TotalEnergies target of complicity in war crimes in Ukraine
The complaint was filed Thursday with the national anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office responsible for war crimes by the Bordeaux-based Darwin Climax Coalition, which says it works to protect the human rights and defend populations affected by industrial looting, according to the Ukrainian association Razom we stand, who calls for an embargo on imports of fossil fuels from Russia.
When asked by AFP, the French energy giant denounced the “outrageous,” “defamatory,” and “unfounded” allegations.
Total denies supplying kerosene to Russian army…
The lawsuit, of which AFP is aware, recalls that until September TotalEnergies owned 49% of the Terneftegaz joint venture, which operates the Termokarstovoye field in Russia’s far north. The remaining 51% is held by the Russian group Novatek, number two in the Russian gas business, in which TotalEnergies also holds a 19.4% stake.
According to an article by moons Released on August 11, based on multiple documents and an investigation by the NGO Global Witness, the Termokarstovoye gas field supplied gas condensate to a refinery near Omsk in Siberia, which processed it into fuel that was then shipped to supply Russian aircraft in the conflict of Ukraine until at least last July.
After the publication of the article by moons, the French energy giant already criticized for its maintenance in Russia, had assured that it “does not produce kerosene for the Russian army”. Two days later he said he had agreed on July 18 to sell his 49% stake in Terneftegaz to Novatek. This sale was completed in September.
… and engage in “war crimes”.
According to the plaintiffs, TotalEnergies “through the continued exploitation of the Termokarstovoye deposit” following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24, “helped provide the Russian government with the necessary means to commit war crimes” in that country to supply where The Russian army has launched airstrikes against civilians in particular.
“The fuel, essential for military air operations, was therefore used indirectly by Russia to carry out the bombing campaigns against the civilian population, which killed at least 5,587 people and injured 7,890,” the plaintiffs estimate.
The latter also believe that TotalEnergies could not ignore the strong ties of influence between Novatek and the Russian regime: the oligarch Gennady Timchenko, a close friend of Vladimir Putin, had to leave the company’s board in March because he was the target of European sanctions. Novatek CEO Leonid Mikhelson targeted by UK sanctions
“Being complicit in war crimes means providing direct aid to a state”
“TotalEnergies categorically rejects all unsubstantiated claims by Global Witness published by the newspaper The world last August,” the group recalled on Friday, saying that the unstable condensates produced by Terneftegaz had been “exported abroad” and therefore could not be used by the Russian army as fuel for their planes.
“Being an accomplice in war crimes means providing direct assistance to a state or criminal organization that committed the crimes,” TotalEnergies also estimated. “These allegations are an insult to the integrity of our teams.”
For its part, the complaint underlines “the legal evolution of the concept of complicity, which amounts to the fact that the main private (and public) actors can be prosecuted (…), even if the proof is not provided that they share the concept of complicity lead author “, in this case the Russian army.
“The judiciary must no longer remain blind to the indirect but essential contribution that multinationals are making to the war effort, or to the significant profits that multinationals continue to make after the invasion of Ukraine,” commented the associations’ lawyer, Mes William Bourdon, opposite AFP, Vincent Brengarth and Henri Thulliez.
“France cannot both condemn the invasion and remain inactive in the face of the behavior that supports it,” they added.
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