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3 Dec 2020

Huy Le & Joshua Lipes, Radio Free Asia

Group Applauds Taiwan Supreme Court Ruling in Favor of Vietnam Victims of Toxic Spill

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3 December 2020

A group representing victims of an environmental catastrophe caused by a Taiwan-owned steel plant off of Vietnam’s central coast on Thursday applauded a decision by Taiwan’s Supreme Court to allow their lawsuit against the plant’s owner to proceed after it was earlier dismissed by a lower court.

Formosa Plastics Group steel plant caused a toxic spill in 2016 that killed an estimated 115 tons of fish and left fishermen and tourism workers jobless in four of Vietnam’s central provinces.

[...] on March 16, the petitioners re-appealed the High Court ruling to the Supreme Court, which on Nov. 18 overturned the decision, citing Article 20 of Taiwan’s Code of Civil Procedure. The Supreme Court said the provision, which holds that “the court other than that for the location of a codefendant’s domicile may obtain jurisdiction over the action … instead of the court of the codefendant’s domicile,” can be applied because Formosa is headquartered in Taiwan.

“In sum, the petitioners argued that the said Ruling of Taiwan High Court erred in its application of the law is not without merits,” the Supreme Court decision said.

“The Ruling of Taiwan High Court above is rescinded and Taiwan High Court shall make a new ruling.”

Speaking to RFA’s Vietnamese Service on Thursday, Nancy Bui, deputy chairwoman of the Justice Association for Formosa Victims, welcomed the court ruling and said her group will be busy preparing ahead of new proceedings.

“The verdict by the Taiwan Supreme Court, first of all, is much appreciated and shows us that Taiwan’s judiciary enjoys independence,” she said.


Part of the following timelines

Vietnam: Fish deaths blamed on Formosa Plastics; Taiwan Court dismisses Vietnamese farmers' lawsuit over environmental damage

Formosa Plastics lawsuit (re marine pollution in Vietnam, filed in Taiwan)