VAVA backs Tran To Nga’s appeal against French court’s AO ruling hinh anh 1A Vietnamese AO victim (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – The Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange (AO) (VAVA) has affirmed it will provide spiritual and material support to Tran To Nga to continue her lawsuit against US firms that manufactured the toxic AO defoliant used by US forces during the war in Vietnam.

Earlier, her lawsuit was rejected by the Crown Court of Evry City of France which ruled that the US firms were acting on orders of the US government which was engaged in a “sovereignty act.”

The court said it did not have jurisdiction to judge a case involving the US government's wartime actions.

Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Van Rinh, President of the VAVA, said he is not satisfied with the court’s ruling, saying it is not persuasive considering the fact that the US firms had manufactured about 80 million litres of the AO defoliant for US forces to spray in Southern Vietnam, causing serious environmental and human health consequences.

The VAVA backs Nga’s viewpoint and will provide both spiritual and material support for the Vietnamese-French woman to continue pursuing the lawsuit, he said.

Used to be a plaintiff in the VAVA’s 2004 lawsuit in the US, VAVA Vice President Nguyen Thi Ngoc Phuong said she is not surprised at the Evry court’s decision but felt sad as the court did not take into account AO victims of Vietnam and France.

The lawsuit does not target the US government but the US firms for their irresponsibility, she further explained.

Nga, 79, accuses 14 multinational chemical companies, including herbicide manufacturer Monsanto (now under the Bayer Group of Germany), of supplying the herbicide and defoliant chemical which was used extensively by the US army between 1961-1971 in Vietnam, causing serious consequences for 4 million people and severely poisoning the environment.

The woman, also an AO victim, has pursued the lawsuit for over a decade, including six years in court.

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 contamination herself. She has been suffering from a number of acute diseases.

Of her three children, the first died of heart defects and the second suffers from a blood disease. A grandchild of Nga also suffers from AO-related illnesses.

With the support of several non-governmental organisations, she filed the lawsuit against the US companies for causing lasting harm to the health of herself, her children, and countless others, and of destroying the environment./.