The legal findings of a civil society trial on whether Monsanto is guilty of ecocide, subsequently fostering human rights abuses, were delivered in the Hague on April 18, 2017.
Initial hearings of the international tribunal occurred on October 15 and 16 in 2016 at the Institute of Social Studies, ISS. Over the following months, five internationally renowned judges heard 30 witnesses and experts from five continents speak on the subject.
Monsanto critics claim that the trial, albeit void of legal standing, adds sustenance to the debate on ecocide and how this man-made phenomenon infringes upon our human rights.
On the question of whether Monsanto’s business activities infringe on the right to a clean, sustainable environment, as recognized by international human rights law, the court found the defendant guilty. As outlined in the Summary of the Advisory Opinion of the International Monsanto Tribunal, the court concluded that Monsanto has engaged in practices which have negatively impacted the right to a healthy environment.
The second question pertained to Monsanto’s infringement on the right to food, which also referenced U.N. articles and conventions upholding the rights of children, the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, and economic, social, and cultural rights. Responding to this inquiry the tribunal found Monsanto guilty. The company’s business activities were found to adversely affect food availability for individuals and communities and interfere with the ability of individuals and communities to feed themselves directly or to choose non-genetically modified seeds.
The tribunal found Monsanto highly negligent in its inquiry into the company’s infringement on the public’s right to high standards of health. To support their conclusion the tribunal emphasized that the company manufactured and distributed many dangerous substances such as PCBs, (persistent organic pollutants), glyphosate (an ingredient which has been classified as “probably carcinogenic” by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer and widely used in the commercialization of Roundup), and lastly, but certainly not least, GMOs.
Whether Monsanto infringes on the freedom of scientific research, as well as the freedom of thought and expression, the tribunal concluded that the multinational firm was guilty. Monsanto, in fact, practices forms of intimidation, discredits independent scientific research that supports environmental protection and public health policies, and pressures governments to conform to its business model and policies.
The fifth question concerned Monsanto’s complicity in war crimes during the U.S. War of Aggression Against Vietnam. During this period (1962–1973), over 70 million liters of Agent Orange (containing dioxin) was deposited on roughly 2.6 million hectares of land, causing severe health problems in the Vietnamese civilian population. That chemical also harmed U.S., Australian, New Zealand, and Korean vets resulting in litigation implicating Monsanto’s involvement in the war. However, the tribunal did not give a definitive response to this inquiry, only stating that Monsanto probably knew how its products would be used and had prior knowledge of the product’s health consequences.
On the sixth and final question, the tribunal concluded that if ecocide were recognized as a crime by international criminal law, Monsanto would possibly be found guilty. Having reached this conclusion the court assessed that the crime of ecocide should be precisely and clearly defined and asserted by international criminal law.
Additional Reading: Monsanto-Tribunal.org
Published to stellar praise worldwide, The World According to Monsanto charts award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker Marie-Monique Robin’s three-year journey across four continents to uncover the disturbing practices of multinational agribusiness corporation Monsanto.
The book exposes the shocking story of how the new “green” face of the world’s leading producer of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) is no less malign than its PCB—and Agent Orange—soaked past. Monsanto currently controls the majority of the yield of the world’s genetically modified corn and soy—ingredients found in more than 95 percent of American households—and its alarming legal and political tactics to maintain this monopoly are the subject of worldwide concern, with baleful consequences for the world’s small-scale farmers.
Selected as a finalist for the New York Public Library’s 2011 Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism, The World According to Monsanto is positioned to increase awareness of a serious threat to our food supply.
We’re Monsanto refutes every major claim Monsanto makes to justify its political corruption, environmental destruction, and take over of the world’s food supply. It demonstrates that the genetic revolution is founded upon greed, theft, and violence, profiting a few wealthy individuals while destroying biodiversity as well as the livelihoods of billions of the world’s farmers and seed savers.
Imagine that a storm blows across your garden and that now, genetically-manipulated seeds are in your crops. A multi-national corporation pay you a visit, demand that you surrender your crops – and then sue you for $200 000 for the illegal use of patented crops.