Paris appeals court upholds charges of "complicity in crimes against humanity" against Lafarge in Syria

Lafarge has been dealt a blow as a Paris appeals court upheld charges of “complicity in crimes against humanity” in Syria.
Quarry Products / May 20, 2022
By Guy Woodford
A Paris appeals court has upheld charges against Lafarge of “complicity in crimes against humanity” in Syria

A legal adviser for the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), a party to the case, told Reuters news agency the Paris court of Appeals confirmed a ruling on Wednesday 18 May by France’s highest court, which last year said Lafarge could be probed for charges linked to crimes against humanity for keeping a factory running in Syria after conflict erupted in 2011.

The decision, the latest procedural step in a longstanding investigation, is not a final verdict on the crimes.

The investigation into French company Lafarge, now part of Swiss giant Holcim, is one of the biggest and most complex corporate criminal proceedings in modern French legal history. 

Lafarge ECOPact trucks
Lafarge ECOPact trucks

Last year, Lafarge lost a bid to dismiss the charge of complicity in crimes against humanity in Syria’s conflict when France’s highest court said the matter should be re-examined, overturning an earlier ruling.

Following its internal investigation, the company has previously admitted that its Syrian subsidiary paid armed groups to help protect staff at the plant. However, it has rejected several charges against it as part of the French legal probe, including that it was complicit in crimes against humanity because of its dealings with militant groups in the area, including Islamic State.

Should Lafarge be indicted on the charges, it would set a historic precedent as no French firm has yet been tried in connection with crimes against humanity.

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