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Ukraine: Group Contest Court Dismissal of Allegations of War Crimes Against TOTALENERGIES EP RUSSIE

By Ruth Tene Natsa, Nigeria

William BOURDON, Vincent BRENGARTH, and Henri THULLIEZ, For Cabinet Bourdon & Associés; acting as Counsel to the DARWIN CLIMAX COALITION association and the Ukrainian organization RAZOM WE STAND have said they are set to contest the dismissal of a complaint made against the oil moguls.

Recall that on October 13, 2022, the practitioners filed a complaint with the Anti-Terrorism Unit of the Paris Public Prosecutor’s Office (under the International Crimes Unit) regarding acts of complicity in war crimes likely to have been committed by the company.

They however stated that on January 10, 2023, they were informed that the complaint had been dismissed.

“According to the reasons for this classification, at the end of the examination of this procedure by the public prosecutor’s office, the facts of complicity in the war crime denounced against the company TOTAL ENERGIE would appear insufficiently characterized, on the material level as on the intentional.

“However, it resulted from a number of revelations by the newspaper Le Monde and NGOs that the Total company had not only maintained its economic activity on the territory of a state openly at war but even more so, made profits from the sale of gas condensate, the transformation of which into kerosene was able to refuel the Russian air force” they alleged

According to the Petitioners, “These revelations demanded that investigations be carried out, in a context where the presence of foreign multinationals in Russia also has the effect of maintaining an entrenched war.”

The Petitioners stated that they therefore strongly contest the assessment made by the prosecution as they consider that the decision is inspired by exclusively political considerations.

“Indeed, no one can doubt the political will, particularly in the current economic and political context, to spare TOTAL”

Founder and Director of RAZOM WE STAND, Svitlana Romanko, stated that”Ukrainian people continue to suffer from daily vicious Russian war crimes, recently in Dnipro, that are funded by sales of Russian fossil fuels, often with the collaboration of European fossil fuel companies. Total’s collaboration with Russia has been well documented and they must be held accountable. The task of holding war criminals and collaborators liable for legal violations must not be left to Ukrainian victims of war or civil society.

The French government and its justice system must be on the side of justice and human rights. They and their prosecutors must be responsible for holding French businesses accountable. Justice must investigate what TotalEnergies has done in Russia and, depending on the evidence collected, decide whether or not to prosecute. It’s not the time to push back”.

The undersigned intends to challenge this decision before the French Attorney General of the Court of Appeal, which they cannot believe will be confirmed.

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