In October 2002, a United Nations Panel of Experts accused 85 OECD-based companies of violating the Guidelines for their direct or indirect roles in the illegal exploitation of natural resources in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Panel alleged that “elite networks” of political and military elites and businesspersons fueled the conflict in order to retain their control over the country’s vast natural resources. Complaints were filed against several UK companies who were operating in the DRC at the time investigated by the Panel.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
- Version 2000 Chapter II
- Version 2000 Chapter II Paragraph II.10
- Version 2000 Chapter II Paragraph II.2
DAS Air denied the allegations in the complaint and strongly objected to the allegations that it contributed to the ongoing conflict in the DRC and to human rights’ abuses. The company firmly denied that it had ever knowingly transported coltan sourced from the DRC, explaining it believed the coltan it flew out of Kigali originated in Kigali. RAID provided detailed flight logs and other evidence gathered by the Porter Commission – a Ugandan judicial commission set up to investigate illegal exploitation in the DRC – to support its case.
At the meeting that took place in November 2006 with representatives of the NCP’s Joint Working Group, Minister Ian McCartney pledged that all the UN Panel cases would be concluded within six months after which a statement would be made to parliament. But there subsequently long delays in bringing the case to a conclusion.
RAID was, however, appreciative of the efforts that the NCP took to seek the advice of the International
Civil Aviation Authority and the British Freight Forwarders Association.
In October 2007, a year after the European Community had imposed a ban on its aircraft, DAS
Air was forced into administration. The NCP continued to liaise with the administrators in its efforts to conclude the case.
In July 2008, a strongly worded final statement was issued. For the first time in any specific instance,
the NCP concluded that DAS Air breached the human rights provision by flying into a conflict zone in contravention of international civil aviation regulations. DAS Air was also found to have failed to undertake due diligence with regard to its supply chain; the company’s contention that it did not know the source of the minerals it was transporting was rejected given its “intimate understanding of the situation and the conflict.”
The NCP did not make a determination in relation to events that occurred before the year 2000, but it took past behaviour into account in its final assessment of DAS Air’s activities. There is concern that this treatment of past conduct is inconsistent with the retrospective application of the 2000 Guidelines established in the Anglo American case.
- RAID vs. Oryx
- RAID vs. Avient
- RAID vs. Tremalt
- RAID vs. Alex Stewart (Assayers) Ltd
- RAID vs. Ridgepoint