The Tribunal is scheduled to take place at The Hague and will begin on October 12 ending on October 16, 2016 (World Food Day). Organic Consumers reports that a global protest will also be staged worldwide against Monsanto on World Food Day. The announcement of the International Monsanto Tribunal and protest were announced during a press conference “held in conjunction with the COP21 United Nations Conference on Climate Change, November 30 – December 11, in Paris” (2).
There has been some confusion on social media where people have incorrectly reported that the Tribunal is being held by the UN (United Nations). That’s no doubt due to the timing of the announcement as well as The Hague also being home to the UN’s International Court of Justice. In addition, The Hague is also the government seat for the Netherlands and host to over 150 international organizations (3).
The group has been clear about their goals for holding the Tribunal. RT states that one of those goals is to “research and evaluate all of the allegations made against Monsanto in connection to all the damages its products have caused to human health and the environment.”
The Tribunal also wishes to establish “ecocide” as a crime. To this end, the group is charged with examining claims about “Monsanto’s crimes against nature and humanity”. The organization believes that establishing crimes of ecocide is “the only way to guarantee the right of humans to a healthy environment and the right of nature to be protected.”
Tribunal Principles to Mirror Those of UN and ICC
While the International Monsanto Tribunal isn’t being conducted by the international criminal court, the organization will follow the 2011 UN “Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights”. In addition, the organization states it will gauge any possible criminal liability of Monsanto based on the 2002 Rome Statue that was created by “the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague”.
Under these guidelines, the Tribunal will further consider if international criminal laws need to be amended to include ecocide as a “crime against the environment”. If so, then the law would apply to individuals who would then be held accountable for committing the criminal act of ecocide. Steps would then be made to amend the current laws.
At the press conference, Regeneration International (RI), a network of various organizations and professionals, was represented by several spokespersons (5).
Vandana Shiva, physicist, author, activist and founder of Navdanya (India) said: “Monsanto has pushed GMOs in order to collect royalties from poor farmers, trapping them in unpayable debt, and pushing them to suicide. Monsanto promotes an agro-industrial model that contributes at least 50 percent of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Monsanto is also largely responsible for the depletion of soil and water resources, species extinction and declining biodiversity, and the displacement of millions of small farmers worldwide.”
Harsh accusations against Monsanto were waged by Andre Leu, president of IFOAM and RI Steering Committee member. Leu accused Monsanto of being able to continue its “devastating practices” and ignoring the damage it has done to the environment and human life, “by lobbying regulatory agencies and governments, by resorting to lying and corruption, by financing fraudulent scientific studies, by pressuring independent scientists, and by manipulating the press and media.”
Marie-Monique Robin, journalist and author of the best-selling documentary, “The World According Monsanto,” said:
This International Citizens’ Tribunal is necessary because the defense of the safety of the planet and the conditions of life on Earth is everyone’s concern. Only through a collective resurgence of all living forces will we stop the engine of destruction. That’s why today I am calling on all citizens of the world to participate in this exemplary tribunal.”
Support for Tribunal
The Tribunal is supported by various concerned groups that include Organic Consumers Association (OCA) (Hdqrs USA), Navdanya (Hdqrs India), Regeneration International (RI) (Global Network), IFOAM International Organics (Hdqrs Germany) and Millions Against Monsanto “as well as dozens more farming and environmental groups”.
At the press conference, Ronnie Cummins, president of OCA stated, “The time is long overdue for a global citizens’ tribunal to put Monsanto (5) on trial for crimes against humanity and the environment.”
The funding for the International Monsanto Tribunal is being organized through a crowdfunding initiative. “The Steering Committee of the Monsanto Tribunal decided that the costs incurred in the organisation and running of the Tribunal should be financed by the citizens of the world and by civil society organizations. Indeed, the steering Committee believes that the defense of the safety of the planet and its inhabitants is the concern of all people!” (6)
References & Image Credits:
(1) TSW: Why You Should Care about Monsanto and Genetically Modified Food
(2) Organic Consumers
(3) Wikipedia: The Hague
(4) Organic Consumers
(5) TSW: Why You Should Care About Monsanto and Genetically Modified Food
(6) Monsanto Tribunal