Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

A protest outside the Monsanto Tribunal, which heard testimony for two days in October. (Photo: Monsanto Tribunal/flickr/cc)

Tribunal Finds Monsanto Endangers Right to Food, Health, Environment

If the crime of 'ecocide' were recognized in international criminal law, the activities of Monsanto could constitute such a crime, panel declares

Deirdre Fulton

Biotech giant Monsanto "has engaged in practices which have negatively impacted the right to a healthy environment, the right to food, and the right to health," five international judges comprising the "Monsanto Tribunal" declared Tuesday. 

The panel, which heard two days of testimony outside the Hague in October and spent the months since reviewing the evidence, concluded that "if such a crime of ecocide were recognized in international criminal law, the activities of Monsanto could possibly constitute" such a crime, citing its widespread dissemination of "dangerous agrochemicals in industrial agriculture;" "the engineering, production, introduction, and release of genetically engineered crops;" and "the introduction of persistent organic pollutants such as PCB into the environment."

Convened by civil society groups including the Organic Consumers Association, Navdanya, IFOAM Organics International, the Biovision Foundation, and Regeneration International, the tribunal's findings are not legally binding. However, they bolster the coalition's larger effort "to liberate our seeds and soils, our communities and societies, our planet and ourselves, from poisons and the rule of the poison cartel," as Navdanya founder Vandana Shiva wrote last year.

Indeed, the judges wrote, "the advisory opinion is a strong signal to those involved in international law, but also to the victims of toxic chemicals and corporate power. The tribunal has created links and shared important information between lawyers and organizations that represent the victims. Therefore it is likely that the conclusions will lead to more liability cases against Monsanto and similar companies. [...] Companies that cause damage to health, food, and the environment should and will be held accountable for their actions."

What's more, the tribunal noted that its findings should be of special interest to Bayer, which is currently considering a controversial merger with Monsanto: "The reputation of Monsanto—and Bayer in case of a merger—will not exactly improve with these conclusions by the judges of the tribunal," the panel wrote. 

"The hope is that the work completed during the past six months by the Monsanto Tribunal judges will help international policymakers and courts as they look for ways to hold multinational corporations accountable for the damage they inflict on our right to health and a healthy environment," added Katherine Paul, associate director of the Organic Consumers Association.

Watch the judges deliver their findings below:

And see more on the ruling under the hashtag #MonsantoTribunal:


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Manchin Threatening Key Climate Provision: Reports

"To take it out is to decide that climate change isn't a problem."

Andrea Germanos ·


'Make a Gesture of Humanity': Pope Francis Urges Pharma Giants to Release Covid-19 Vaccine Patents

"There are countries where only three or four percent of the inhabitants have been vaccinated."

Andrea Germanos ·


Manchin Fumes After Sanders Op-Ed in West Virginia Paper Calls Out Obstruction of Biden Agenda

"Poll after poll shows overwhelming support for this legislation," wrote Sanders. "Two Democratic senators remain in opposition, including Sen. Joe Manchin."

Andrea Germanos ·


US to Offer 'Condolence Payments' to Relatives of 10 Civilians Killed in Drone Strike

The Pentagon statement follows a call for President Joe Biden to "show real concern for civilians by taking more meaningful steps to prevent civilian casualties as a result of all U.S. lethal operations."

Andrea Germanos ·


New Filing Reveals Sinema Pads Campaign Coffers With More Pharma and Finance Funds

"This is what someone who's bought and paid for looks like."

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo