On May 1, 2015, BNP Paribas S.A. (BNPP), was sentenced to pay $8.9736 billion for violations of U.S. sanctions, mostly with regard to Sudan. Of this $8.9736 billion penalty, the Department of Justice published notice that $3.8336 billion was available for compensation to people who were “directly and proximately harmed by BNPP’s sanctions violations."
BNPP’s settlement agreement with the Department of Justice noted BNPP’s illegal behavior in violation of U.S.-imposed sanctions on Sudan in the period 2002 through December 2008. In the one-year period, alone—July 2006 through June 2007—BNPP processed $6.4 billion in illegal transactions involving Sudan. In addition to illegal transactions, BNPP provided illegal letters of credit for the Government of Sudan and held most of the Government of Sudan’s foreign currency assets. As a result, BNPP provided substantial financial support for Government of Sudan’s war against its people.
BNPP also helped Sudan finance its oil industry, which provided Sudan’s primary export and source of government revenue. In addition, the letters of credit and foreign exchange substantially and inevitably helped as the Government of Sudan ramped up its military expenditures during this period. Sudan’s large military purchases during this period included such deadly equipment as MiG-29’s and Mi-24 helicopter gunships, which the Government of Sudan used in its various wars against its own people in the period 2002 through 2008, as well as subsequently. These weapons have historically had long use in Sudan’s military, and the Government of Sudan continues to employ these weapons in its attacks against its people.
A new proposal presented to the U.S. Justice Department asks that this money be placed into a trust for the Sudanese communities who were harmed as a result of BNPP’s illegal behavior in the form of a “Sudan Community Compensation Program.” This program includes communities that were harmed, not only in Sudan, but also in present-day South Sudan, which until its independence in 2011 was part of Sudan.
The primary focus of a “Sudan Community Compensation Program” should address the most critical emergency humanitarian aid shortfalls for all existing Sudanese refugees and IDPs, totaling well over 4 million people. The secondary use of the Sudan Community Compensation Program should be for reconstruction and redevelopment projects for the affected Sudanese communities. That part of the program, however, must be deferred to some future date when the current oppressive Government of Sudan has been removed from power.
Operation Broken Silence fully supports this effort as we have directly witnessed the impact of Sudanese government war crimes during our time in Sudan. Many of the weapons systems purchased by the government of Sudan during the time period BNPP committed severe sanctions violations are still in use today and being used against civilian populations. The millions of Sudanese who have suffered and continue to suffer due to the government of Sudan's and BNPP's illegal actions desperately need this funding for underfunded humanitarian programs.
What You Can Do
There are three things you can do right now to ensure that this critical funding translates into direct support for people impacted by Sudanese government war crimes:
Learn how the Sudan Community Compensation Program could benefit those suffering from past and present Sudanese government war crimes.
Add your name to the petition asking the U.S. Justice Department to establish the trust fund to support the millions of Sudanese who continue to suffer due to the Sudanese government's and BNPP's actions.
3. Share This Post To Get Others Involved.
This is literally an opportunity to save and improve the lives of millions of Sudanese people. Despite the enormous size of the BNPP settlement, it has received very little media attention. Share this post to inform others about what is happening and how they can sign the petition to help.