Panic within the French Caribbean as a Paris court docket dismisses a pesticide case

Practically 20 years after Caribbean islanders sued to carry the French authorities criminally chargeable for the banana trade’s in depth use of banned pesticides in Martinique and Guadeloupe, a panel of judges has dismissed their case, ruling that this can be very troublesome to find out who’s answerable for the actions. A very long time in the past.

The judges in Paris described the usage of Chlordecone from 1973 to 1993 as a “flagrant environmental assault whose human, financial and social penalties will have an effect on and can for a few years have an effect on the every day lifetime of the inhabitants” of the 2 French Caribbean islands. However additionally they emphasised that even within the Nineteen Nineties, scientists had not established hyperlinks between chlordecone and illness in people.

“How dare they write such a historic and scientific lie,” Christophe Legevakis, the lawyer concerned within the case, stated in a press release launched on Thursday.

Chlordecone, also referred to as kepone, was patented within the Nineteen Fifties by scientists working for Allied Chemical, an American firm based mostly in New Jersey now known as Allied Company, and thousands and thousands of kilos of the pesticide have been produced, nearly all of which was exported to be used overseas. United State. United State.

The US authorities banned the pesticide in 1976, a 12 months after the Virginia Division of Well being completely closed a Life Science Merchandise chemical plant in Hopewell, Va., whose staff developed slurred speech and different neurological issues that have been blamed on the pesticide.

Nevertheless, chlordecone was marketed legally in France from 1981 till the federal government banned it in 1990, and it continued for use for an additional three years after that in Guadeloupe and Martinique to kill banana weevils beneath an exemption granted by the French authorities. A long time later, it continues to pollute the islands’ soil and water.

The French authorities estimates that greater than 90% of adults have been uncovered to chlordecone on each islands, which have a mixed inhabitants of about 750,000. Amongst quite a lot of ailments, chlordecone is related to an elevated danger of prostate most cancers, and people affected by prostate most cancers are among the many highest on this planet, say French most cancers researchers. Different French analysis hyperlinks publicity to chlordecone to untimely births.

“It’s inconceivable that these accountable die with out being held accountable,” Legouevakis stated, including that he’ll urge his shoppers to enchantment the January 2 ruling by the Nationwide Courtroom for Public Well being Disputes.

Different plaintiffs within the 2006 case embody the Paris-based environmental group Générations Futures, which additionally plans to enchantment.

“This resolution, whereas an amazing disappointment, will not be a shock,” the group stated in a press release on Friday, and vowed to proceed to signify these affected till “the reality emerges and justice is lastly served.”

The Paris central court docket dominated in June in a separate go well with introduced by activists, organizations and victims that the French authorities was responsible of wrongful negligence involving the usage of chlordecone however refused to compensate these affected, a choice that angered many. The judges dominated partially that the defendants had not supplied particular particulars to justify the “hurt of concern they declare”.

The authorized saga takes place in Paris somewhat than within the French abroad departments of Guadeloupe or Martinique as a result of it’s a public well being concern, so it’s dealt with by a non-public well being unit based mostly inside the Paris Central Courtroom.

In the meantime, officers proceed to check the islanders without cost for attainable traces of chlordecone of their blood.


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