US chemical companies sued by an Agent Orange victim living in France are trying to delay the lawsuit’s progress by questioning the accuracy of documents submitted by the plaintiff.
Bertrand Repolt, who represented the plaintiff’s team of lawyers at the latest court hearing on the lawsuit at the Ervy Court in France, said the lawyers of 26 US companies demanded clear evidence for the documents attached to the petition.
According to Repolt, this is a tactic aimed at delaying the process and tiring the plaintiff’s side out, which is worrying as the health of the 73-year-old plaintiff is deteriorating due to many diseases she acquired as a consequence of exposure to Agent Orange/dioxin.
The lawyer noted that whether the evidence is persuasive will be discussed during the trial, when lawyers of both side present their arguments. Therefore, the demand that detailed evidence be included in the petition is made just with the intention of delaying the hearing process, he said.
Speaking to the media outside the courtroom, plaintiff Tran To Nga said she filed the lawsuit not for her own interest but for other Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange/dioxin who are suffering from the after-effects of the toxic chemical without the means for treatment. She affirmed her resolve to pursue the lawsuit despite all the difficulties.
Nicolas Jaillard from France Television said he has been following the case, which was reported on France 24 channel.
Two independent film makers from the US, Sylvie Jacquemin and Milena Doleno said they are working on a film about the lawsuit for the New-York-based Films for Humanity.
In May 2014, Vietnamese-French Tran Thi To Nga, born in 1942, filed a lawsuit against 26 US chemical firms for producing chemical toxins sprayed by the US army in the war in Vietnam, causing serious consequences for the community, her and her children.
Tran To Nga graduated from a Hanoi university in 1966 and became a war correspondent of the Liberation News Agency. She worked in some of the most heavily AO/Dioxin affected areas in southern Vietnam such as Cu Chi, Ben Cat and along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, ultimately experiencing effects of contamination.
Among her three children, the first child died of heart defects while the second suffered from a blood disease.
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.
The complaint and related documents were handed over to the Crown Court of Evry city in the suburb of Paris.
From 1961-1971, US troops sprayed more than 80 million litres of herbicides—44 million litres of which were AO containing nearly 370 kilograms of dioxin—over southern Vietnam.
As a result, around 4.8 million Vietnamese were exposed to the toxic chemical. Many of the victims have died, while millions of their descendants are living with deformities and diseases as a direct result of the chemical’s effects.