Hanoi (VNA) – The Monsanto Tribunal has found Monsanto – an US multinational chemical firm – is guilty of ecocide, which has left long-term consequences on the ecosystem of various nations, including Vietnam.
The conclusion was delivered by five international judges in The Hague, the Netherlands, on April 18 after six months of investigation and two days of testimony.
Six months ago, the civil society trial began reviewing operations of Monsanto. Once being among producers of Agent Orange/dioxin for the US army during wartime in Vietnam, the biotech giant now produces pesticides and genetically modified plants.
The judges said Monsanto has engaged in practices which have negatively impacted the human rights to a healthy environment, food and health.
The company's business activities were found to adversely affect food availability for individuals and communities and interfere with the ability of individuals and communities to feed themselves directly or to choose non-genetically modified seeds.
The tribunal also found Monsanto has infringed on the freedom of scientific research, of thought and expression.
The panel said it is high time to seek a new legal concept on ecocide, which holds corporations, rather than just individuals, accountable for the damage they inflict on health, food, and the environment.
Convened by civil society groups, the tribunal's findings are not legally binding.
However, Judge Françoise Tulkens, chair of the Monsanto Tribunal, said the conclusion was drawn based on acknowledged reports and evidence.
She noted the advisory opinion highlighted the legal concept of ecocide, which will help push countries’ respect for basic human rights.
Victims of toxic chemicals and corporate power can use the conclusions in their liability cases against Monsanto and similar companies, according to the judge.
The findings will be submitted to the United Nations, UN Human Rights Committee, International Criminal Court, and Monsanto.-VNA