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“Poisoning” with this pesticide in Guadeloupe and Martinique “is not prescribed”, claim the civil parties

“Chlordecone poisoning is not prescribed”, affirm the lawyers of the civil parties in their observations that Franceinfo was able to obtain on Wednesday March 17. They thus respond to the words of Rémi Heitz, the Paris prosecutor, who explained to the daily France West Indies Tuesday, that “the vast majority of the facts were already prescribed” as soon as a complaint is filed for endangering others.

These remarks suggest that justice could pronounce a dismissal in this case of chlordecone, the name of this highly toxic insecticide used until 1993 by banana planters in the West Indies. After 15 years of instruction and despite this “alleged unavoidable prescription”, the civil party lawyers are still hoping for a trial and redress in this case.

In a 13-page document that franceinfo was able to consult, the lawyers evoke “the timeless offense” Chlordecone poisoning. The pesticide continued to be stored and possibly used after it was banned in 1993. “The prescription only runs from the day on which the infringement ceased”, remind the lawyers in their observations. For them, the offense still continues through the continuous poisoning of soil and water.

The lawyers also insist on the ignorance of the population. There was no communication related to the toxicity of chlordecone, from 1993 to 2004. This “organized concealment” explains, according to them, that the victims could not mobilize in time. For them, the revelation of the scandal to the general public in 2004 marks the real start of the limitation period. And then “It was not until 2005 that the prefects suspended spraying and pronounced a ban on fishing and eating fish in the coastline surrounding our archipelago. The civil parties cannot therefore be criticized for having delayed in setting in motion the ‘public action, by filing a complaint on February 23, 2006 “, say the advice of the civil parties.

More than 90% of the adult population in Guadeloupe and Martinique is contaminated with chlordecone, according to Public Health France. West Indian populations have one of the highest prostate cancer incidence rates in the world. The pesticide will persist in soils for another 700 years, experts say. These arguments do not seem to change the investigating judges of the public health pole of the Paris judicial court, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Chlordecone, a pesticide banned in France in 1990, continued to be authorized in the banana fields of Martinique and Guadeloupe by ministerial exemption until 1993 and caused significant and lasting pollution on the two islands. A mobilization is scheduled for April 10 in Martinique to denounce a possible dismissal. On March 27, between 5,000 and 15,000 Martinicans marched through the streets of Fort-de-France to denounce the possible prescription of this complaint.

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