Air France Flight 4590: Justice at Last?
Air France Flight 4590 crashed on July 25, 2000, killing all 109 passengers and four people on the ground when it lost control and struck a hotel. For the last ten years, a legal case has been pending against Air France, Continental Airlines Inc., and a Continental mechanic.
In a decision that is causing controversy all over the world, the Christian Science Monitor reports, all the French defendants have been acquitted while American-based continental and mechanic John Taylor were found guilty of manslaughter.
Critics of the decision point to the fact that Air France was a state-run airline at the time, and believe that the French court ruling is "patriotic" and designed to protect the country's interests rather than provide actual justice for the families of those affected.
The French courts have not responded to these accusations.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, Continental has been ordered to pay Air France $1.43 million in damages for "damaging its reputation." Reports from the courtproceedings, however, indicate that Air France knew about the mechanical problems associated with that style of plane for 20 years leading up to the accident.
Lawyer Ronald Schmid, who has served as an advocate for several of the victims' families, said, "It bothers me that none of those responsible for Air France were sitting in the docks." In a phone interview with the Associated Press from Frankfurt, he said he was "skeptical" about the ruling.
What do you think should be done about the French ruling? Should it be honored as law, or shouldan international tribunalreopen the investigation and rule accordingly? Share your thoughts with us below.