International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Monsanto Guilty of Crimes Against Humanity?

Monsanto, an agricultural company specializing in the development of GMO seeds and inorganic pesticides, was put on trial at the Hague back in October of this year. This trial was not legally binding, meaning they could not be charged with crimes against humanity at the time; however, according to Arnaud Apoteker, “The witnesses were presenting real cases to real judges. The lessons from this event can be used in ensuing local battles.” This particular case is a great example of the lack of legal responsibility and justice transnational corporations hold. In a report released by AlterNet, “Victims and witnesses described how, over the past 50 years, Monsanto has duped, assaulted, injured and killed farmers, farmworkers, rural villagers and urban consumers.” The hope with this trial is that it will provide enough evidence to the judges to carry out justice for corporate crimes and develop international law to include ecocide as a crime.

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Monsanto has been known to silence farmers who speak out against their products. They often impose on local farming traditions, with the argument that their GMO crops will help provide enough food for the world’s growing population. Despite this argument, food sustainability can increase drastically just by eliminating the world’s food waste. One witnesses’ account stated that “Before the introduction of glyphosate and other agrochemicals, I did not see our people suffer from sickness like this.” Highly toxic pesticides are required to grow the genetically modified crops produced by Monsanto and other Big Agri companies. Not only do these chemicals negatively impact human health, causing many serious issues, but it impacts the environment as the chemicals seep into the ground to in turn pollute water systems. Depleting the nutrients in the soil will effect crop yields as well, impacting our food production. Will the pressure from civil society finally push international courts to hold these transnational corporations accountable for their crimes?

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