Tahiti Church takes France to International Court over nuclear testing

French Polynesia’s Maohi Protestant church has decided to take France to the International Criminal Court over the legacy of the French nuclear testing.

But the French Polynesian president Edouard Fritch believes the church’s plan is pointless. He says there are still avenues left for a dialogue with France.

Fritch says to get compensation it is better to negotiate with the French government than to seek the protection of international organisations which have no power.

He says he believes that the French president has understood what the aftermath of the nuclear testing has meant for French Polynesia.

The Church’s secretary general Celine Hoiore said the case will be filed in The Hague for alleged crimes against humanity as a result of 193 nuclear weapons tests in the South Pacific.

The action is being taken for all the consequences of the nuclear testing, including contempt for the illnesses Polynesians suffer from as a result of the tests she said.

When Hoiore announce the decision on Sunday morning,  at the conclusion of the Synod it was greeted with thunderous applause.

Later two former presidents, Oscar Temaru and Gaston Flosse responded on Tahiti Nui Television. ” Temaru said  “I think it is first necessary that we can get all agree ,”  For Flosse however, it was an ” historic decision.”

The French High Commissioner to French Polynesia said the nuclear testing in the South Pacific do not amount to a crime against humanity.

Rene Bidal said the definition of a crime against humanity centres on the Nuremburg trials after the Second World War and refers to killings, exterminations, and deportations.

He said the church should weigh its words, adding that a complaint as outlined by the church would be baseless.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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