Veolia & Alstom lawsuit (re Jerusalem rail project)

Jerusalem Light Rail, Credit: Matanya, Creative CommonsPour la version française de ce profil, cliquez ici.

In October 2007, Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS) and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) filed a lawsuit against Alstom and Veolia in the Tribunal de Grande Instance (Nanterre, France).  The plaintiffs alleged that the companies’ involvement in a consortium which contracted with the Israeli Government in July 2005 to construct and operate a light rail project in Jerusalem violated international law.  City-Pass Consortium was made up of Alstom, Alstom Transport, Veolia, and four Israeli companies.

The plaintiffs claimed the companies’ involvement in the light rail project contravenes international law by allegedly aiding and abetting Israel’s occupation and commission of war crimes, in relation to West Jerusalem.  The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants’ actions violate international humanitarian law and certain sections of the French Civil Code.  The plaintiffs sought an injunction to cancel the contract and halt construction of the light rail project.  In October 2007, the corporate defendants moved to dismiss the case and questioned the admissibility of AFPS’ requests to nullify the contract, arguing that it was outside the scope of French jurisdiction.

In April 2009, without reaching the merits of the case, the Nanterre Tribunal ruled that it was within its jurisdiction to hear the case.  It also ruled that the PLO could not be accepted as a co-plaintiff.  The Tribunal underlined that the defendants were not in a position to plead immunity, as corporate entities are not included as subjects of sovereign immunity.

Alstom and its subsidiary Alstom Transport, appealed the decision of the Tribunal de Grande Instance in November 2009.  Veolia did not contest the ruling; it sold its shares in the City Pass Consortium to Dan Bus Company in September 2009.

In December 2009, the Appeals Court upheld the rulings of the Tribunal de Grande Instance; emphasising that it had jurisdiction to hear the case.  In February 2010, Alstom appealed this decision (particularly, the jurisdiction of the French courts) to the French Supreme Court (Cour de Cassation).  In February 2011, the Supreme Court rejected the appeal.

In May 2011, the Nanterre Tribunal ruled on the merits and rejected the plaintiffs’ arguments to cancel the contract.  AFPS and PLO appealed the decision.  The Appeals Court decision of 22 March 2013 declared that PLO could be accepted as co-plaintiff, but ruled the suit was inadmissible.  The court found that the international agreements in question create obligations between states, and could not be used to hold two private companies liable.  The court ordered AFPS and PLO to pay € 30,000 to each of the three companies to cover their expenses during the lawsuit.

The construction work of the tram has already been completed, and the tram started to operate in summer 2011.

- [FR] “Alstom: conforté par la justice pour le tramway de Jérusalem" Cercle Finance, 27 mars 2013
- [FR] “La décision du tribunal français sur le tramway de Jérusalem ne doit pas être acceptée”, Daniel Machover & Adri Nieuwhof, Electronic Intifada 29 juin 2011
“French firm contests ruling on rail project in Occupied Jerusalem”, Abbas Al Lawati, Gulf News, 13 Feb 2010
- “Jerusalem’s first light rail is test case in Palestinian boycott campaign”
, Karin Laub, Canadian Press, 29 Jan 2010
“French Court to Hear Israeli Tram Case”, David Gauthier–Villars, Wall Street Journal, 17 Apr 2009
“PLO disputes Jerusalem rail plan”, Rory McCarthy, Angelique Chrisafis, Guardian, 26 Oct 2007

 - Alstom:
- [FR] “Tramway de Jérusalem: la Cour d’Appel de Versailles tranche en faveur d’Alstom”, 27 mars 2013
- “Jerusalem tramway: French justice rules out the legal action against Alstom”, 27 Mar 2013

- Veolia : [FR] Dossier sur le projet de tramway de Jérusalem

- Association France Palestine Solidarité:
- [FR] Tramway colonial : un jugement incompréhensible de la cour d’appel, 25 Mar 2013
- [FR] L’état des procédures engagées sur le tramway de Jérusalem, 4 Dec 2012
- [FR] L’état des pro­cé­dures engagées par l’AFPS et l’OLP concernant le tramway de Jérusalem, 19 Sep 2012
- [FR] L’AFPS et l’OLP font appel du jugement du TGI de Nanterre du 30 mai 2011, 11 Jul 2011
- [FR] Tramway de Jéru­salem : le dossier peut être jugé sur le fond au Tri­bunal de grande ins­tance de Nanterre, 9 Feb 2010
- [FR] Action en justice de l’Afps (et de l’OLP) contre la construction et l’exploitation d’un tramway à Jérusalem-Est : suite à l’audience du 9 novembre 2009, 3 Dec 2009

- [FR] Cour d’appel de Versailles, France, [PDF],Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS), L’Organisation de Libération de la Palestine (OLP) c. S.A. Alstom, S.A. Alstom Transport, S.A. Veolia , 22 mars 2013
- [FR] Tribunal de Grande Instance, Nanterre, France [PDF]Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS), L’Organisation de Libération de la Palestine (OLP) c. S.A. Alstom, S.A. Alstom Transport, S.A. Veolia, 30 mai 2011

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Author: Gwynne Skinner, Robert McCorquodale, Olivier De Schutter & Andie Lambe

"第三大支柱: 讓跨國公司侵犯人權行為的受害者獲得司法救濟", 2013年2月

“獲得司法救濟項目”(A2JR)設立的目的是確認並分析美國、加拿大和歐洲在該領域存在的阻礙…在開發該報告過程中我們進行了詳盡的現狀分析,結論顯示國家普遍沒有承擔為企業境外侵權行為的受害者提供有效司法救濟的義務。受害者在尋求救濟時仍然面臨著眾多的阻礙,有時還出現尋求救濟的途徑被完全堵死的情況。雖然相關國家在立法、法庭程序、人權保護和法律傳統方面存在著差異,但在所有司法制度下都存在著阻礙受害者尋求救助的情況。在一些案例中,這些阻礙被成功地克服,其原因往往是:律師採用了全新的訴訟方案;受害者有足夠的耐心;有著敏銳洞察力的法官願意受理此類維權訴訟。國家必須制定強硬、一致的政策,重申受害者的人權重於企業的經濟利益。企業侵權人權行為的受害者,無論侵權行為在何地發生,都有權獲得全面、有效的司法救濟。為實現上述目標,每一個國家都應該審視司法制度中的存在障礙,並考慮採取行動加以消除,特別是考慮本報告提出的相關建議...

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Author: Gwynne Skinner, Robert McCorquodale, Olivier De Schutter & Andie Lambe

"第三大支柱: 让跨国公司侵犯人权行为的受害者获得司法救济", 2013年2月

“获得司法救济项目”(A2JR)设立的目的是确认并分析美国、加拿大和欧洲在该领域存在的阻碍…在开发该报告过程中我们进行了详尽的现状分析,结论显示国家普遍没有承担为企业境外侵权行为的受害者提供有效司法救济的义务。受害者在寻求救济时仍然面临着众多的阻碍,有时还出现寻求救济的途径被完全堵死的情况。虽然相关国家在立法、法庭程序、人权保护和法律传统方面存在着差异,但在所有司法制度下都存在着阻碍受害者寻求救助的情况。在一些案例中,这些阻碍被成功地克服,其原因往往是:律师采用了全新的诉讼方案;受害者有足够的耐心;有着敏锐洞察力的法官愿意受理此类维权诉讼。国家必须制定强硬、一致的政策,重申受害者的人权重于企业的经济利益。企业侵权人权行为的受害者,无论侵权行为在何地发生,都有权获得全面、有效的司法救济。为实现上述目标,每一个国家都应该审视司法制度中的存在障碍,并考虑采取行动加以消除,特别是考虑本报告提出的相关建议...

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20 December 2013

[PDF] Corporate Legal Accountability Quarterly Bulletin – Issue 11, December 2013

Author: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Welcome to the 11th issue of the Corporate Legal Accountability Quarterly Bulletin. To assist all those following corporate legal accountability issues, we send this bulletin to highlight key developments, new cases profiled on our site, updates to existing profiles, and other news. Our Corporate Legal Accountability Portal is an online information hub providing resources for non- lawyers as well as lawyers – including victims, advocates, NGOs, businesspeople, lawyers bringing lawsuits against companies and lawyers defending companies. The portal provides impartial, concise information about lawsuits against companies in which human rights abuses are alleged – its aim is to demystify these lawsuits. Each case profile includes materials from both the plaintiffs and defendants, to the extent they are available...[Refers to African Rainbow Minerals, Alstom, Amesys (part of Bull), AngloGold Ashanti, Argor-Heraeus, BP, Bull, CACI, Chevron, Davao Fruits, Ford, Gold Fields, Harmony Gold, HudBay Minerals, IBM, Kaweri (part of Neumann Gruppe), Koh Kong Sugar, Lapanday Agricultural Development, Nestlé, Neumann Gruppe, Texaco (part of Chevron), Titan Corporation (now L-3 Services, part of L-3 Communications), Veolia Environnement, Veolia Transport (part of Veolia Environnement)]

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Article
10 December 2013

[PDF] Businesses across the Middle East must put human rights above the bottom line - New report lifts the lid on the business practices of dozens of companies operating across the Middle East

Author: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

[Arabic and French versions below] Companies operating across the Middle East must uphold human rights according to a new report by an international human rights organisation. The new report, released today in Arabic, English and French by the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre to mark Human Rights Day, looks at how Middle Eastern companies and international firms operating in the region across a range of sectors are meeting – and failing to meet – their responsibility to respect the human rights of workers and communities...

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Article
1 December 2013

[PDF] The Third Pillar: Access to Judicial Remedies for Human Rights Violations by Transnational Business

Author: Gwynne Skinner, Robert McCorquodale, Olivier De Schutter & Andie Lambe

The Access to Judicial Remedy (A2JR) Project set out to identify and analyze the barriers in the United States, Canada, and Europe…The detailed mapping exercise undertaken in the development of this Report shows that States are generally not fulfilling their obligation to ensure access to effective judicial remedies to victims of human rights violations by businesses operating outside their territory. Victims continue to face barriers that at times can completely block their access to an effective remedy…These barriers have been overcome in only some instances…Victims of human rights violations by business, wherever the violations occur, are entitled to full and effective access to judicial remedies. In order to provide this, each State should examine the barriers in their jurisdiction and consider the range of actions they can take to alleviate them, and in particular, the recommendations contained in this Report…[Refers to Alstom, Amesys (part of Bull), Anvil Mining (part of China Minmetals), Barrick Gold, Bull, Cambior, Cape PLC, Chevron, Chiquita, Daimler, DLH (Dalhoff Larsen & Horneman), Drummond, ExxonMobil, HudBay Minerals, Monterrico Metals (part of Zijin), Shell, Talisman, Texaco (part of Chevron), Thor Chemicals, Unocal (part of Chevron), Veolia Environnement (formerly Vivendi), Veolia Transport (part of Veolia Environnement), Walmart, Zijin]

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Article
19 September 2013

[PDF] Corporate Legal Accountability Quarterly Bulletin – Issue 10, Sep 2013

Author: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Welcome to the 10th issue of the Corporate Legal Accountability Quarterly Bulletin. To assist all those following corporate legal accountability issues, we send this bulletin to highlight key developments, new cases profiled on our site, updates to existing profiles, and other news. Our Corporate Legal Accountability Portal is an online information hub providing resources for non-lawyers as well as lawyers – including victims, advocates, NGOs, businesspeople, lawyers bringing lawsuits against companies and lawyers defending companies. The portal provides impartial, concise information about lawsuits against companies in which human rights abuses are alleged – its aim is to demystify these lawsuits. Each case profile includes materials from both the plaintiffs and defendants, to the extent they are available…This bulletin is now available in Spanish and French. [Refers to African Barrick Gold, Alstom, BP, CACI, Chevron, Coca-Cola, COMILOG (part of ERAMET), Daimler, Danzer, Dow Chemical, Drummond, ERAMET, Ford, HudBay Minerals, IBM, KBR, Ledesma, Mercedes-Benz (part of Daimler), Monterrico Metals, Nestlé, PA Child Care, Qosmos, Rio Tinto, Shell, Sinter Metal, SNCF, Texaco (part of Chevron), Thomson Safaris, Total, Union Carbide (part of Dow), Vedanta Resources, Veolia (part of Veolia Environnement), Veolia Environnement, Walmart]

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Article
9 June 2013

[PDF] Corporate Legal Accountability Quarterly Bulletin – Issue 9, June 2013

Author: Compiled by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Welcome to the 9th issue of the Corporate Legal Accountability Quarterly Bulletin. To assist all those following corporate legal accountability issues, we send this bulletin to highlight key developments, new cases profiled on our site, updates to existing profiles, and other news. Our Corporate Legal Accountability Portal is an online information hub providing resources for non-lawyers as well as lawyers – including victims, advocates, NGOs, businesspeople, lawyers bringing lawsuits against companies and lawyers defending companies. The portal provides impartial, concise information about lawsuits against companies in which human rights abuses are alleged – its aim is to demystify these lawsuits. Each case profile includes materials from both the plaintiffs and defendants, to the extent they are available.[Refers to adidas, Agua Mineral Chusmiza, Alstom, Areva, BASF, BP, CACI, Chevron, Chiquita, Drummond, DynCorp, ExxonMobil, HudBay Minerals, Monterrico Metals (part of Zijin), Rio Tinto, Shell, Tate & Lyle, Texaco (part of Chevron), Titan (now L-3), Vedanta Resources, Veolia Transport (part of Veolia Environnement)]

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Article
15 May 2013

The Global Lawyer: Kiobel's Continental Cousins

Author: Michael D. Goldhaber, Litigation Daily [USA]

On the first day of spring…I told a European audience in Paris why the law of U.S. corporate alien tort was about to wither. I expected to hear at the conference…about civil actions for corporate accountability taking root on the Continent. But I soon learned that Europe's fresh shoots are mostly in the soilbox of criminal law… My main takeaway from the Paris conference is that corporate accountability on the Continent seems more likely to be advanced through criminal than civil actions. Perhaps…it's because European criminal law can empower NGOs while keeping the safety screen of prosecutorial discretion. I learned that criminal cases are easier to win against executives than businesses… [refers to Alstom, Veolia, Amesys (part of Bull), Qosmos, Shell, Riwal, Danzer]

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Article
1 May 2013

Backtracking on Responsibility: French Court Absolves Veolia for Unlawful Railway Construction in Occupied Territory

Author: Valentina Azarov, Al-Quds University, in Rights as Usual

[Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Veolia to respond. Veolia's response is provided below] On 22 March 2013…the Versailles Court of Appeal dismissed the case against two French companies, Alstom and Veolia, for their involvement in a contract for the construction of a light railway between illegal Israeli settlements located in East Jerusalem, inside the Palestinian territory of the West Bank, and West Jerusalem, territory located inside Israel’s internationally-recognised borders…The decision holds that private companies are not subjects of international law and do not have international legal personality…As such, the international legal obligations relied on by the claimants were neither directly applicable to private companies, nor did they give rise to rights that can be claimed by individuals…In so doing, the Court adopts a position that strikingly backtracks on the important international developments concerning the responsibility of multinational companies under international law, including to ‘protect, respect and remedy’ human rights…

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Lawsuit
25 April 2013

Veolia & Alstom lawsuit (re Jerusalem rail project)

Author: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Pour une version française de ce profil, cliquez ici.

In October 2007, Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS) and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) filed a lawsuit against Alstom and Veolia in the Tribunal de Grande Instance (Nanterre, France).  The plaintiffs alleged that the companies’ involvement in a consortium which contracted with the Israeli Government in July 2005 to construct and operate a light rail project in Jerusalem violated international law.  City-Pass Consortium was made up of Alstom, Alstom Transport, Veolia, and four Israeli companies.

The plaintiffs claimed the companies’ involvement in the light rail project contravenes international law by allegedly aiding and abetting Israel’s occupation and commission of war crimes, in relation to West Jerusalem.  The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants’ actions violate international humanitarian law and certain sections of the French Civil Code.  The plaintiffs sought an injunction to cancel the contract and halt construction of the light rail project.  In October 2007, the corporate defendants moved to dismiss the case and questioned the admissibility of AFPS’ requests to nullify the contract, arguing that it was outside the scope of French jurisdiction.

In April 2009, without reaching the merits of the case, the Nanterre Tribunal ruled that it was within its jurisdiction to hear the case.  It also ruled that the PLO could not be accepted as a co-plaintiff.  The Tribunal underlined that the defendants were not in a position to plead immunity, as corporate entities are not included as subjects of sovereign immunity.

Alstom and its subsidiary Alstom Transport, appealed the decision of the Tribunal de Grande Instance in November 2009.  Veolia did not contest the ruling; it sold its shares in the City Pass Consortium to Dan Bus Company in September 2009.

In December 2009, the Appeals Court upheld the rulings of the Tribunal de Grande Instance; emphasising that it had jurisdiction to hear the case.  In February 2010, Alstom appealed this decision (particularly, the jurisdiction of the French courts) to the French Supreme Court (Cour de Cassation).  In February 2011, the Supreme Court rejected the appeal.

In May 2011, the Nanterre Tribunal ruled on the merits and rejected the plaintiffs’ arguments to cancel the contract.  AFPS and PLO appealed the decision.  The Appeals Court decision of 22 March 2013 declared that PLO could be accepted as co-plaintiff, but ruled the suit was inadmissible.  The court found that the international agreements in question create obligations between states, and could not be used to hold two private companies liable.  The court ordered AFPS and PLO to pay € 30,000 to each of the three companies to cover their expenses during the lawsuit.

The construction work of the tram has already been completed, and the tram started to operate in summer 2011.

- [FR] “Alstom: conforté par la justice pour le tramway de Jérusalem" Cercle Finance, 27 mars 2013
- [FR] “La décision du tribunal français sur le tramway de Jérusalem ne doit pas être acceptée”, Daniel Machover & Adri Nieuwhof, Electronic Intifada 29 juin 2011
- “French firm contests ruling on rail project in Occupied Jerusalem”, Abbas Al Lawati, Gulf News, 13 Feb 2010
- “Jerusalem’s first light rail is test case in Palestinian boycott campaign”
, Karin Laub, Canadian Press, 29 Jan 2010
- “French Court to Hear Israeli Tram Case”, David Gauthier–Villars, Wall Street Journal, 17 Apr 2009
- “PLO disputes Jerusalem rail plan”, Rory McCarthy, Angelique Chrisafis, Guardian, 26 Oct 2007

 - Alstom:
- [FR] “Tramway de Jérusalem: la Cour d’Appel de Versailles tranche en faveur d’Alstom”, 27 mars 2013
- “Jerusalem tramway: French justice rules out the legal action against Alstom”, 27 Mar 2013

- Veolia : [FR] Dossier sur le projet de tramway de Jérusalem

- Association France Palestine Solidarité:
- [FR] Tramway colonial : un jugement incompréhensible de la cour d’appel, 25 Mar 2013
- [FR] L’état des procédures engagées sur le tramway de Jérusalem, 4 Dec 2012
- [FR] L’état des pro­cé­dures engagées par l’AFPS et l’OLP concernant le tramway de Jérusalem, 19 Sep 2012
- [FR] L’AFPS et l’OLP font appel du jugement du TGI de Nanterre du 30 mai 2011, 11 Jul 2011
- [FR] Tramway de Jéru­salem : le dossier peut être jugé sur le fond au Tri­bunal de grande ins­tance de Nanterre, 9 Feb 2010
- [FR] Action en justice de l’Afps (et de l’OLP) contre la construction et l’exploitation d’un tramway à Jérusalem-Est : suite à l’audience du 9 novembre 2009, 3 Dec 2009

- [FR] Cour d’appel de Versailles, France, [PDF], Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS), L’Organisation de Libération de la Palestine (OLP) c. S.A. Alstom, S.A. Alstom Transport, S.A. Veolia , 22 mars 2013
- [FR] Tribunal de Grande Instance, Nanterre, France [PDF] Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS), L’Organisation de Libération de la Palestine (OLP) c. S.A. Alstom, S.A. Alstom Transport, S.A. Veolia, 30 mai 2011