On July 12th, the organizers of the International Monsanto Tribunal announced the installation of three international judges who will co-chair the citizens’ tribunal, scheduled for October 15-16 in The Hague, Netherlands.
The three judges are: Ms. Dior Fall Sow, Senegal, a former advocate general at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda; Ms. Francoise Tulkens, Belgium, a former vice-president at the European Court of Human Rights; and Mr. Upendra Baxi, India, former president of the Indian Society of International Law.
The Tribunal organizers have also announced two of the lawyers who will participate in the Tribunal. Dr. Jackson Nyamuya Maogoto, UK, will prepare the case against Monsanto on the question of whether Monsanto is complicit in war crimes as defined in Article 8(2) of the International Criminal Court. Dr Gwynn MacCarrick, Australia, will serve as amicus curiae (or friend of the Tribunal) on the issue of ecocide.
For more background information about the judges, the lawyers and their first comments, read the whole press release on the Monsanto Tribunal website.
The court is taking shape. For months, legal teams have been working on briefs related to the 6 questions that will be asked to the Judges. A preliminary programme of the Peoples Assembly already includes speeches and workshops by eminent scientists and experts, but most importantly farmers and activists movements in struggle against Monsanto from all around the world. We are then left with one big question: where’s Monsanto?
The transnational company has of course been invited to share its views with the citizens tribunal. A registered letter has been sent from the Netherlands on June 6th to Hugh Grant, Monsanto’s CEO and chairman. Until now, this letter has been declined at the Saint-Louis headquarters. This is the usual and favourite public relations technique of Monsanto. No comment nor reaction in order to make no waves.
Vandana Shiva, who is one of the members of the Monsanto Tribunal steering committee has not waited too long to react to Monsanto’s silence:
“We are not surprised that Mr. Grant declined to receive this letter. Monsanto has a long history of hiding the damage and pain and suffering inflicted by its products on human health and the environment. Just like Monsanto hides its GMO ingredients through the DARK Act, through denying labeling in the United States, it is hiding from a peoples trial. This does not mean we will not put them to trial.”
While Monsanto’s lawyers are possibly still keeping the company’s hands away from the invitation letter waiting in the mailbox, the Monsanto Tribunal organising team is getting busier. A lot of their work is being planned and done in the Netherlands and they are looking for more volunteers to help them making this event a success. Have a look at their volunteers call-out below, in Dutch and in English.