By the current message, the French organisation “Association France Palestine Solidarité“ (AFPS) is requesting your help and support for its legal actions undertaken against the French companies Alstom, Alstom Transport and Veolia Transport for their implication in the construction and operation of the illegal East Jerusalem Light Rail, and against the French State for not having fulfilled its obligation under international law, of using all possible means to prevent its national companies from participating in the colonisation of the occupied Palestinian territories.
As detailed in the attached file, the companies have been taken to the Nanterre “Tribunal de Grande Instance“ court in 2007, an action conducted in collaboration with the PLO. This has been the first ever legal action against a company complicit with the Israeli colonial policy. After a number of maneuvers from the companies, the court concluded in December 2009 that the claim was admissible. This is an important step for any future action against colonial companies. However, last May, the court dismissed our claim on the substance. Despite its very high price in terms of activist’s time and effort, and in term of financial cost, AFPS ans PLO have decided to appeal.
In parallel, following a direct petition to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2007, which did not come off, another legal action has been undertaken, by the AFPS alone, against the French State itself, for not respecting its obligations under international law. The claim was submitted in March 2010 to the relevant court, the Tribunal Administratif de Paris. You will note that such a strong action has not been undertaken anywhere else so far. The court rejected the request in October 2011.There is no possibility of appeal in this case, but, the ruling being disputable in terms of validity of the legal the arguments used, AFPS has submitted last February a petition aimed at nullifying it.
In addition to hundreds of hours of a lawyers’ team and of voluntary activists, the organisation has already invested in these two actions more than 150 000 €, practically covered by AFPS members following calls for donations in 2008 and 2011. The need for at least another 50 000€ is anticipated.
This is why the AFPS would greatly appreciate any financial support from its friends of the solidarity movement worldwide, in order to be able to fulfill its legal actions until their end.
One should not forget that most of the successful actions in Europe have benefitted from the existence of the French claim that they have used to justify and strenghthen their arguments in front of municipal/local representatives. An important victory, which can also be used by other organisations, and against other companies complicit with the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, has alreday been obtained through the repeated recognition that the plaintiff is admissible, that the national court is a relevant legal arbitrator, and that the companies can be made legally accountable in their own country of their illegal activities abroad. A condemnation of the French companies for their participation in a project illegal under international law would open an avenue to the defenders of human rights and international law, everywhere including in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Donations can be done online at http://www.france-palestine.org/Faire-un-don or by bank transfer to the following account (see the attached .jpg file)
Please contact us, at afps-at-france-palestine.org, to let us know you have made a donation, so that we can send you an acknowledgement
The AFPS national board