Michel Desaedeleer died on September 28th in a Belgian prison. He was accused of being involved in the trade of « blood diamond » in Sierra Leone. He was arrested in Spain in August 2015 due to allegations that he committed a war crime, more precisly the inhuman and degrading treatment of people through his participation in the blood diamond trade with the former Liberian President Charles Taylor and the Revolutionary United Front (rebel group in Sierra Leone involved in the country’s civil war from 1991 until 2002).
There will be no trial for Michel Desaedeleer, even if it was supposed to take place in a near future. The international jurisprudence will thus not see its first trial dealing with crimes allegedly committed in furtherance of natural resource trade. Indeed, Desaedeleer was the first businessman arrested on international charges of pillaging blood diamonds and enslaving civilians and hailed the case as a landmark. As Alain Werner, the Director of Civitas Maxima said in 2015: “This is a landmark case, the first of its kind, and it will help to raise awareness of the pivotal role played by financial actors in the trade of mineral resources that fuel armed conflicts in Africa and elsewhere”.
The case was built against him by Luc Walleyn, lawyer in Brussels, Civitas Maxima in Gevena and the CARL (Center for Accountability and the Rule of Law). The work accomplished until now will still be usefull as the arrest of Michel Desaedeleer, his imprisonment and the beginning of the judicial process represent a victory for the victims who were enslaved.