the anger of Pierre Pluta, victim of asbestos, as the prospect of a trial recedes

Pierre Pluta, 77, contaminated with asbestos, is one of the 1,850 plaintiffs who hoped for a criminal trial. The Paris court ruled their request inadmissible on Friday.

The prospect of a trial is once again dim for asbestos victims. Friday, May 19, justice declared inadmissible the procedure filed by 1,850 plaintiffs to have 14 people tried: business leaders, politicians, doctors accused of having delayed banning asbestos in France despite the alerts . A disappointment for victims who have hoped for nearly 30 years to one day obtain a trial in this case. On leaving the courtroom, Pierre Pluta struggles to contain his anger. “As a victim, we cannot accept, nor say to ourselves that we understand such a decision. We do not understand.”

Pierre Pluta: “I will not give up, I promised the victims”


A 77-year-old former worker, Pierre Pluta fell seriously ill after being unknowingly exposed to asbestos in the Dunkirk shipyards. He is now president of Ardeva, a regional association for the defense of victims. For him, it is up to justice to find the evidence. But for more than 25 years, no case has ever gone to trial. “We cannot understand that after 25 years, we are still asking questions. But what is this justice that has not succeeded, in 25 years, in ensuring find the answers to the questions she asks today? This is not normal! We did research, we found documents that should have been found before, already. This has not been done. Why? We don’t understand.”

Misunderstanding, again and again, and questions left unanswered. The judges considered on Friday that the procedure brought by the 1,850 victims was too vague, too imprecise for a trial to be held as it stands. The victims will not hear the explanations of the 14 people they wanted to see tried in criminal proceedings. “Why is the court opposed to the victims having to explain the reasons why we continued to use asbestos, when we had known for many years that it was carcinogenic? What we are asking, For us, it’s to hear these people, that they say why they acted like that. Because we have the evidence, the documents exist, that they did everything to prevent asbestos from being banned for a very long time.”

“Today, we are told, to us: you do not bring the proofs. But it is absurd, that! It is unimaginable, it is unacceptable! We hoped for a little understanding! A little understanding! This fight has been fought for 25 years now and I’m approaching 80. I don’t know how long I’m going to hold out.”

Pierre Pluta, victim of asbestos

at franceinfo

Despite the disappointment, the victims of asbestos still intend to continue the fight and file a new appeal. A procedure which should take several months with the risk that the defendants, all very old, die before being able to be judged. “I will not give up. I promised the victims. It hurts me because many victims, on their deathbed, made me promise to fight this fight until the end. And I will lead [sanglots]. But it’s fed up. That’s enough. There’s more than enough.”

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