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International Rights of Nature Tribunal

The current ecological crisis requires that we transform our international and domestic legal systems to nurture, rather than allow the destruction of the Earth community.  

Inaugural Tribunal Quito  Lima 2014 Tribunal  Paris-Tribunal-panel-icon

The International Rights of Nature Tribunal examines systemic Rights of Nature based alternatives to the false solutions and failed negotiations of governing States. This “People’s Tribunal” gives a vehicle for re-framing and adjudicating prominent environmental and social justice cases within the context of a Rights of Nature based earth jurisprudence. It gives people from all around the world the opportunity to testify publicly as to the destruction of the Earth — destruction that governments and corporations not only allow, but in some cases encourage.  The adjudication process provides a platform for informed legal analysis of diverse cases based on Rights of Nature. With each case, the esteemed panel of Tribunal judges will recommend actions for reparation, mitigation, restoration and prevention of further damages and harm.

Recognizing Rights of Nature is a ground breaking new legal structure that fundamentally changes the legal standing of ecosystems. Rather than treating nature as property under the law, rights of nature acknowledges that nature in all its life forms has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles. The ecosystem itself can be named as a rights bearing subject with standing in a court of law. The Tribunal provides a framework for educating civil society and governments on the fundamental tenets of Rights of Nature and an instrument for legal experts to examine constructs needed to more fully integrate Rights of Nature.

Read A Tribunal for Earth, Why It Matters

Inaugural International Rights of Nature Tribunal
Quito, Ecuador January 2014

Rights of Nature Tribunal Panel

In January 2014, the Global Alliance convened it first International Rights of Nature Tribunal to provide systemic Rights of Nature based alternatives to the false solutions and failed negotiations of governing States. The Tribunal is a unique, citizen-created initiative. It enables people from all around the world to have a voice to protest the destruction of the RoNTribunal-sideEarth—destruction that is often sanctioned by Governments and Corporations. The Tribunal features internationally renowned lawyers and moral leaders who will hear cases about climate change, fracking and GMO and make recommendations about Earth’s protection and restoration.

Dr. Vandana Shiva, internationally renowned author, physicist and environmental activist presided over the historic Tribunal together with nine other distinguished judges from seven countries and five continents. Dr. Shiva presented the closing ruling to admit all the nine cases of alleged violations of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, adopted in Cochabamba on April 20, 2010 and, for Ecuadorian cases, of the Ecuadorian Constitution. The Tribunal will be a permanent platform for hearing and judging cases from around the world.  Independent Tribunal report at Report from the Centre of the Earth. For more on the Quito Tribunal visit Rights of Nature Tribunal – Quito.

Second International Rights of Nature Tribunal
Lima, Peru December 2014

In December 2014, the second International Rights of Nature Tribunal was convened in Lima, Peru parallel to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.  For two full days a panel of 13 distinguished judges heard twelve prominent cases while on the other side of the city the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UN FCCC COP 20) deliberated.   The Tribunal heard evidence from experts and witnesses who are impacted by gross violations to the Rights of Mother Earth and Nature, human rights and rights of indigenous communities.

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UNFCCC Rights of Nature Press Conference video link

Click photo to view Press Conference Video

The Tribunal proceedings were intense and deeply moving as witness after witness gave intimate testimony reinforced by scientific evidence of experts.  Selected cases addressed the impacts of Climate Change, destructive oil and mineral extraction, and aggressive actions against Defenders of the Earth especially in South America. The ruthlessness of actions being taken around the world against Defenders of the Earth was brought home to this Tribunal by the death of  José Isidro Tendetza Antun, Shuar leader from the Condor Mine region of Ecuador, only days before the Tribunal commenced.  The Tribunal was dedicated to José Tendetza’s honor.

International Rights of Nature Tribunal
Paris, France December 2015

The International Rights of Nature Tribunal reconvened in Paris, France parallel to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on December 4-5, 2015. The two-day Tribunal was held in downtown Paris.  The Tribunal uses the emerging field of Earth Laws to hear and decide cases brought to it.  Earth Laws includes laws recognizing the Rights of Nature, as stated in the Universal Declaration for the Rights of Mother Earth, the crime of Ecocide and the laws of the commons.

The Tribunal features internationally renowned lawyers and moral leaders who will hear cases about climate change, fracking and GMO and make recommendations about Earth’s protection and restoration.  The Paris International Rights of Nature Tribunal is hosted by the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, in partnership with End Ecocide on Earth and NaturesRights.  The Tribunal has a strong focus on enabling indigenous peoples and local communities to share their unique concerns and solutions about land, water and culture with the global community.
tribunal_convening_9346Photo by Ken Wentworth for Greening Eden.
Maison des MétallosThank you to the Maison des Métallos for generously hosting the International Rights of Nature Tribunal in Paris.

For more details, visit Paris Tribunal.

Intent of Tribunal

The intent of the Tribunal is to provide systemic Rights of Nature based alternatives to the false solutions and failed negotiations of governing States. This “People’s Tribunal” provides a vehicle for reframing and adjudicating prominent environmental and social justice cases within the context of a Rights of Nature based earth jurisprudence. The adjudication process provides a platform for informed legal analysis of diverse cases based on Rights of Nature. With each case, the Tribunal will recommend actions for reparation, mitigation, restoration and prevention of further damages and harm.  The Tribunal provides a framework for educating civil society and governments on the fundamental tenets of Rights of Nature and an instrument for legal experts to examine constructs needed to more fully integrate Rights of Nature.

Also visit: Tribunal Steering Committee