French cement giant Lafarge has lost their final appeal and will undergo a high-profile trial in a precedent-setting case which could force Western corporations to stop turning a blind eye to terrorism.
Lafarge will be tried for complicity in crimes against humanity in Syria. They are accused of working with Daesh terrorist group for years in Northern Syria, with the concrete produced in their factory used in battlefield infrastructure which terrorists needed to keep the unrest going.
They will be tried for financing terrorism – for allegedly paying 13 million euros to terrorist groups from 2010 to 2014, supposedly to keep their factory safe. They will also be charged for endangering the lives of others, for putting its 11 Syrian employees at risk. The original suit was brought by French NGO Sherpa on behalf of the workers.
After the scandal broke Lafarge was merged with Swiss giant Holcim, but eight Lafarge executives will now face justice. Leaked testimony from Lafarge executives reveals that the French Foreign Ministry knew the entire time, telling Lafarge to “hold on” and that “everything would work out”.
The case will likely drag on for years, but long-time political heavyweight and former foreign minister Laurent Fabius may be called to testify. In 2012 he infamously praised al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, for “doing a good job on the ground”, and likely with Lafarge’s concrete.