A class action suit seeking justice for millions of Vietnamese Agent Orange/dioxin victims opened in the outlying French city of Evry yesterday. The case was lodged by French-Vietnamese Tran To Nga who spent five years collecting legal and scientific evidence to support the charges.
|The case was lodged by French-Vietnamese Tran To Nga who spent five years collecting legal and scientific evidence to support the charges. — Photo vov|
Nga, 73, became a war correspondent for the Liberation News Agency after graduating from university in Ha Noi in 1966. Her work took her to some of the most heavily AO/dioxin-contaminated areas in southern Viet Nam such as Cu Chi, Ben Cat and along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, ultimately experiencing the effects of contamination.
Her first child died of heart defects and her second suffered from a blood disease, likely results from her earlier exposure to the toxin.
In 2009, Nga, who contracted a number of acute diseases, appeared as a witness at the Court of Public Opinion in Paris, France against US chemical companies.
Last May, she and the Paris-based William Bourdon & Forestier law firm filed a lawsuit against 26 US chemical firms for producing chemical toxins sprayed by the US army during the war in Viet Nam. Nga and the legal team hold that the toxins, and therefore the companies that made them, are responsible for the serious health issues that plague Vietnamese communities, her and her children.
The complaint and related documents were handed over to the Crown Court of Evry city and to the 26 named US companies, 12 of which have hired lawyers.
During the first day of trial, judges of the Crown Court of Evry questioned the 24 defence lawyers.
In France, a number of talks and film screenings about the harmful effects of AO on Vietnamese people and environment are ongoing.