by Staff Writers
The Hague (AFP) April 18, 2017
An informal people's tribunal headed by five professional international judges Tuesday accused US seeds firm Monsanto of harming the environment and possible "ecocide".
Monsanto, which produces genetically-modified seeds as well as controversial pesticides, however said the event was "staged by a select group of anti-agriculture technology and anti-Monsanto critics."
Held in The Hague over two days and organised by hundreds of grassroots groups, the tribunal found that the US-based company "has engaged in practices which have negatively impacted the right to a healthy environment."
The panel of judges heard some 30 witnesses from countries as diverse as Argentina, Bangladesh, Canada, Burkina Faso and Sri Lanka about the various impacts of chemicals on the environment including spraying crops with herbicides and pesticides.
Judges were asked six questions for an advisory opinion, including whether Monsanto violated the rights to a safe environment, food as well as the highest standards of health.
"Monsanto's activities and products cause damage to soil, water and to the environment more generally," the tribunal replied in a statement on Tuesday.
It urged international lawmakers to "precisely and clearly assert the protection of the environment and the crime of ecocide."
It said that if "ecocide" was added in international law, the reported facts could fall within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court based in The Hague.
The event came against the backdrop of ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda saying she intended to deepen her focus on environmental crimes such as land grabs.
Monsanto's GM seeds are designed for use alongside its pesticide glyphosate which has made headlines last year over cancer fears.
But Monsanto, headquartered in St Louis, Missouri, defended itself against the allegations saying: "We stand committed to real dialogue with those who are genuinely interested in sustainable agriculture."
It added in a statement that anti-Monsanto critics organised the tribunal and "played organisers, judge and jury."
The informal court "denied existing scientific evidence and judicial outcomes on several topics... and was organised with pre-determined outcomes," the company's global human rights steering committee said.
Monsanto is currently the subject of a mammoth $66 billion (61.6 billion euro) takeover deal by German pharmaceuticals and chemicals giant Bayer.
Bayer too faces close scrutiny over its own pesticides, accused by some of contributing to mass die-offs of bees.
University Park PA (SPX) Apr 19, 2017
Cover crops long have been touted for their ability to reduce erosion, fix atmospheric nitrogen, reduce nitrogen leaching and improve soil health, but they also may play an important role in mitigating the effects of climate change on agriculture, according to a Penn State researcher. Climate-change mitigation and adaptation may be additional, important ecosystem services provided by cover ... read more
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|