Putting capitalism in court: Between environmental justice and the construction of another law

Bela Irina Passos Natário de Castro
Sergio Martín Arguello
  Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra


The lessons learned in the 50 years of the existence of ethical-popular courts relates to how the neo-liberal constitutionalism has invaded the formal institutions of justice, either at the national or at international level. If on one hand we are witnessing through the ethical courts, the emergence of a new non-neoliberal constitutionality, promoter of the fundamental rights and of peoples, we also observed paradoxically the degeneration of national and international justice in terms of its breach of fundamental rights of the people, and the growing governance inability that prevents the construction of new ethical-national projects.

Relying on the concept of Kidnapped States these courts, which include the Permanent Court of Peoples, the Latin American Water Tribunal and the newly announced Monsanto Tribunal, are seeking to sentence the modern notion of State for diverting oneself power in fundamental rights matter, and for continuously privilege private corporate interests. At issue is the degeneration of justice with regard to economic, social, cultural and environmental, and the imposition of a neoliberal legal rationality, promoter of loopholes whose sole purpose is to protect the interests of national and international bourgeoisies.

In this paper, we propose an analysis of the Monsanto Tribunal, an international popular initiative launched in December 2015 and held in October 2016 in The Hague, Netherlands, which aims to assess the charges against the transnational company Monsanto. As in other similar cases, the company is currently accused of multiple violations of fundamental and peoples rights, which according to whom sustains it, include systematic unethical business practices, strategic concealment of relevant information for policy making, funding fraudulent scientific studies, press manipulation and threats to independent scientists and journalists.

Monsanto Tribunal, as other international ethical-popular courts, is configuring as an alternative form of justice, whose legitimacy comes from the collective character of the moral of its resolutions.

law - ethical-popular courts - Kidnapped States - Monsanto Tribunal