The secret deals struck between the French army and 'collateral' victims


France’s armed forces regularly enter into financial compensation agreements with innocent victims, or in the worst cases their relatives, of military actions abroad. The exact amounts paid by the public purse, and their numbers, are held secret, even to Members of Parliament. Justine Brabant has written a book on the subject, and in this report, updated with new details, she recounts the degrading haggling that victims are subjected to, the less than noble motives behind the often derisory damages awards, and how the taking of an innocent woman’s life in the African state of Chad was valued at 35 heads of cattle.

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On the morning of Saturday, September 19th 2015, Aurore Zengaïs was driving her scooter along the avenue des Martyrs in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, on her way to work at the country’s social affairs ministry.