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katbat77
08-17-2012, 02:54 PM
Hello, Iím working on a story revolving around a mining tycoon who has been mining in specific regions of Congo. Essentially, he has been paying off rebel groups who then protect the companyís land and assets. These groups do anything necessary to keep their arrangement, including murder ect. Another part of the issue is that the company falsely accounts for these payments.
Now my question is: what type of charges could be brought up against this person and/or company?

John342
08-17-2012, 03:02 PM
From what I hear you saying these "crimes" are occurring in the Congo, so I doubt if any other countries laws would apply. If this behavior became known there may be civil sanctions applicable.

katbat77
08-17-2012, 03:19 PM
Thank you for your response. I should have made it clear that the activities become known. I would think that it would be a human rights issue, or something along those lines, but I know nothing of law.

waylander
08-17-2012, 03:27 PM
Where is the company headquartered for tax purposes? Where is the stock listed? It is certainly possible that charges could be brought by the state where it is headquartered

jclarkdawe
08-17-2012, 04:16 PM
Hello, Iím working on a story revolving around a mining tycoon who has been mining in specific regions of Congo. Essentially, he has been paying off rebel groups who then protect the companyís land and assets. Not an unusual fact for many companies. You hire local security forces normally, whether you're looking for security in LA, or the Congo. These groups do anything necessary to keep their arrangement, including murder ect. Is the company telling their security people to murder people? Anything less and there's no problem. And even if the company is specifically telling their security people to murder someone, is this a violation of Congo's laws? Another part of the issue is that the company falsely accounts for these payments. Why would they do this? Protection money and bribes are legitimate business expenses, recognized by taxing authorities such as the Internal Revenue Service. Every international business that I'm aware of has ways for accounting for these expenses that is perfectly legal.
Now my question is: what type of charges could be brought up against this person and/or company? Unless the company is very specifically ordering employees to murder people, nothing.


Thank you for your response. I should have made it clear that the activities become known. I would think that it would be a human rights issue, or something along those lines, but I know nothing of law. Maybe if the company was actively involved in genocide. Otherwise, a murder of a resident of Congo, in the Congo, is solely subject to Congo's law. Although the US, for example, argues that it has jurisdiction over a murder that occurs in a foreign country when the victim is a US citizen (not a view that is especially accepted in international law), even countries that extend a wide jurisdiction based upon the victim's citizenship, I'm not aware of any country that extends jurisdiction based upon the killer's citizenship.

What does your plot need? But I think you're going to have a difficult time making this work.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Snick
08-17-2012, 04:37 PM
JCD is right. There should be no problem with them deducting the protection money for tax purposes in the U.S.A. or in most other countries. The legal problem would be with the Congolese government. The crimes are being committed in the Congo, and the victims probably are Congolese.

One item that you didn't mention is the time of the action.. The Congo has had rebellions almost constantly since it gained independence, and different periods were treated differently. The Katanga rebellion was eventually handled peacefully, and most of the participants were given amnesty. The later rebellions were handled in various ways. The present situation, well you knows? I doubt that there will be any international action in the present situation, unless the people from Rwanda create even more trouble.

Exactly who would have legal trouble and where would depend of a lot of things. I think that the people with the biggest trouble will be the rebels that are hired as security.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congo_Crisis

katbat77
08-18-2012, 06:18 AM
The idea I had was modeled after Doe v. Chiquita Brands International, where a subsidiary of Chiquita Brands paid off members of Colombian paramilitary groups. I understand the difference in circumstance, but I would have thought that if during the second Congo wars such actions would be punishable. However, if I changed the situation to the rebel groups being apart of a massacre, such as those that happen in certain parts of Congo, couldn't the company be held responsible, in part, to these actions?

jclarkdawe
08-18-2012, 08:48 AM
Interesting case. This is a class action suit based upon the fact that Chiquita plead guilty in a separate case brought by the US government to paying money to a terrorist organization. In other words, Chiquita was in trouble for making payments to a terrorist organization, not the murders. The class action suit is limping along slowly, and it should be interesting how it resolves.

You could try this approach for your novel. To me this is a simple exercise in legal logic, but I don't know how easily it will go down with readers who aren't attorneys. The important thing to remember for the criminal liability is that cash matters to terrorists, not who they shoot. Civil liability is being based off of that conviction, but whether they can get from here to there is going to be interesting.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Snick
08-18-2012, 06:20 PM
If you're writing fiction and don't actually name a country, then go with it. You could do similar things with Angola and Southern Rhodesia/Zimbabwe and maybe a few other countries.