By Sarah E. Treptow
Impunity Watch Reporter, Oceania
PAP’ETE, French Polynesia– Tomorrow, a court in French Polynesia will hear a case lodged by eight former workers of French nuclear weapons testing sites in Mururoa and Fangataufa.
Moruroa e Tatou, the French Polynesian based association representing the workers, will represent the workers in the Pape’ete Court who will be judging the cases for the first time ever. Of the eight former workers, three are alive and five will be represented by their widows. The workers claim their illnesses are due to nuclear testing and are asking for financial compensation.
Moruroa e Tatou said justice should be swift because witnesses of the nuclear testing period in French Polynesia from 1966 to 1996 are now getting old.
Walter Zweifel reported, “The veterans association has described the court case to get compensation as historic and comes after last year’s admission by France that its tests in the South Pacific were not clean as it had previously claimed. But after years of unsuccessful campaigning for recognition, there is continued mistrust among veterans.”
The group had asked for the proceedings to be filmed for increased transparency, but they were told there was not enough time to organize it.
French Polynesian President, Oscar Temaru’s party, has announced it will support the workers.
For more information, please see:
Pacific Islands Report – French Polynesian Nuke Victims Head to Court – 24 April 2009
Islands Business – Tahitian nuclear test veteran association getting ready for “historic case” – 27 April 2009
Radio New Zealand International – Nuke victims compensation case to be lodged in French Polynesia tomorrow – 27 April 2009