French court dismisses complaint over Agent Orange use in Vietnam War

French court dismisses complaint over Agent Orange use in Vietnam War

"Vietnamese affected by Agent Orange (and other chemical defoliants), napalm and phosphorus bombs" by Jorge Lascar is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

A French court on Monday dismissed a case by an elderly French-Vietnamese woman against several agrochemical companies, including Monsanto and Dow Chemical, over the use by the US military of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.

The court in the Paris suburb of Evry ruled that it did not have the jurisdiction to judge a case involving the wartime actions of the US government, the ruling seen by AFP said.

Tran To Nga, a former journalist born in 1942 in what was then French Indochina, accused the chemicals firms of causing grievous harm to her and others by selling Agent Orange to the US government, which used it to devastating effect in the war.

She also accused them of causing damage to the environment.

Dismissing the case the court said that the companies were acting "on the orders" of the US government, which was engaged in a "sovereign act".

NGOs estimate that four million people in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia were exposed to the 76 million litres (20 million gallons) of Agent Orange sprayed by US forces to destroy ground cover and food sources in its battle with communist North Vietnamese troops between 1962 and 1971.

Tran To Nga suffers from typical Agent Orange effects, including type 2 diabetes and an extremely rare insulin allergy.

One of her daughters died of a malformation of the heart.

The multinationals have argued that they could not be held responsible for the use the American military made of their product.

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