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May 14, 2021 / 11:23

Vietnam pledges to support plaintiff in rejected Agent Orange lawsuit

Chemical producers and trading firms need to bear responsibility for Agent Orange/dioxin consequences in Vietnam.

Vietnam said it will provide significant support to Tran To Nga, plaintiff in the recently-rejected Agent Orange lawsuit in France.

 Tran To Nga, in Paris, January 30, 2021, at a rally in support of people who were exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. Photo: AFP/VNA

Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang of Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs made the statement at a press conference on May 13, affirming that the Vietnamese Embassy in France will offer the support.

Hang noted that the embassy has been keeping contact and encouraging Tran To Nga over the past time.

On May 10, the Evry court in France dismissed a lawsuit brought by To Nga, a 79-year-old French woman of Vietnamese origin against 14 multinational companies, 14 chemical firms, including US companies Dow Chemical and Monsanto, now owned by Germany’s Bayer, over Agent Orange that the US troop used in the American War in Vietnam.

The court ruled it did not have jurisdiction to judge a case involving the US government’s wartime actions, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported.

William Bourdon, one of To Nga’s lawyers, said on Twitter that the court applied an obsolete definition of the immunity of jurisdiction principle, which contradicted modern principles of international and national law.

In a statement, Bayer said it welcomed the court’s decision, saying it had been “well-established by courts for many years that wartime contractors like the nine former manufacturers, operating at the behest of the U.S. government, are not responsible for the alleged damage claims associated with the government's use of such product during wartime,” Reuters reported.

The Vietnamese spokesperson said “We support Agent Orange/dioxin victims to take legal action against US chemical producers and Agent Orange/dioxin trading companies during the war in Vietnam.”

“We think that those companies need to assume responsibility for Agent Orange/dioxin consequences it cause in Vietnam,” she added.