French court rejects claim for 'Agent Orange' damage in Vietnam war; multinationals argued they were not responsible for tragedy (update)


Tran To Nga, 79, a French-Vietnamese journalist takes care of her flowers at her home in Evry, south-east of Paris, Monday, May 10, 2021. A French court dismissed on Monday the case of a French-Vietnamese woman who sued 14 companies that produced and sold the powerful defoliant dioxin Agent Orange used by U.S. troops during the Vietnam War, her lawyers said. Tran To Nga will appeal the decision, according to her legal team. - AP

* French-Vietnamese woman sued producers for damage to health * U.S. forces used 'Agent Orange' to destroy crops and jungle

PARIS, May 11 (Reuters): A French court on Monday (May 10) threw out a lawsuit by a French-Vietnamese woman against more than a dozen multinationals that produced and sold a toxic herbicide dubbed "Agent Orange", used by US troops during the war in Vietnam.

Filed in 2014, the case has pitched Tran To Nga, a 79-year-old who claims she was a victim of Agent Orange, against 14 chemical firms, including U.S. companies Dow Chemical and Monsanto, now owned by Germany's Bayer.

Tran To Nga told Reuters the case had been thrown out but that she would appeal.

Tran, who worked as a journalist and activist in Vietnam in her 20s, has said she was suffering from effects including type 2 diabetes and a rare insulin allergy.

US warplanes dropped about 18 million gallons (68 million litres) of Agent Orange - so-called because it was stored in drums with orange bands - between the early 1960s and early 1970s to defoliate jungles and destroy Viet Cong crops.

MULTINATIONALS SAY NOT RESPONSIBLE

The multinationals had argued they could not be held responsible for use the US military made of their product.

The court ruled it did not have jurisdiction to judge a case involving the US government's wartime actions, Agence France Presse reported.

Reuters could not immediately see the ruling.

One of Tran's lawyers, William Bourdon, said in a statement on Twitter that the court was applying an obsolete definition of the immunity of jurisdiction principle which contradicted modern principles of international and national law.

He said it was "astounding" that the court had backed the companies' contention that they were acting on orders when responding to U.S. government tenders for contracts.

In a statement, Bayer said it welcomed the court's decision while saying it had "great sympathy for Ms. Tran To Nga and all those who suffered during the Vietnam war".

But it said it had been "well-established by courts for many years that wartime contractors like the nine former manufacturers, operating at the behest of the U.S. government, are not responsible for the alleged damage claims associated with the government's use of such product during wartime".

So far, only military veterans from the United States and other countries involved in the war have won compensation over Agent Orange. In 2008, a U.S. federal appeals court upheld the dismissal of a civil lawsuit against major U.S. chemical companies brought by Vietnamese plaintiffs.

The United States has maintained there is no scientifically proven link between the wartime spraying and the claims of dioxin poisoning of many Vietnamese. - Reuters
Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights
   

Next In Aseanplus News

Indonesia jails cleric for four years over spread of false Covid-19 information
Cathay Pacific to require Covid-19 vaccinations for HK airline crew by Aug 31
National park proposed for Yunnan's wild elephants
Thai democracy protesters rally against govt despite Covid warnings
China issues white paper on CPC's practice on human rights protection
Covid-19: 5,841 new cases, Selangor still top with 2,072
Singapore files 105 new charges against oil trader Hin Leong founder O.K. Lim
Lao authorities, people urged to be cautious over spread of Delta Covid-19 variant
Cambodia logs 18 more Covid deaths, 655 infections
Defender of freedoms or defiler of national sovereignty? What exactly was Hong Kong’s Apple Daily?

Stories You'll Enjoy


Vouchers