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  • A demonstrator protests Monsanto.

    A demonstrator protests Monsanto. | Photo: AFP

The special tribunal aims at contributing to recognize the crime of ecocide in international law.

An international collective of jurists and environmental groups launched Thursday the international Monsanto Tribunal, with headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands, in order to sue Monsanto corporation and other multinationals over environment and health crimes.

The court will rule in October 2016 on World Food Day “the crimes that the U.S.-based transnational [Monsanto] allegedly committed against environment and health, and will contribute to the recognition of the ecocide crime in international law,” announced representatives for a collective of organizations in a press conference during the COP21 United Nations Conference on Climate Change, currently underway in Paris.

“Monsanto has pushed genetically-modified organisms 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,” Vandana Shiva, physicist, author, activist and founder of Navdanya and member of the Regeneration International.

The creation of a citizen's tribunal is crucial, considering Monsanto's intense lobbying toward governments and regulatory agencies to promote its business, while “financing fraudulent scientific studies, pressuring independent scientists, and manipulating the press and media,” added Andre Leu, president of International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements and a member of the RI Steering Committee.

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According to the United Nations, at least half of the world's greenhouse gases would be due to human activities, especially intensive animal farming, deforestation, as well as the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

Monsanto's best-selling products were found to be a potential cause of cancer, according to the World Health Products, while they also were found to have a destructive impact on the ecosystem by reducing the populations of bees and monarch butterflies..

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