6 May 2013

French court rules that companies engaged in building projects in Israel are not bound by international humanitarian law

On 22 March, the Versailles Court of Appeal ruled that international humanitarian law does not create direct obligations for a private company involved in a tramway building project in Jerusalem. The lawsuit was initiated in 2007 against the French company Alstom for violations of international law on the basis that the company provided equipment for a tramway building project in Jerusalem, supervised by the State of Israel. Alstom signed a concession contract with Israel. The Court considered that the Fourth Geneva Convention 1949, Additional Protocol 1 to Geneva Conventions, the Hague regulations and the Hague Convention do not create direct obligations that may be placed upon private companies. The Court also held that, supposing that the Israel’s litigious concession contract constituted a violation of international law, this violation would not invalidate the contract (because the contract is governed by Israeli law and not by the French Civil Code).

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Source: Cour D'appel de Versailles | Association France-Palestine Solidarite “AFPS” C/ Societe Alstom Transport SA | Code nac: 59A | 3ème chambre | R.G. N° 11/05331 | 22 Mars 2013 (in French)
Source: Rights as Usual | Backtracking on Responsibility: French Court Absolves Veolia for Unlawful Railway Construction in Occupied Territory

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