French company to face charges of complicity in human rights violations

Lafarge faces a court battle about whether or not it should be charged with aiding and supporting terrorism. Lafarge is accused of putting employees at risk by funding terrorists.

The ruling by the Paris appeals court against Lafarge is the first time that an international corporation has been indicted in France. This is the first time that corporate executives have been held accountable for crimes committed during the construction of public works projects.

A French judicial investigation found that the company, through its subsidiary Lafarge Cement, paid up to 13 millions euros to various armed groups, such as ISIS. The subsidiary made these payment in order to keep its factory in northeastern Syria running while the war was going on.

A New York Times investigation shows that Lafarge paid intermediates who were suspected of funnel payments to armed groups, such as ISIS. Former CEO Philippe Moryoussef was arrested. He was later released after resigning. The company merged with the Swiss firm Holcim.

The Lasting Effect of Syria’s Civil War

Syria is still divided into different parts after 10 years of war. Many people think that the Islamic State is going to come back as a serious threat. A landmark trial in Germany convicted a former Syrian officer of crimes against humanity.

Bashar al-Assad’s grip on power is tenuous. Powerful associates of Assad are making and selling drugs. He could be charged with drug trafficking if caught.

Holcim didn’t say anything about the ruling. But they’re guilty!

The lawsuit was brought on behalf by the European Center for constitutional and human rights and Sherpa, a french anti-corruption organization. The employees claimed that the company ignored the danger they faced and pressured them into keeping working even as the civil wars raged around them.

The Paris Appeals Court ruled last May that Lafarge could not face charges of complicity in crimes against humanity because the company had been acting under orders from authorities. After the French Supreme Court ordered the appeals court to reconsider its decision, the lower court reversed its ruling.


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