Hungarian civil lawsuit to be launched against Romanian company for cyanide spill

BUDAPEST, Jul 13, 2000 -- (BBC) The Hungarian Pan-European Lawyers' Union will file a civil lawsuit on Friday [14th July], on behalf of the injured parties along the Tisza and Szamos rivers against the Romanian Aurul company, in joint Romanian-Australian ownership, because of its cyanide spill which hit the east Hungarian rivers last February.

Union president Erika Mayer, told MTI on Wednesday that the union is to launch the civil case proceedings in the capital's Pest Central District Court.

Mayer said that on the basis of extremely unfavorable experiences of the tourism season so far, it seems that the civil lawsuit claims will surpass the hitherto estimated HUF 1bn along the Tisza and Szamos rivers. (USD 1 = HUF 273)

The two Hungarian plaintiffs chosen for the first lawsuit live at the Tisza Lake in eastern Hungary and are engaged in village tourism. Scores of tourists have cancelled bookings for the summer season in view of the cyanide spill in February. Their concrete damage claim is several hundred thousands of forints for the period so far.

"In the first cases, we would like for the court to ascertain the fact of environmental pollution itself and the decline in the value of the region due to that, for which the party causing the damage must accept responsibility," Mayer said.

Source: MTI news agency, Budapest, in English 1120 GMT 12 Jul 00.

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