Tuesday, April 14, 2015

French court to hear first hearing in AO victim's suit

A local court in Evry, France will hear a lawsuit from an Agent Orange victim on April 16, according to the Viet Nam Association for Victims of Agent Orange (VAVA). The victim, Tran To Nga, sued US chemical manufacturers on June 11, 2014, said Senior Lieutenant-General Nguyen Van Rinh, VAVA president.
In her complaint, Nga, 73, sued 26 companies for providing toxic chemical weapons used by US forces in Viet Nam during the American War.
"At present, 12 US chemical companies have hired lawyers to defend themselves in court," Rinh said at a press conference yesterday in Ha Noi. "If the court requires victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin to testify, we will be there to act as witnesses."
"If the court returns a verdict, the companies will have to bear legal responsibility. I'm convinced that justice shall prevail. Whether the victory is won inside the court or through an agreement outside court, it will provide a basis for future lawsuits."
Nga was a correspondent for Viet Nam News Agency during the war. She reported in areas densely sprayed with Agent Orange, including Cu Chi (HCM City), Binh Long District, Binh Phuoc Province and the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
Nga had three children. Her eldest child died of congenital heart defects when she was 17 months old, and her second daughter inherited the blood disorder (alpha thalassemia) from her. The youngest daughter contracted a skin disease. According to VAVA, Nga pursued the suits to seek justice for her family and other victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin. Previously, she provided witness testimony at an International People's Tribunal of Conscience.
Nga also testified at a public trial in Paris in 2009 against the US chemical companies. In 2014, she and Paris-based law firm William Bourdon&Forestier acted as a joint plaintiff and filed her suit. The petition and related files were forwarded to the court in Evry and the companies.
Also on this occasion, VAVA asked the Evry court to complete related documents and procedures quickly for the sake of the plaintiff, Nga. The organization also asked lawyers to speak from the bottom of their hearts for justice for Agent Orange victims.
"They are the most miserable among the miserable people and the poorest among the poor people," Rinh said.
There are more than 3 million victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin, according to the Government.

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