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One of France’s top courts has overturned a decision to dismiss charges against cement firm Lafarge for complicity in crimes against humanity in Syria.

It is accused of paying millions of Euros to armed groups, including ISIS, during the country’s civil war in order to keep a cement plant in operation between 2011 and 2014.

A lower court had previously dismissed the crimes against humanity charge, saying it accepted that the payments were not aimed at abetting the terrorist group’s agenda of executions and torture.

However, the Court of Cassation ruled that: “One can be an accomplice in crimes against humanity even if one does not intend to be associated with the commission of these crimes.

“The knowing payment of several million dollars to an organization whose object is exclusively criminal is sufficient to characterize the complicity, regardless of whether the person concerned is acting with a view to the pursuit of a commercial activity.”

The court returned the case file back to investigating magistrates so that the request for annulment can be examined again, although it upheld the charge of financing terrorism.

Lafarge merged in 2015 with Swiss group Holcim; a spokeswoman for the parent company said the matter was “a legacy issue of Lafarge SA that we are managing responsibly.

“We have taken immediate and firm steps to make sure that similar events do not happen again.”

In a statement, Holcim added that the court’s decision did not in any way presume the possible culpability of Lafarge SA.

“Lafarge continues to cooperate fully with the justice system and cannot comment further on the ongoing legal process,” the statement added.

“None of the natural persons targeted by this judicial investigation is yet part of the company and Lafarge has not carried on any activity in Syria for more than six years.”