© Reuters. The BNP Paribas logo can be seen in a branch in Paris
PARIS (Reuters) – Paris prosecutors on Thursday opened an investigation into French bank BNP Paribas (OTC 🙂 for complicity in crimes against humanity in Sudan, a lawyer said and the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) said .
The investigation came after nine Sudanese plaintiffs alleging violations of the law by the former Sudanese government of ousted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir filed a legal complaint against BNP Paribas last year.
The plaintiffs allege that the French bank was involved in crimes against humanity for providing financial services to the Sudanese government.
They argue that in one case of US sanctions violations, the US Department of Justice named BNP Paribas the de facto central bank of Sudan from 1997 to 2007 because it gave the Sudanese government access to international money markets and the means to pay staff , Military and security have provided forces.
The conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan erupted in 2003 when Sudanese forces waged a campaign of violence that killed more than 300,000 people.
The International Criminal Court in The Hague has since labeled the campaign a war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
Bashir was charged with crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court in 2009 and 2010.
"This is what we have been waiting for. We filed this complaint against the bank a year ago for complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity," said Clemence Bectarte, lawyer for the plaintiffs.
FIDH said on Twitter that it helped plaintiffs file the complaint.
BNP Paribas said the bank had no information about the procedure and was unable to comment.
The Paris prosecutor did not respond to requests for comment.
In early 2017, French investigators launched a full investigation into allegations of complicity in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. In this case, NGOs accuse BNP Paribas of complicity in a $ 1.3 million transfer to an arms dealer.
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