Multinational company on trial in Katanga

22 January 2007 by Emilia Richard

The Kilwa massacre trial, which opened December 12 before the Lubumbashi military high court, resumed on January 18. The Kilwa massacres were committed in Katanga by the Congolese armed forces (FARDC) in October 2004. Congolese military authorities are charging Colonel Ademar Ilunga with war crimes, along with eight FARDC members, and for the first time, three foreign nationals employed by the Canadian mining company Anvil Mining - Pierre Mercier, Peter Van Niekerk and Cedric Kirsten - are charged with complicity.

At the time of the events, Canadian national Pierre Mercier was the assistant manager of Anvil Congo and his two South African co-defendants were in charge of security at the company's cooper and silver mine. Anvil Mining is a multinational company listed on the Australian and Canadian stock exchanges. Its three employees are accused of helping the soldiers commit crimes by providing them logistical support. During a hearing on December 18, 2006, the prosecution pointed out that "although Anvil agents are on trial before the court and not Anvil as a corporation, if the crimes against the defendants are proven, the company could be held liable for these crimes in civil proceedings."

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