Eternit Appeal Trial: Statement from the Turin Courts, February the 14th, 2013 from Italy, France, and Belgium

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Posted on February 14, 2013 

Eternit TrialExactly a year ago to the day , the Turin Courts of first instance sentenced the Swiss defendant Stephan Schmidheiny and the Belgian Louis de Cartier de Marchienne to 16 years jail, the defendants being the owners of  the Eternit company, an asbestos cement multinational.

Today is the first day of the appeal trial, and the asbestos victims have gathered from France and Belgium to express their support to the Italians.

As representatives of Afeva, Andeva and Abeva, the three associations that defend asbestos victims in Italy, France and Belgium, we would like to reiterate our support for the Italian victims as well as making the following statement.

We sincerely hope  the Italian Court of Appeal and the Justice system  will confirm last year’s sentence of the court of first instance, which mirrored  the severity of the human and environmental catastrophes Eternit caused in Casale Monferrato, Rubiera, Cavagnolo  and Naples. We are also asking the Italian Government to help the victims and their families receive  the compensation the Courts awarded them. 

We ask  the French Government to reinstate investigating magistrate, Madame Bertella Geffroy and to supply her with the necessary means to conclude the preliminary inquiries so that the French Justice system can hold the criminal court case the French victims have been waiting for 16 years. Please sign the appeal/petition  at the following link which lists all these requests: http://www.santepublique-instructionendanger.org 

We also ask  the French Justice system to identify and bring to court  those who bear responsibility. The Court of Cassation must speak for the victims: it morally unacceptable and unfathomable that nobody should be held accountable for  a disaster which causes no less than 3,000 victims a year in France alone. It is unacceptable that tragedies such as the Amisol or the Conde-sur-Noireau one  (a large asbestos textile company) should end with the case being dismissed with a non suit and that the people being investigated should be acquitted before being tried. 

In the civil asbestos cases in Belgium, Eternit has appealed the sentence inflicted in November 2011. We ask the Belgian Justice to listen to the voice of the victims and convict the multinational which is responsible. 

‘Afeva, Andeva  and Abeva are appealing to the Government and to the Courts to respect the suffering of the asbestos victims and their families. They do not only want compensation.  They, we,  want justice. They want those who were responsible to be tried, not a vendetta, revenge,  but for future generations to learn from these disasters so that it may never happen again, ever again. 

 Signed by: 

ITALY: Afeva, CGIL, CISL e UIL Casale

BELGIUM: Abeva

FRANCE:  Andeva