Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sudan: Did Swedish oil company with connections to Sweden's foreign minister, have any role in war crimes?

A prosecutor in Sweden has opened an investigation into whether a Swedish oil company with connections to the country's foreign minister had any role in war crimes committed in Sudan.

The company - Lundin Oil - signed a deal with Sudanese officials to explore for oil in an area the Khartoum government did not fully control. A Sudan watchdog group (ECOS) said in a recent report that the deal fueled fighting between government troops and southern rebels.

Prosecutor Magnus Elving says the war crimes stemming from the fighting took place between 1997 and 2003.

Foreign Minister Carl Bildt (photo) was a member of Lundin's governing board at the time. He declined comment after the investigation was announced Monday.

Semi-autonomous southern Sudan is scheduled to vote in January on whether to become fully independent. The referendum is a key part of the 2005 peace deal that ended Sudan's north-south civil war.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.