Appellate Court Upholds Suspension of Planting Permits for GM Corn
La Jornada: Angélica Enciso L.
Because it could cause irreversible damage to corn’s centre of origin, located in Mexico, the federal government may not issue permits for planting genetically modified corn to the transnational corporations seeking to introduce their products into the country, while legal proceedings presented by citizens are settled.
A court ruled in favour of the appeal filed by the Corn Collective against the August 19 judicial decision — which had lifted the moratorium on cultivation of GM corn that has been in effect since 2013. With this ruling, the suspension of issuance of planting permits has been upheld, reported attorney René Sánchez Galindo.
Sánchez Galindo explained that Federal Magistrate Benjamin Soto Sánchez, head of the Second Unitary [Appellate] Court for Civil and Administrative Matters of the First Circuit, confirmed the provisional suspension such that the Secretariats of Environment and Agriculture may not authorize experimental, pilot or commercial planting to the transnationals Monsanto, Pioneer and Dow, among others.
The suspension against issuance of planting permits has been in effect since September 2013, when dozens of researchers and citizens filed a class action lawsuit in defence of native maize and against the cultivation of genetically modified organisms in the country. The lawsuit was accepted by a court which decided, as a precautionary measure, to suspend the process of issuing planting permits. At that time, the planting of GM corn was entering its commercial phase.
On August 19, Judge Francisco Peñaloza Heras, with the Twelfth District Court in Civil Matters, lifted the precautionary measure that prohibited planting of the grain. In response, the Corn Collective filed the appeal that is still not definitively resolved*, but the ruling by Judge Soto confirmed the suspension in the planting of transgenic corn, Sánchez Galindo explained.
Sánchez described the federal court’s argument: the law requires preserving evidence in a judicial proceeding while an appeal works its way through the legal system; given that once GM Corn is planted, the damage would be irreversible. [MV Note: The risk is unacceptably high that wind-born pollen will contaminate native corns.]
The class action lawsuit against the planting of GM Corn was filed in July 2013. With the accompanying suspension, it has faced 100 legal challenges filed by the federal government and the transnational corporations, including 22 petitions for amparo that 17 federal courts have settled, including the First Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN). In all cases, the courts have decided to uphold the precautionary principle and prevent planting the modified seed.
Supreme Court Ruling on GM Soybean Expected Today
Bernardo Bátiz, adviser in the class action lawsuit on behalf of native corn and former Attorney General of the Federal District, said that the Second Chamber of the Supreme Court, which today will rule on the appeal filed by Yucatán beekeepers against the planting of GM Soybean, must consider that we are a mega-diverse country biologically, culturally and agriculturally.
In a statement released by the collective, the attorney argued that planting GM Corn, Soybean or any other GMO would have many negative effects, including that Mexican honey would no longer be organic.
*Excerpted from Aristegui Noticias:
Additionally, the Court scheduled a hearing on November 17 for those involved.
By telephone, Sánchez Galindo stated: “The Court also set November 17th as the date for the hearing of the appeal. It is going to be settled there. First will be the hearing, then the Court will have to make its final ruling on the appeal and whether or not the suspension is upheld, but for now it is confirmed that planting is suspended by court order.”
Sanchéz Galindo pointed out that at the hearing, “citizens, scientists and all the defendants — the transnational companies, SAGARPA [Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food] and SEMARNAT [Secretariat for the Environment and Natural Resources]. We are all scheduled for the 17th.”
Sánchez Galindo further considered that there would not be a ruling the day of the hearing, but that the Court could take up to 3 months to hand down its decision. …
Translated by Jane Brundage