Paris – 10 June 2013
1. Wide of American and French lawyers and colleagues walking up staircase of Paris courthouse
2. Close-up of legal complaint being filed
3. Lawyers Gavriel Mairone and David Pere reading complaint
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Gavriel Mairone, Lawyer for Halabja Victims:
“We are filing a complaint with the French court in accordance with the law, which is formally asking them to open an investigation and decide whether or not there is criminal and/or civil culpability. From our research we have identified different French parties, so it’s not that we are taking a shot in the dark. Simultaneously we are preparing cases in four other countries which we intend to launch in the coming weeks. This happens to be the first case that we are launching.”
5. Cutaway of Halabja victims Osman Abdulqadir Hassan (centre) alongside another victim, Kamal Abdulkadir Wais Mohammed (left), and Sami Jalal (grey suit) from Global Justice Group
6. Wide cutaway of Halabja victims and Jalal
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Osman Abdulkadir Hassan, Halabja Survivor:
“I was in the hospital and I was actually blinded for three months and after that I gained my eyesight, but in terms of physical injuries I have been scarred for life. My lungs have been damaged completely. Only 21 percent of my lungs are working at the moment. So 79 percent is damaged completely. I have been suffering from this since the attack.”
8. Cutaway of victims, their families and their lawyers on courthouse steps
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Gavriel Mairone, Lawyer for Halabja Victims:
“There is no question that these companies knew exactly what they were doing. They were selling thousands, in fact, tens of thousands of chemical – metric tonnes – of chemical precursors to the Saddam regime. There is no question at all that these companies knew exactly that they were building chemical weapons for a known terrorist regime who had a known history of slaughtering Kurds, slaughtering his own and, in fact, since ’84, ’85, it was known that he was actually deploying these chemical weapons illegally against the war in Iran. So, from a legal point of view, these are the companies that we are going after, and we know exactly who they are, and we know precisely the quantities and the types of materials, equipment and chemicals that they supplied and, more importantly, they know who they are, and they should be thinking very, very carefully right now of trying to take the step forward before we go ahead and drag everyone into court, and to maybe do what’s right and reach out to the Kurds, who are reaching out to them and let’s close this wound.”
10. Cutaway of French flag at court
FILE: Halabja, Iraq – March 1988 (exact date unknown)
11. Aerial of destruction after poison gas attack
12. Various of dead bodies in street following attack ++GRAPHIC++
A quarter of a century after a deadly chemical weapons attack on the Iraqi town of Halabja, lawyers are asking a French court to open an investigation into whether certain French parties should to be held legally responsible for allegedly helping supply the chemicals to Saddam Hussein’s regime.
Gavriel Marione, from the US firm MM-Law, which specialises in human rights, filed a legal complaint along with a French lawyer on Monday and said similar cases would be taken up in four other countries soon.
“We are filing a complaint with the French court in accordance with the law, which is formally asking them to open an investigation and decide whether or not there is criminal and/or civil culpability,” he said. “From our research we have identified different French parties, so it’s not that we are taking a shot in the dark.”
Osman Abdulkadir Hassan accompanied the lawyers to court in Paris on Monday.
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