Voici une nouvelle que nous venons de recevoir. Le Canada interfère dans le processus légal en cours aux États-Unis qui accusent la compagnie canadienne, Talisman, de complicité de génocide au Soudan.
Here is a media release we received regarding the Canadian government interference in the Talisman court case in the United States.
– For Immediate Release –
Canadian Groups Shocked at Canada’s Interference in Talisman Genocide Complicity Case
We, the undersigned, are shocked at the Canadian government’s recent decision to intervene yet again on behalf of Talisman Energy in a lawsuit in the state of New York, where the company is facing a civil suit for alleged complicity in genocide under the Alien Torts Claim Act (ATCA). These claims arise from the brutal killings and displacement of civilians living in the oilfield areas of Sudan by the ruling regime which provided “security” for Talisman’s operations there. It is the view of the plaintiffs that Talisman was complicit in these crimes. This same regime is now accused of similar genocidal violence in the Darfur region of Sudan.
Canada’s interference here casts doubt on our government’s professed commitment to corporate social responsibility. Our government appears to be using the cloak of “sovereignty” to furtively appease multinational oil companies.
As with an earlier attempt to intervene politically by the previous Martin cabinet, the Harper government’s “Brief of Amicus Curiae” demonstrates an indifference to those who were victimized during the time that Talisman Energy was active in Sudan (1998 -2003). Canada’s submission is a spurious appeal to the US court to recognize Canada’s sovereignty in matters of international trade and, therefore, not to allow the case to proceed against a Canadian company in a US court. This is a red herring! Talisman has extensive natural gas operations in New York State where the action was begun. Unlike Canada, (which has no comparable specific legislation under which corporations can be tried for extraterritorial crimes) US legislators have recognized their responsibility to hold companies and individuals operating with a substantial presence in their territory to be accountable for their actions abroad.
Canada has been championing the principle of “universal jurisdiction” under international law for exactly the kinds of egregious violations of international law being addressed in the New York lawsuit. For Canada now to bury its head in the sand of national “sovereignty” when its own corporate citizen is challenged on such a serious issue is the height of hypocrisy! David Kilgour, former minister of state for Africa, said, “In the indicated circumstances, neither the Martin nor Harper governments should be intervening on the side of Talisman.”
Canada’s appeal, if successful, would send the clear signal to tyrants anywhere that Canada will support a company’s extraterritorial quest for gain over the rights of victims, even if they involve egregious violations of international law. To do this on the basis of erroneous legal technicalities is unconscionable.
The atrocities in question were documented by scores of independent journalists, researchers and organizations, as well as the Canadian government’s own fact-finding commission led by John Harker. Before entering Sudan, Talisman executives were briefed by knowledgeable people (including at least one Canadian Cabinet Minister) that oil revenues would assist Sudan’s military junta in committing genocide, ethnic cleansing, slavery, mass rape and sponsoring terrorism. The carnage and suffering in Darfur today is terrible confirmation of the accuracy of that prediction. Yet despite being warned, Talisman chose to rush ahead into a business partnership in effect with the regime. Canada’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lloyd Axworthy, called Talisman Energy’s behavior in Sudan “deplorable”.
We call upon the Canadian government to promptly “do the right thing”. This means:
· Withdraw the “Brief of Amicus Curaie” and allow the New York Court to do its legitimate work without political interference; and
· Enact specific legislation to ensure that, in future, Canadian courts will also be able to hold corporations with a presence in Canada accountable for their crimes abroad.
For further information, please contact the undersigned agencies:
Dr. Norman Epstein, Co-chair, Canadians Against Slavery and Torture in Sudan (CASTS) 416-347-7652; Natalina Yoll, Federation of Sudanese Canadian Associations, (FESCA), 403-228-3290, Justin Laku, Canadian Friends of Sudan, 613-261-0042, Mel Middleton, Director, Freedom Quest International, 403-443-6023.