"Erika": the Supreme Court will issue its decision on September 25

The Maltese tanker "Erika" sinking off Penmarc in Finistere, 12 December 1999.

The Supreme Court will issue its decision on September 25 convictions Total and three other defendants in the case of the Erika oil spill occurred in 1999, announced Thursday, May 24 the President of the Criminal Division, Bertrand Louvel. The Supreme Court has a few extra months to determine if it commits or rolls back the sentences, as recommended by the General Counsel to the great indignation of the plaintiffs. The Criminal Division and must decide on the lawfulness of the judgment in 2010 by the Court of Appeal of Paris, and not on the merits of the case.

The sinking of the Erika, 12 December 1999, had defiled French coast 400 kilometers from the tip of Finistère in the Charente-Maritime and oiled some 150,000 birds. On 30 March 2010, the charterer of the vessel Total classification society Rina, the owner Giuseppe Savarese and manager Antonio Pollara were sentenced for criminal pollution on appeal. All had a cassation. The plaintiffs had received 200.6 million euros in compensation, about 13 million for their environmental damage.


The Advocate General Didier Boccon-Gibod said Thursday that the Cassation's judgment in 2010 on the Erika oil spill is "the only way legally possible," confirming his written submissions made public in early April in a statement that was caused a stir politicians and associations. He then recommended "cassation without reference" of the contested judgment, that is to say a final cancellation of the procedure. It considers that the French court was not competent to judge the wreck of a ship flying the Maltese flag, which occurred outside the territorial waters, exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

"I understand that this opinion offends consciences, that a scandal," said Mr. Boccon-Gibod. It "does not tend to suggest that the sinking of the Erika is an acceptable event," he said. But "for the mistakes are punished, we must apply a text and that's the rub," said he estimated, considering that "in legal terms, this procedure raises insoluble problems."

Although Malta has not initiated proceedings, the French law of 1983, which are based on the prosecution could not apply because it did not comply with international conventions signed by France, says attorney general . It also calls into question the specific compensation for environmental damage. Whatever the decision of the Supreme Court, said that the total compensation of € 171 million that was paid to the plaintiffs in the first trial in 2008 was "final."

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