A French court announced it would rule in March on an appeal filed by France’s Lafarge to overturn an indictment against her seeking to put her on trial for “threatening the lives of others” as a result of her activities in Syria. until 2014.
The Cement Group also faces prosecution for complicity in crimes against humanity.
During a hearing before the Criminal Chamber of the Court of Cassation in Paris, France’s highest judicial body, Lafarge challenged, inter alia, the jurisdiction of the French courts in her trial of endangering the lives of others, a charge ratified in May in the indictment chamber of the Appeals court in Paris.
On the same day, the Chamber also confirmed the charge of complicity in crimes against humanity against Lafarge.
It should be noted that there are suspicions that the company, which has now become a subsidiary of the Holsim group, paid millions of euros through its Syrian subsidiary Lafarge Cement Syria during 2013 and 2014 to jihadist groups, including in particular the organization ” ISIS and intermediaries to keep its factory in Syria operating in the Galabiya region, at a time when the country is mired in war.
While Lafarge kept its Syrian employees at the plant until September 2014 and evacuated its foreign employees in 2012, exposing Syrian employees at the plant to “various risks” including extortion and “kidnapping.” “, which was confirmed by the decision-making adviser during the Hearing in the Court of Cassation.
In May, an indictment chamber, relying in part on the parent company’s “persistent interference with the activities of its subsidiaries,” upheld an indictment against the group that includes endangering the lives of others. Lafarge’s lawyer Patrice Spinosi confirmed the lack of jurisprudence on this issue, demanding that the Chamber of Criminal Cases ask the Social Chamber to express its opinion on the case or to refer the dispute to a mixed room for discussion with the parties on the applicability of French law in this case.
For her part, lawyer Catherine Boyer-Violas, representative of the civil parties in the case, which are the European Center for the Constitution and Human Rights and two individuals, rebutted the defense of lawyer Lafarge.
The lawyer explained that “the business relationship flowed directly from the structure laid down by Lafarge”, stressing that the company “itself determined the conditions of employment and work and the scope of the safety rules.”
As for the public prosecutor, he agreed that the legal issues raised were “unprecedented” and nevertheless asked the court to dismiss the complaint.