26 March, 2002, 20:52 GMT
soldiers sue over cancer
The soldiers worked in both the former East and West of Germany
soldiers who say they contracted cancer through operating military radar
machinery have launched lawsuits against the government, and plan further
action against the US manufacturers.
systematically ignored every safety precaution
Geulen, representing 773 alleged victims or their families, said he had
brought a first set of suits forward due to the army's negligence and
the defence ministry's failure to pay compensation.
had operated radar equipment for either the West German or East German
armies between the 1950s and the 1980s. The majority of the plaintiffs
currently suffer from cancer.
is seeking minimum damages of 60,000 euros ($52,770) per person in six
test cases which have been filed in two regional German courts. "The
army systematically ignored every safety precaution," he told a news
conference. "The behaviour of the defence minister towards the victims
has been shabby."
Glanar, a 54-year-old former soldier who had his hand amputated in 1990
due to bone cancer, appeared by his lawyer's side at the news conference.
I had worn a lead glove, I would still have my hand," he said.
defence ministry denies Mr Geulen's allegations, and says it is trying
to deal with the applications for damages as quickly as possible.
it has received 1,600 requests from radar operators, of which 500 have
soldiers have been awarded monthly payments.
is also to launch a $350m lawsuit in May on behalf of 400 former soldiers
against the US manufacturers of the machinery. It alleges that the equipment
was imperfectly set up and lacking in adequate shielding devices. The
manufacturers include Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and Lucent.
the soldiers involved in the legal action against the German Government
worked with radar machines built by Dutch, British and Soviet manufacturers,
but their names have not been mentioned.
said he expected US, Dutch and Greek victims who worked on the US machines
to take part in the legal action.
wishes for Christmas and a healthy 2003, once again, from Citizens' Initiative