Pillage: Swiss businessman under criminal investigation for war crimes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland has confirmed having opened a formal criminal investigation into Chris Huber, a Swiss businessman active in the mining sector. Huber is suspected of having committed pillage in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a war crime under Swiss law. The Office of the Attorney General is investigating the alleged illegal trade of minerals during the Second Congo War (1998-2003).

“Our investigations unveiled corporate documents, as well as internal paperwork belonging to the RCD-Goma (Congolese Rally for Democracy), which demonstrate Chris Huber’s business dealings with the armed group”, said Bénédict De Moerloose, Head of Programmes, International Investigations and Litigation at TRIAL International, an SRT grantee. “At a time when the public increasingly demands of corporate actors that they respect and protect human rights, the opening of an investigation into a Western businessman conducting illegal trade in a conflict zone sends a strong signal to the whole mining sector”.

Holding a trial would constitute a historical precedent, as since the aftermath of the Second World War, it seems that no corporate actor has ever been found guilty of pillage.

For more information, see TRIAL International and the Open Society Justice Initiative’s press release.

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