French court to hold hearing on AO lawsuit hinh anh 1Mr. Lai Van Bien in Vu Thu district, Thai Binh province are caring for his sons affected by Agent Orange (AO)/Dioxin (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – A French court will open a hearing on a lawsuit filed by Vietnamese-French Tran Thi To Nga against 14 multinational companies for producing and selling chemical toxins that was sprayed by the US army in the war in Vietnam, causing serious consequences for the community, her children and herself.

Nga, born in 1942, filed the lawsuit in May 2014. Among the companies named in her suit, there were such names as Monsanto (now under the German group Bayer) and Dow Chemical.

With the support of several non-governmental organizations, Nga accused the companies of causing lasting harm to the health of her, her children and countless others, as well as destroying the environment.

"I am fighting for not only myself, but also my children and millions of victims”, Nga stated.

Tran To Nga graduated from a Hanoi university in 1966 and became a war correspondent of the Liberation News Agency, now the Vietnam 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 contamination effects herself.

Among her three children, the first child died of heart defects and the second suffers 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 the US chemical companies.

On April 16, 2015, the Crown Court of Evry city in the suburb of Paris held the first hearing on the case, but since then, lawyers of the sued chemical companies tried every way to prolong the procedures.

As scheduled, the trial was supposed to be opened in October 2020, but it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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./.