France conducted 193 nuclear tests on islands of the Tuamoutu Archipelago in French Polynesia, namely the Mururoa and Fangataufa atolls, between 1960 and 1996, until President Jacques Chirac suspended the program.
Oscar Temaru, former president of French Polynesia and current leader of the Tavini Huiraatira Party, announced on Tuesday that France was being taken to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for carrying out nuclear tests in the overseas territory.
“It’s with a great sense of duty and determination that we filed a complaint at the International Criminal Court on October 2 for crimes against humanity. This case aims to hold all the living French presidents accountable for the nuclear tests against our country. We owe it to all the people who died from the consequences of nuclear colonialism,” Temaru said at the UN.
In late September, a number of French media reported that a government commission was set to visit Polynesia’s nuclear test sites with an eye to ultimately modify the compensation law.
French Polynesia’s atolls of Mururoa and Fangataufa were used for nuclear testing for three decades, with some 150,000 military and civilian personnel involved in process; thousands of them were later said to have been suffering from serious health problems.
Following years of denial of responsibility, France introduced legislation to compensate people suffering health-effects resulting from exposure to nuclear testing in 2010, with statistics suggesting that only 20 out of 1,000 complainants had been compensated.
In the period from 1960 to 1996, France carried out 210 nuclear tests, with 17 of them being conducted in the Sahara desert in Algeria and 193 in French Polynesia.