A French court will on Monday hear a case against more than a dozen multinationals, accused by a French-Vietnamese woman of causing grievous harm to her and others by selling the Agent Orange defoliant to the US government which used it to devastating effect in the Vietnam War.
Tran To Nga, born in 1942 in what was then French Indochina, worked as a journalist and activist in Vietnam in her 20s.
She filed the lawsuit in 2014 against 14 firms that made or sold the highly toxic chemical, including Monsanto, now owned by German giant Bayer, and Dow Chemical.
Backed by several NGOs, she accuses the companies of being responsible for injuries sustained by her, her children and countless others, as well as for damage done to the environment.
"A recognition of Vietnamese civilian victims would constitute a legal precedent", said international law specialist Valerie Cabanes.