Update on AFPS-PLO Lawsuit Against Veolia and Alstom
In February 2007, AFPS brought suit to the Magistrates’ Court of Nanterre against VEOLIA TRANSPORT and ALSTOM seeking to obtain cancellation of the contract for the construction and operation of a light rail system in the West Bank, signed in July 2005 between these two companies and the Israeli government, within the City Pass consortium.
AFPS has also asked the Court to prevent these companies from pursuing the execution of the contract, which is in contradiction with the provisions of the Geneva Convention of August 12th, 1949 relative to the protection of civilian persons in time of war, and which fosters the expansion of the illegal colonisation of East Jerusalem by the State of Israel, the railway line linking the city centre of West Jerusalem to eastern settlements, built on land taken from the Palestinians.
The PLO has decided to join this action and to relay AFPS demands.
So as to avoid discussing the case during the proceedings, ALSTOM and VEOLIA TRANSPORT have submitted motions to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction and inadmissibility.
Contrary to their earlier claims to the media, the companies stated they did not sign any contract with the State of Israel.
Plea of lack of competence was heard on October 29th, 2007, and the Court reached a verdict on January 11th, 2008.
The Court has decided to reopen the case in order to have ALSTOM and VEOLIA TRANSPORT explain and defend the legal basis on which they decided to take part in the project of building and operating the light train system, and release the contract signed on July 17th, 2005.
Various incomplete documents in English have been released by ALSTOM and VEOLIA TRANSPORT, which refused to release a French sworn translation.
The PLO and AFPS have asked the Court to enforce fairness of proceedings, adversarial principle and the need to avoid distortion of released acts.
To this end, the Court has been asked to order ALSTOM and VEOLIA TRANSPORT to release a French sworn translation of all documents already released in English, so as to unveil the reality of the French companies’ participation in the construction of the light train.
On June 6th, 2008, the Magistrates’ Court of Nanterre has ruled in favour of AFPS and the PLO. It has sentenced ALSTOM and VEOLIA TRANSPORT to release all documents constituting the concession treaty signed on September 22nd, 2004, as well as the sworn translation of all documents within three months.
Last July, counsels for VEOLIA TRANSPORT and ALSTOM have released the first half of Book 1 of the concession treaty – the specifications of the treaty, then on September 12th, all translations required by Court order.
According to our counsels, the released documents show that ALSTOM and VEOLIA TRANSPORT are directly involved in the execution of this contract, even if they are not signatories of the concession contract signed on September 22nd, 2004 between City Pass, an Israeli company, and the State of Israel.
The same applies for ALSTOM TRANSPORT, which furthermore has an engineering, supplying and construction contract.
Therefore, the PLO and AFPS have brought suit against ALSTOM TRANSPORT to the Magistrates’ Court of Nanterre on November 18th, 2008, so as to prove that its contract is illegal and to prevent the aforementioned company from continuing the execution of its missions.
Pleas of lack of the jurisdiction and of irreceivability relative to the cases brought against ALSTOM, ALSTOM TRANSPORT and VEOLIA TRANSPORT will be heard on February 2nd, 2009.
Paris, December 13th, 2008