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France

Court denies nuclear test victims compensation

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2009-05-22

A Paris court of appeal has decided not to award reparations to the families of 12 former soldiers who suffered from health problems linked to nuclear tests conducted by France on Algerian soil in the 1960s.

A Paris appeal court has refused to award reparations to twelve former French service members on Thursday. They had requested compensation for serious health problems they suffered as a result of nuclear tests that France conducted in Algeria during the 1960s.

This decision upholds the initial ruling of the Commission for the Indemnification of Victims of Penal Infraction (French acronym: CIVI), who had rejected the plea on the basis that the events in question occurred prior to 1976, the limit set by law.

The plaintiffs, seven of whom are now deceased and represented in court by their families, demanded a total of approximately five million euros. Diseases suffered include cancer of the skin, blood, and kidneys.

The judgment comes just days before the French government discusses a new bill to organise reparations for the victims of 210 nuclear tests carried out in Algeria's Sahara desert and in French Polynesia between 1960 and 1996. The new legislation will be presented at a cabinet meeting next Wednesday.

About 150,000 people participated in either a civilian or a military capacity in the 210 nuclear tests – of which around 50 were done in the atmosphere.

Date created : 2009-05-22