Although this story isn't about
Israel, it could be soon!
Supporters of apartheid Israel - watch out - learn from this -
it could be you being sued if you dont stop your support
and divest from Israel Now!
sued for $50bn in SA class action
18 June 2002
A group of apartheid's victims are suing three banks which breached
the international sanctions against white South Africa for $50bn
damages, accusing them of collaborating in forced labour, murder,
torture and massacres.
The class action, the first of its kind by apartheid victims, is
modelled on the one which forced Swiss banks to pay $1.25bn to Holocaust
survivors. The documents due to be lodged with the US district court
in Manhattan yesterday accuse Citibank, Crédit Suisse and
UBS of "profiteering" from apartheid.
They claim that the banks "knowingly financed companies that
used, tortured and executed slaves".
"Were it not for the conspiracy of these financial institutions
and companies, apartheid would not have been kept alive," the
Dumisa Ntsebeza, who heads the legal team in South Africa, said
the case would be followed by others.
"The targets are the private US-and European-based multinational
industries that profiteered from their business dealings in South
Africa during the period from 1948 to 1993," he said.
British car companies had branches in South Africa into the 70s,
as did Barclays bank. Other companies, including British Aerospace,
did business directly with the government. German manufacturers,
including Mercedes, BMW and Volkswagen, never withdrew from South
Among those bringing the case is Lulu Petersen, whose dying 12-year-old
brother Hector was immortalised in one of the most famous photographs
of the beginning of the Soweto uprising in 1976. "We want reparations
from those international companies and banks that profited from
the blood and misery of our fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters,"
An American lawyer prominent in the Holocaust claim, Ed Fagan,
said he was forced to abandon an attempt to serve legal papers on
the two Swiss banks, Crédit Suisse and UBS yesterday when
he was booed and heckled in Zurich.
Legal experts are divided on the case. David Unterhalter, director
of the Mandela Legal Institute in Johannesburg, said: "Apart
from all the historical differences, I think it's very important
to give some consideration to the political settlement which allowed
people not only to settle criminal liability but also civil liability.
That constitutional settlement is now threatened by this lawsuit."
Crédit Suisse Group said it believed it had no case to answer
because it had abided by Swiss law.