Asbestos: Judge criticizes lack of means – News from France
class=”leg”> The judge in the healthcare division at Paris prosecutor’s office believes that the Department of Justice did not want to shed light on the issue of asbestos. Photo credits: THOMAS COEX / AFP
Asbestos could, experts say, cause the death of one hundred thousand people by 2025, which would make the greatest health scandal of post-war. However, the first complaints against asbestos, dating from 1996, have not proceeded to trial. The fifty proceedings launched against companies or institutions are bogged down. Marie-Odile Bertella-Geffroy, the judge handling the case of asbestos, is exceeded by these delays. Last issue that may be devoid of substance, that of Saint-Louis Hospital in Paris, where staff have contracted lung cancer linked to asbestos. The leaders of the hospital moved to quash their indictment to the Court of Appeal of Paris, which must rule in September.
magistrate denounces, in an interview arisien P , the lack of suspects and the prosecution for not wanting a trial of asbestos. “If they give me (..) two judges who are interested in health records, two forensic investigators who have worked on these issues, two legal assistants and a doctor,” the trial of asbestos may be held in a year, says the judge, who called in and the new Minister of Justice, Christiane Taubira.
emphasizes “the isolation of the judge,” “a complete lack of proper means” and “dependence vis-à-vis the Ministry of Interior deciding the number of police investigators, police or gendarmes assigned to a particular case. ” “Asbestos is clearly not for him a priority,” she says, also criticizing “the indifference or opposition of French public prosecutor at the trial of such public health issues.” A prosecutor who “is directly under the Ministry of Justice.”
This is not the first time that the judge Bertella-Geffroy denounces the administration of justice. In an interview with Inrock s last April, the judge explained that the chancellor was putting spokes in the wheels: “In the case of asbestos, I have two documents written by a police officer saying my letters rogatory (requests for research evidence – ie) are too complex and too long, they will take six years. This is a sign that we do not want these cases out. “
Wednesday, the judge must meet the victims’ lawyers to provide an update on the case while the Court of Cassation ruled against last week at the Paris Court of Appeal which had overturned six indictments of Eternit, a leading company that has exploited and imported asbestos in France.
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