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If accusations against Talisman Energy, one of Canada's largest oil companies, are found to be accurate, the company could be found liable for genocide, U.S. District Judge Allen Schwartz said in a ruling on March 19. This ruling allows a civil suit brought against Talisman by the Presbyterian Church of Sudan to continue.

In his 110-page ruling, Schwartz rejected arguments that allowing the case to proceed to trial might embarrass or hinder the foreign relations efforts of the United States which, among other things, has tried to broker peace within Sudan. He noted that the U.S. government has already declared Sudan a state sponsor of terrorism and that President Bush had signed the Sudan Peace Act, which includes a finding by Congress that the acts of the government of Sudan constitute genocide. "Any criticism of Sudan that would arise as a result of the adjudication of this case would be a mere drop in the bucket," Schwartz wrote.

The class action lawsuit against Talisman was filed by the Presbyterian Church of Sudan in 2001 on behalf of the non-Muslim people of southern Sudan. The suit accuses Talisman Energy of collaborating with the Sudanese government to commit human rights violations, including murder, rape, enslavement, and ethnic cleansing.

Over the last several years, Talisman Energy has been under intense pressure from religious and human rights organizations because of their oil developments in southern Sudan. Many international reports have shown that oil revenues have been used by the Sudanese government to purchase weapons used against the predominantly Christian and animist people of southern Sudan. After years of criticism, Talisman finalized the sale of their holdings in Sudan to ONGC Videsh Ltd., a subsidiary of India's national oil company, on March 12, 2003.

Tragically, however, only two days after his ruling, Judge Schwartz was killed in a driving accident on March 21. Much of the outcome of the trial will depend on the judge who takes over the case.

Pray that this case will go forward, despite this setback and that those responsible for the suffering of the people of southern Sudan will be held responsible for their actions.

Country Information

Population
43,120,843 (July 2018 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Sudanese Arab (70), Fur, Beja, Nuba and Fallata (30)

Religion
Sunni Muslim, small Christian minority

Leader
President (to be determined)
Transitional leadership in place

Government type
Presidential republic

Legal system
Mixed legal system of Islamic law and English common law

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Sudan

Pray that Christians throughout Sudan will continue to entrust themselves to Christ and preach the Gospel boldly, knowing Jesus is the ruler over the kings of the earth (2 Timothy 1:7-12, Revelation 1:5).

Pray also that peace, justice and religious freedom may be firmly established.

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