final initial assessment

More than a year after lodging our complaint against the banks, the Belgian and Luxembourg NCPs handed over their draft initial assessments of the complaint to Open Secrets, CALS and the banks. The initial assessment is an assessment of whether there is sufficient evidence to investigate the complaint further. This was not a decision about the merits or substance of the complaint, but merely about whether there is bona fide (‘good faith’ / an indication of) evidence that suggests there is merit to the complaint. The initial assessment was meant to happen within 3 months of the complaint being lodged. A year later, the NCPs provided a scant draft initial assessment for our input. In their draft assessments, the NCPs ignored the bulk of the evidence presented to them, and dismissed the rest as ‘dated’ or old (that the conduct within which apartheid was situated happened too long ago). They even went so far as to invent defences for the banks. Open Secrets + CALS provided the NCPs with an extensive & thorough response, after which the NCPs handed us their final initial assessment. Not a single word had changed between the draft initial assessment & the final; in other words, the NCPs ignored our input entirely.

our response to the draft initial assessments

Belgian NCPs initial assessment

After a year of delays, the Belgian NCP provided a mere 3 pages of response (excluding a recount of the dates on which there was correspondence and a repeat of what the complaint was about). It’s draft assessment essentially said that the complaint contained little and dated evidence & it created defences for KBC, including that it couldn’t be expected to provide evidence in rebuttal of the evidence presented by Open Secrets (because KBC had destroyed its records). See our response below, which sets out exactly why there is no basis to the draft assessment. Importantly, representatives of the trade unions involved in the Belgian NCP decision-making committee, wrote a dissenting opinion, which is contained at the very end of the draft assessment.

Luxembourg NCPs initial assessment

While more substantial and substantiated than the Belgian NCP’s draft initial assessment, the Luxembourg NCP nonetheless also failed to provide a coherent and substantiated assessment of the complaint. Like the Belgian NCP, it ignored the vast majority of our evidence, including the amicus submission by UN Independent Expert, Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, and dismissed the rest as too old (i.e. that national archive documents from declassified National Defence Force records are too old to be considered evidence). See our response below, which sets out exactly why there is no basis to the draft assessment

our statement on the final initial assessment