Paris court indicts Lafarge for ‘complicity in crimes against humanity’ in Syria

Charges upheld against cement maker for wrongdoings since 2014 after previous ruling overturned.

Paris court indicts Lafarge for ‘complicity in crimes against humanity’ in Syria

A Paris court on Wednesday indicted the French company Lafarge for their “complicity in crimes against humanity” in Syria, local media reported. 

According to French news outlet France24, the Court of Cassation – France’s highest court – had overturned in September 2021 a decision by a lower court to dismiss charges against the cement maker for wrongdoings in Syria’s civil war.

Lafarge is a French industrial company that specializes in cement, concrete, and construction aggregates. They were accused of paying almost €13 million ($13.68 million) to foreign groups there, including the terrorist group ISIS/Daesh, to maintain their factory presence in the city of Jalabiya in northern Syria during the civil war.

CEO Bruno Laffont along with eight Lafarge executives are also charged in the case. The formal complaints are financing a terrorist group and endangering the lives of others.

In 2019, the Paris Court of Appeals had dismissed the charges over crimes against humanity, accepting the defense that payments made by Lafarge were not used in aiding or abetting the war effort. The other charges stood though, including that of violating an EU embargo.

Lafarge denies any wrongdoing in the allegations that they negotiated with terrorist groups and has continued to fight all charges.

Documents obtained and published by Anadolu Agency earlier had revealed that the Lafarge constantly informed the French intelligence agencies about its ties with the Daesh/ISIS terror group.

The documents unveiled that Lafarge ran a relationship with the group and the French intelligence was aware of it. They showed that the French intelligence agencies used Lafarge’s network of relations, its cooperation with the terror groups in Syria and meetings to maintain its operations there to get news from the region. They also revealed that the French intelligence did not warn the company that they were committing a crime.