Tuesday, October 25 2016


AO victim's lawyers say defendant making many irrational requests

Update: October, 19/2015 - 09:27
Vietnam News Agency correspondents interviews lawyers Amelie Lefebvre and Bertrand Repolt at the Ervy Court in Paris on Thursday. — VNA/VNS Photo

PARIS (VNS) — Lawyers representing Vietnamese-French Agent Orange victim Tran To Nga in a lawsuit against 26 US chemical companies said the defendant continued to make irrational requests in order to prolong the case.

Talking to Vietnam News Agency correspondents in Paris after the latest working session with judges and defence lawyers at the Ervy Court on Thursday, lawyers Amelie Lefebvre and Bertrand Repolt from the Paris-based William Bourdon Forestier law firm said that the defendant's lawyers once again asked for documents proving that Nga used to work at dioxin-sprayed areas – such as working contracts, paycheck receipts and evidence proving the linkage between herbicides and her diseases.

Repolt said those requests were unreasonable at this stage of the trial, as hearings had not yet started. In addition, demanding proof of payroll for hours worked 40 to 50 years ago was unrealistic.

Regarding the accuracy of translated documents, Lefebvre said that the inaccurate translation of several words was unavoidable in hundreds, or even thousands of pages of documents, but such mistakes cannot render the entire documents incomprehensible.

The lawyers also said the plaintiff was expected to undergo new medical tests at a clinic appointed by the court.

At the meeting, the judge also announced that a deadline will be set for US companies' representatives to respond to plaintiff lawyers' conclusions in the lawsuits. The two parties' lawyers will meet again on December 3 to discuss the timetable for hearing sessions.

In May 2014, Nga, born in 1942, filed a lawsuit against 26 US chemical firms for producing chemical toxins sprayed by the US army during the war in Viet Nam, causing serious harm to the community, her children and herself.

The complaint and related documents were filed with the Crown Court of Evry in the suburbs of Paris.

Nga graduated from university in Ha Noi in 1966 and became a war correspondent for the Liberation News Agency, now the Vietnam News Agency. She worked in some of the most heavily AO/Dioxin-affected areas in southern Viet Nam such as Cu Chi, Ben Cat and along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, ultimately experiencing the effects of contamination herself.

Among her three children, the first died of heart defects and the second suffers from a blood disease.

In 2009, Nga, who has contracted a number of acute diseases, appeared as a witness at the Court of Public Opinion in Paris, France against the US chemical companies.

From 1961 to 1971, US troops sprayed more than 80 million litres of herbicides – 44 million litres of which were AO, containing nearly 370kg of dioxin – over southern Viet Nam.

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. — VNS

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