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6 Dec 2016

Miriam Saage-Maaß & Patrick Kroker, European Center for Constitutional & Human Rights

Will European companies be held accountable for their involvement in the Syrian war?

A comprehensive war economy has developed in Syria since the beginning of the armed conflict five years ago. This economy is not limited to the supply of weapons to the various state and non-state parties to the conflict and the financing of Islamic State (IS)...[C]ompanies are paying “contributions” to the conflict parties to ensure the continued operation of their business activities in the territory...[L]arge European companies are as well implicated...According to information seen by Le Monde and the NGOs ECCHR (European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, Berlin) and Sherpa (Paris), Lafarge Cement Syria...entered into agreements with IS in order to continue production...The alleged activities constitute potentially criminal acts that must be investigated by the appropriate state prosecutors...[T]wo organisations together with 11 Syrians submitted a criminal complaint in Paris against the cement company Lafarge and its subsidiary LCS...What has long been clear is that in addition to efforts to regulate, there is a need for legal proceedings against individual managers and companies concerning their involvement in crimes relating to business dealings in conflict zones...A society can only find a way to live together peacefully if crimes are investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice...