MAC: Mines and Communities

Press Release: The Tribunal Accuses Freeport McMoran Rio Tinto et al

Published by MAC on 2001-05-01


For immediate release:

29th March 2000


Coventry 25th March 2000

The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal announced today that it was asking four major corporations to show cause that they had not committed serious violations of internationally recognized human rights and environmental standards. The corporations are Freeport McMoRan and Rio Tinto Zinc, Monsanto and Union Carbide.

The Tribunal reached this decision on the basis of extensive documentation in the form of technical reports, testimony of expert witnesses, and stories of individual victims over the last few days. In the releasing of the Tribunal’s decision, Dr. Gianni Tognoni, Secretary General of the Tribunal, emphasized that the Tribunal found sufficient evidence to call upon the alleged violators to show cause that these violations had not occurred. At a future Tribunal the four corporations will be invited to give evidence in rebuttal of the allegations contained in the Tribunal’s indictment.

The jury that issued the decision was composed of eight members, coming from various countries and with different professional backgrounds, chaired by Freda Meissner-Blau of Austria. It was assisted in its work by Dr. Jayan Nayar of the University of Warwick Law School Coventry and Ward Morehouse of the Council on International and Public Affairs.

The Tribunal on Global Corporations and Human Wrongs was also convened to address a wide range of issues related to the impact of major corporations on human rights and environmental standards. Among these issues were subversion of democratic control by corporations and strategies of resistance to corporate wrongs.

The Tribunal encouraged a number of actions to encourage the more active involvement of NGOs and peoples’ movements in monitoring the behaviour of global corporations and challenging corporate dominance through the strengthening peoples’ standards of legality.

For further information on the tribunal finding’s contact:

Gianni Tognoni
Lelio Basso International Foundation
Via della Dogana Vecchia, 5
00186 Rome

Tel. 0039-06-68801468
Fax. 0039-06-6877774

Ward Morehouse Council on International and Public Affairs
Suite 3C
777 United Nations Plaza
New York NY 10017

Tel. +1 (212) 9729877
Fax +1 (212) 9729878

Jayan Nayar
School of Law

University of Warwick

Tel: +44 (024) 76523098
Fax. +44 (024) 76524105


Notes for Editors:


The Permanent Peoples' Tribunal (PPT) was formed in 1979 as the successor to the Bertrand Russell War Crimes Tribunal on Latin America. The PPT is an independent forum that examines violations of the rights of peoples, and suggests remedies for such violations. It is composed of over 60 members who are eminent jurists, writers, statespeople, artists and scientists from all parts of the world (see Appendix 2). The Tribunal submits its findings to the Secretary General of the United Nations, to other United Nations organisations as appropriate, and to other national and international bodies.

The PPT has a long history of addressing issues relating to the injustices perpetrated against communities both by State as well as private actors. It is motivated by a conviction that the voices of the marginalised and the victimised should be recognised as the authentic representations from which the legal community should stand informed of the challenges confronting the respect and protection of human rights. Recent examples of Tribunal hearings include cases of human rights abuses in various countries, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank policies relating to structural adjustment, and the Conquest of America and International Law.

The Tribunal attempts to fill gaps in international law, which it seeks to influence by elaborating on such documents as the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Peoples (the Algiers Declaration), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (United Nations), the Nuremberg principles, United Nations General Assembly resolutions on decolonization and the new international economic order.

For full information on the Tribunal please contact the General Secretary:

Gianni Tognoni
Lelio Basso International Foundation
Via della Dogana Vecchia, 5
00186 Rome

Tel. 0039-06-68801468
Fax. 0039-06-6877774



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