BNP Paribas and senior staff members
Ongoing proceedings regarding the alleged complicity of BNP Paribas (BNPP) in crimes committed by the Sudanese government between 2002 and 2008
Type of jurisdiction
Universal jurisdiction and active personality
BNPP as a company and senior staff members of the company as individuals
Country of residence of suspects
As the case is at the investigation stage, the suspects have not yet been formally charged. The investigation focuses on complicity in crimes against humanity, torture, genocide as well as financial crimes, including money laundering and handling the proceeds of crime.
From 2002 to 2008, BNPP was the primary foreign bank of the Sudanese government. During this time, Sudanese government forces and its militia called the Janjaweed were engaged in an armed conflict with rebel groups. They systematically targeted civilians belonging to the non- Arab ethnic groups as the rebels (particularly the Masalit, Fur and Zaghawa), in Darfur and other areas. Government forces and allied militia killed, tortured, detained, forcibly displaced, raped and assaulted tens of thousands of civilians.
These crimes, said to amount to genocide and crimes against humanity, were allegedly facilitated by BNPP through its provision of credit facilities, access to foreign financial markets and petrol exports to the Sudanese government. This alleged responsibility is compounded by the fact that Sudan was subject to sanctions from the United Nations, the European Union and individual states, increasing the government’s reliance on the services provided by BNPP.
In June 2014, BNPP was prosecuted in the United States for violating US sanctions restricting financial transactions with Sudan. However, the bank never faced trial, as it accepted a plea agreement with the US Department of Justice, forfeiting nearly USD 9’000’000’000.
On 26 September 2019, nine Sudanese victims, supported by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and Project Expedite Justice, filed a criminal complaint against BNPP before the investigative judges of the Paris Tribunal. The complaint alleges that by providing banking services to the Sudanese government while Sudan was subject to international sanctions for committing crimes against its civilians, the bank and its senior staff became complicit in these crimes.
On 26 August 2020, a criminal investigation was opened into BNPP’s alleged role in mass atrocities in Sudan before the French National Anti-Terrorist Prosecution Office.
DEVELOPMENTS IN 2022
In March and December 2022, one witness and six Sudanese civil parties accompanied by FIDH were heard by the investigative judges.