Killing people, killing the planet: WTO found guilty by peoples’ court

To the chant of “guilty, guilty, guilty!”, a “peoples’ tribunal” indicted the World Trade Organization yesterday for the “systematic violation of human rights, massive destruction of livelihoods and the environment, privatization and commodification of the commons and the violation of international law”.

The court specifically held to account and answer for widespread damages, private entities that Freeport Indonesia Ltd., PAM Lyonnais Jaya Ltd. and Aetra Air Jakarta Ltd., the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Donggi Senoro Liquid Natural Gas Ltd., Lafarge Cement Indonesia Ltd., Charoen Pokphand Indonesia Tbk., the mayor of Samarinda – Kalimantan, and corporations of coal and pesticides in Brebes, Central Java. It also decried “corporate impunity”, such that justice cannot be accessed in the current judicial system by grassroots people.

Earlier, farmers, fisherfolk, workers, women, migrants, indigenous peoples and other sectors gave testimonies and implicated the WTO in various issues such as land grabbing, loss of livelihoods, environmental damage and climate change, and commodifying people and nature.

“These testimonies clearly show that the WTO and the global trading system, including FTAs and other related policies are part of the root causes of the violations and corporate crimes….On the other hand, this system has generated maximum profits for corporations and elites and has failed to provide for peoples’ need,” the court declared in its Indictment. It also pointed out that grassroots people

“These testimonies are clear expressions of peoples’ and communities’ continuing search for justice as the crimes of the WTO and the global trading system, the corporations and complicit governments go unpunished,” the court declared.

Elizabeth Mpfonu of La Via Campesina led the panel of justices composed of Lidy Nacpil of Jubilee South Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development, Nandini Gawadhia of KRRS, Brid Brennan of the Transnational Institute, and Henry Saragih of Serikat Petani Indonesia.

The “Global Peoples’ Tribunal on WTO, Free Trade Agreements, Investments and Transnational Corporations” forms part of the week-long activities of Gerak Lawan (alliance of Indonesian Peoples Movements against Neocolonialism and Imperialism) and Social Movements for an Alternative Asia (SMAA), a newly formed coordination of Asian social movements.

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