Many global food, environmental and farming justice groups, including The Organic Consumers Association (OCA), Regeneration International (RI), IFOAM International Organics, Navdanya and Millions Against Monsanto, have announced they will put Monsanto on trial for crimes against nature, humanity and ecocide in The Hague, Netherlands on World Food Day next year, October 16, 2016.
Monsanto, a US-based transactional corporation, has a safe relationship with the mainstream American press due to heavy involvement in lobbying on Capitol Hill, but agrochemical companies overseas have largely frowned upon and banned Monsanto for obvious health and environmental reasons.
Due to the production of their immensely toxic products, Monsanto has permanently damaged the environment and remains a source of illness and death for thousands of people since the beginning of the twentieth century. These products include polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) which are one of 12 Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP) that negatively alter human and animal fertility; 2,4,5- trichlorophenoxyacetic acid that has proven to cause cancer and birth defects; and Lasso, a powerful herbicide that has bred “superbugs” and “super-weeds” that pose a threat to crop reproduction and species differentiation.
An international court of lawyers and judges are to evaluate criminal liability of Monsanto for damages imposed on the environment and human health. The court will be relying on the “Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights” and the Rome Statute that fabricated the International Criminal Court in The Hague in 2002, which will call upon international criminal law to evaluate the crimes as a prosecutable criminal offense. The announcement of the trial was opened at a press conference in conjunction with the COP21 United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris.
International director of the OCA and Via Organica and member of the RI Steering Committee, Ronnie Cummins, spoke a powerful excerpt in the conference saying,“The time is long overdue for a global citizens’ tribunal to put Monsanto on trial for crimes against humanity and the environment. We are in Paris this month to address the most serious threat that humans have ever faced in our 100-200,000 year evolution—global warming and climate disruption. Why is there so much carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere and not enough carbon organic matter in the soil? Corporate agribusiness, industrial forestry, the garbage and sewage industry and agricultural biotechnology have literally killed the climate-stabilizing, carbon-sink capacity of the Earth’s living soil.”
The irony? Monsanto has sued farmers for over 17 years and never lost a case. In fact, Monsanto has filed over 145 lawsuits against farmers who have “improperly reused their patented seeds” since 1997.
How does Monsanto always win? The biotech giant has been sued for cross-pollination of their “organic” crops with GMO seeds, yet the suits are dismissed under the circumstance that Monsanto had sued the plaintiffs. U.S. courts are telling organic farmers to rely on Monsanto, assuring they won't sue as long as the farmer’s mix of GMO to non-GMO crops are minuscule. However, why would they desire this mix at all? Monsanto cannot control the basic elements of a farming environment, such as rain, wind, insect pollination, and cross-contamination from neighboring farms.
Thankfully, the suit Monsanto will face at The Hague will be far different from that in U.S. courts. The multinational company will be placed on trial in the international court for Crimes against Humanity.
“Monsanto is able to ignore the human and environmental damage caused by its products, and maintain its devastating activities through a strategy of systemic concealment: 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. Monsanto’s history reads like a textbook case of impunity, benefiting transnational corporations and their executives, whose activities contribute to climate and biosphere crisis and threaten the safety of the planet,” said president of IFOAM and member of the RI Steering Committee, Andre Leu.
For more information on the Monsanto tribunal supporting organizations, visit http://regenerationinternational.org/monsanto-tribunal-supporting-organizations/
Written by Madison Carrier