friday, Elving confirmed for the TT news agency that Bildt's name was not among the 40 on the initial list of people to be questioned.

Elvin refused to comment, however, on the likelihood that Bildt could be questioned at a later stage of the investigation.

Meanwhile, criticism continues to mount regarding Bildt’s connections to Lundin with respect to its activities in Ethiopia and whether this has affected how he and the foreign ministry has been handling the case with the two Swedish journalists Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson, currently in Ethiopian prison.

It has been suggested that the two were in the region looking into the company's activities in the area when they were arrested by Ethiopian authorities in the beginning of July.

At the beginning of the month Bildt repudiated the claims that his connections to Lundin would have had any impact on the case, in an interview with TV4 News.

“Why would it? There is no conceivable reason for that. I don’t believe that Lundin Petroleum is in that area but even if they were, it would be totally irrelevant,” Bildt said.

On Sunday, however, DN accused Bildt of not telling the whole truth about Lundin Petroleum’s activities in Ethiopia.

Bildt on the other hand admitted that the company had conducted talks about the region, but said these had been limited to “a study or similar” and not had anything to do with prospecting or mining in the country.

Story continues below…

However, even within Bildt's own Moderate Party many are calling for an explanation by the foreign minister.

When daily Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) made some calls to the local party offices many said they wanted him to render a full explanation of his connection to Lundin Petroleum and what he has so far done to help the two jailed Swedes, at the party conference, currently underway in Örebro in central Sweden.

Prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, however, can’t see how the two issues are connected.

“I am finding it difficult to understand what the one has to do with the other. Carl Bildt has throughout his career showed he is a staunch advocate for human rights, “Reinfeldt said to DN.

TT/Rebecca Martin (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

11:11 October 21, 2011 by Great Scott
I can't wait to see this whole story unravel. At the moment the story is running as expected, denials all-round. But does this corporate fat cat have enough people around him to cover his a$$, we already see the incompetent clown Reinfeldt sticking his nose out, but how long for.
13:34 October 21, 2011 by Cornelius Hamelberg
RE - Ethiopia

What's going on here? I'm subject to correction, but it seems to me that this hue and cry is gathering momentum as a political witch-hunt, understandably with people like Urban Ahlin as one of the chief cheerleaders.

For crying out loud, how many times does our foreign minister have to get it through through some thick skulls that

(1) He had resigned as a board member of Lundin Oil oil before Lundin Oil started any oil explorations in Ethiopia and that this happened before he was appointed Foreign Minister in October 2006 .

(2) Heaven forbid and far be it from Carl Bildt to be complicit in genocide or any other Human Rights transgressions in Ethiopia or anywhere else, merely because he was briefly on the board or directors of Lundin Oil, from which he resigned in 2006......

He is the Honourable Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs and not about to compromise his integrity and good name acquired over these long years and we are to take his word for it ...

Since these are independently verifiable statements, what's the problem?

14:23 October 21, 2011 by Great Scott
@Cornelius Hamelberg

"what's the problem?" He's a corporate crook, we all know that there is no smoke without fire.

When are people going to get it into their thick skulls that they must read what the article is about and that is the main investigation, i.e. "questions about oil company Lundin Petroleum's activities in the SUDAN."

This includes

"The report, called "Unpaid Debt", urges Sweden, Austria and Malaysia to probe whether Lundin Petroleum (then Lundin Oil), in consortium with Petronas and OMV, had broken international law between the years 1997 and 2003. Swedish foreign minister CARL BILDT WAS ON THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF LUNDIN PETROLEUM AT THE TIME."
14:57 October 21, 2011 by Cornelius Hamelberg
"corporate crook" ?? - Is that why NATO was protecting civilian lives in Libya?

Great Scott !

You simply can't tar-and-feather Mr. Bildt, just like that. Where is your evidence?

You know that he could sue your ass for Libel, Slander, & Defamation of Character?

Re - with reference to Ethiopia, there are those who are still demanding that he reveal Lundin's Petroleum's activities in Ethiopia - although he severed connections with Lundin before he took up his appointment as our Honourable Foreign Minister.

At the very worst he has some friend / relative in Lundin and you think that because of that Mr. Bildt is not doing "more" to help our countrymen who ignored the FM's advice to Swedish Citizens about not travelling to the Ogaden Province, in the first place - and these two gentlemen are now accused of having joined the guerilla whose help they enlisted?

Question is, what more should Mr. Bildt / the Swedish Government do for Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson? You could focus on that .

About the Sudan investigations, we will have to wait and see what the findings are.
16:29 October 21, 2011 by Great Scott
@Cornelius Hamelberg

OMG LOL are you having a joke with me or just plain naive.

"You simply can't tar-and-feather Mr. Bildt, just like that. Where is your evidence?" Where is your evidence that he is clean?

As for Ethiopia, the reason people want to know his goings on, is Bildt cannot be trusted.

"Question is, what more should Mr. Bildt / the Swedish Government do for Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson? You could focus on that." I am focusing on that, and I see no interest from Bildt, you should feel extremely worried about that.

And lastly "he could sue your ass for Libel, Slander, & Defamation of Character? Bring it on, with the 4 or 5 million that also thinks he's a corporate crook.
00:23 October 22, 2011 by moali
Carl Bildt ignores totally what happening in Ogaden, The Ethiopian regime led by the East Afican #1 dictator Meles Zenawi unleashes widespread and vindictive ethnic cleansing campaign in the Ogaden.

The Ethiopian Army, fulfilling Meles Zenawi Callous call to punish the Ogaden people, has unleashed widespread ethnic cleansing campaign in the Ogaden.

This practice has intensified since the dictator, Meles Zenawi, vowed to punish the Ogaden people for supporting the ONLF who are struggling for the rights of the Ogaden people to a genuine self-determination as accorded to the south Sudanese people.

The Ogaden has since been largely off limits to foreigners. The International Committee of the Red Cross was expelled from the region by the Ethiopian regime in 2008 after being accused of providing aid to the freedom fighters ONLF.

This ethnic cleansing campaign in Ogaden is all about the natural resources, Carl Bildt has a dirty business with Meles Zenawi through Lundin that´s why he doesn´t care the Swedish journalists, actually he prefers them not to come back to Sweden becuase they will tell the truth !

It´s not the first time that the Ethiopian regime arrested foreign journalists, in 2007 Jeffrey Gentleman from New York Times and two others went into Ogaden to discover the Genocide and make documentary about ONLF.

The regime caught them with their cameras but fortunately he sent already all the video. The US government ordered Meles Zenawi to release the Americans as soon as possible without any delay ! It didn´t even take one week ! That´s what I call a real government becuase it stands beside its citizens.
16:59 October 22, 2011 by Cornelius Hamelberg


You talk about "widespread and vindictive ethnic cleansing campaign in the Ogaden."? In the same breath you might even be talking about the Swedish Sami People?

1.Thou shalt not exaggerate! "

2.Thou shalt not be heartless - or ascribe heartlessness to Sweden's Foreign Minister towards Swedish Citizens in distress.

3.There is no Lundin Oil Company in Ethiopia ….get it: Carl Bildt resigned from being on the board of Directors prior to being appointed Foreign Minister on 6th October, 2006

And looka here: There is the UN you know. It's not only the mighty Sweden that is going to solve all the problems in Eritrea and Ethiopia.

The Swedish Govt advised against travelling to Ogaden. Messrs Schibbye & Persson ignored the warning. Who is to blame? If you think that Carl Bildt is to blame for not waving his magic wand and freeing them and all the Ethnic Somali's of Ogaden, then you should be recommending mass Swedish illegal immigration to the province. The Swedes can enter Ethiopia through Somalia and then enlist the aid of the Terrorist Guerilla who you say are "struggling for the rights of the Ogaden people" - and perhaps even - in sympathy to the cause - join the guerilla.

What do you think about that? And then what should Carl Bildt DO?
13:38 October 25, 2011 by shahislam
Events of both the tomorrow and yesterday are now only in thoughts. Nothing else but positive dreams and thoughts can change tomorrow's world to be better. And we need to use our humanly virtue of forgiveness-which lies idle in the conscience of each life born as a human-being.

I was born in Bangladesh and now here I may only hope and pray that our support will help Obama's futuristic deep visions get reborn for one or two more decades only (e.g. Current Vice president takes the leader-ship in 2017) and the bordering countries, such as: India-Bangladesh; Iran-Iraq; Canada-USA and gradually other pieces of lands (separations were initiated and are now in the minds of public emotion manipulator: leader-ships only) become one piece of land; a modern and better form of new world under virtual one unbiased UN-power financed by the public from all corners of the world with minimum living standard for each hard working human being.

Attached below an excerpt from my postings in International News Papers re: Declaring Amnesty and how it could have positive impact on peaceful natural or cosmic transitions of brutal powers and generate push and solutions from our wise human end.

Obama just needs a little more time and support!

Attachment:...................We became late in announcing amnesty for this bad guy, to facilitate peaceful surrendering of too many bad heads in the Eastern powers and now have no voice on catching the brutal killers of terrorist leaders.

Every human on earth knows that God is great! It is the terroristic tone that is disturbing when some belief-blinds scream out Allahu akber, alaluiah etc..

It's not the old world anymore where terrorists would become national heroes. The killed bodies of terrorists doesn't have to be buried on a secret place.

Would you please try to include arts of humanitarian works and initiatives too in education and academy awards etc; without which science is meaningless in our human existence?

There is not much to further discover above 350 km above this planet without global public participation!

Religious tones are dangerous for humanity and must remain confined inside home in practice but not in a country's political level.

--Expressed with friendly feelings and without prejudice!
Today's headlines
Sweden to keep record-low interest rate in 2017
Sweden's landmark negative interest rate will continue towards 2018. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

The Swedish central bank said that it will take longer than expected to reach its inflation target.

Presented by Stockholm University
9 unexpected study programmes at Stockholm University
Photo: Niklas Björling

Did you know Stockholm University offers 75 master's programmes taught in English? And some of them are programmes you won't find anywhere else...

Creepy clown messes with the wrong dog walker in Sweden
Not the clown in the story. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A dog helped its owner fight off a creepy clown chasing the pair in southern Sweden.

A million Swedes are digitally excluded: report
How should Sweden bridge the digital divide? Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Tech-savvy Swedes? Perhaps not. A new study suggests that at least a million of its residents feel the pain of the digital divide.

Malmö's 19th Swedish title sets Champions hopes alight
Malmö fans celebrating after the match. Photo: Björn Lindgren/TT

Malmö FF have their eyes set on the Champions League after winning the Swedish league for the 19th time.

What's on in Sweden
Five great autumn events in Sweden this week
Jazz in northern Sweden. Photo: Umeå Jazz Festival

Food, music, movies and more food. What better way of helping yourself forget that the days are getting shorter and colder?

Here's how slow Sweden's high-speed trains are getting
A Swedish SJX2000 high speed train. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

The high-speed rail journey between the three biggest Swedish cities is about to get longer.

The Local List
12 Swedish words with just awesome literal translations
A filthy-minded lobster, i.e. a snuskhummer. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB scanpix/TT

One of our favourite things about the Swedish language is its wonderful compound words, which range from being utterly bizarre to making perfect sense.

US election
Donald Trump won't get new Ericsson head's vote
Trump pictured at a campaign rally in Florida. Photo: Evan Vucci/AP

The new Swedish-American boss of telecoms giant Ericsson has revealed he will not vote for the Republican nominee in the forthcoming US presidential election.

Swedes named fourth most gender equal in the world
A file photo of men and women pushing prams in Stockholm. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Sweden has closed 81 percent of its overall gender gap according to the World Economic Forum.

Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
People-watching: October 26th
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast
Is Game of Thrones coming to Sweden?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available