at work yet again . . .
BBC News - France fined for deporting JewsFrance's government and state railways have been ordered to pay compensation for deporting Jews during World War II.
The case was brought by people whose relatives were taken by train to a transit camp at Drancy near Paris during the Nazi occupation of France.
More than 75,000 French Jews were transported from the camp to death camps in Germany.
The court found that the French state and the rail company, SNCF, had been complicit in crimes against humanity.
The government and SNCF have been ordered to pay compensation of 60,000 euros ($80,000, £43,000) to the family.
Campaigners have called a landmark decision, but the SNCF says it plans to appeal.
"I'm amazed by the ruling. I can't understand it," a lawyer acting for SNCF said.
Yves Baudelot said the company could not be held responsible because it had been forced to cooperate with German occupying forces during the war.
"The SNCF had no choice. The (Nazis) told the SNCF by letter that they had to do everything the German authorities wanted, and if someone refused, they would be shot," he said.
That argument has been accepted by judges in previous cases, who ruled that the SNCF had been commandeered by German forces during the war. "Historic"
The case was brought by Alain Lipietz, a member of the European Parliament, and his sister, Helene.
They told the court how their father and several other relatives were rounded up in Toulouse in mid-1944 and put on a train to Drancy.
Mr Lipietz, whose father and another relative survived, described the ruling as "historic".
"It is the first time in history that the state and the SNCF as such have been condemned. The court recognised that these were not the actions of individuals or of some collaborator or another but the responsibility of the state," he said.
Records show that the SNCF billed the French state for the journeys and carried on demanding money for the transfers even after France had been liberated.
Mr Lipietz said the judgement was recognition that the wartime state and its railways had done rather more than what had been asked of them by the occupiers.
The subject of France's wartime conduct is still a taboo in much of the country, the BBC's Caroline Wyatt in Paris says.
President Chirac's recognition in 1995 of France's role in deporting its Jews helped heal some of the rawer wounds - and made the judgement possible, our correspondent says.