Fracking goes on trial at international tribunal

Balcombe arrest

Photo: DrillOrDrop

An internationally-recognised tribunal will begin examining evidence today on whether fracking breaches human rights.

The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal, established after the Vietnam War Crime Tribunals, is holding hearings on the question throughout this week.

For the first time, the tribunal hearings are entirely online.

An international panel of 10 judges will examine scientific reports and expert testimony along with evidence from people who believe their human rights are threatened by fracking.

The organisers said the investigation would focus mainly on the responsibilities of states to protect human rights. But they said fossil fuel corporations may be implicated in witness testimony.

The evidence is expected to cover impacts on human health, climate, ecology, as well as social costs and the ability of people to participate in decision-making.

After this week’s hearings, the judges will give an advisory legal opinion on key issues including:

  • Under what circumstances do fracking and other unconventional oil and gas processes breach human rights protected by international law?
  • Under what circumstances do these techniques warrant a judgement requiring further action, damages or some form of compensation for causing environmental harm?
  • To what extent are states responsible for violations of human rights and environmental damage caused by these techniques?

Organisations from the US, Australia and Europe are scheduled to make submissions to the tribunal.

The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT), based in Rome, considers cases where evidence suggests there has been a breach of the basic rights of citizens. It acts independently of nation states and government.

One of the Tribunal’s early cases involved the leak of toxic gas from the Union Carbide plant at Bhopal in 1984. More recent sessions have examined the massacre of Tamils in Sri Lanka, agrochemical transnational corporations and the activities of the Canadian mining industry in Latin America.

PPTs have no power to compel people to attend hearings, give evidence or to enforce a judgement. But the Bhopal tribunal led to the adoption of the Charter on Industrial Hazards and Human Rights.

The sessions of the PPT on fracking begin at 5pm British Summer Time or 9am Pacific Time. Proceedings can be watched online within 30 minutes of the end of the sessions on the Spring Creek Project Facebook Page or You Tube channel.


Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on fracking, human rights and climate change

PPT hearing schedule

25 replies »

  1. Great stuff. Let the evidence and facts put this saga to bed for either sides. Too many fake news and scaremongering and twisted truths are going around that just not helpful to the public.

  2. Phil C. While I agree with the concept and pure intention of this move I suspect that the outcome is somewhere between the reflection of a Green point of view to the anti fossil fuel activist agenda because the pannel of judges are all from socialist states or close to it.

    • Do you have evidence to say why should 10 judges ‘being from socialist states or close to it’ mean the outcome will reflect a Green view or anti fossil fuel activist agenda. Are you saying these judges will be specially selected with a pre ordained view on the outcome? How will that work in practise if they come from different countries? Who will make the selection? Are you saying that all these judges will be incapable of independently (and without any government pressure) assessing independent evidence and expert testimony? Are people from the pro fracking lobby perhaps nervous about an agenda not just based on very short term economic gain?

  3. God forbid that a ‘Green Point of view’, that conforms to the Paris COP21 agreement and the UK’s own Climate Change Act 2008, should influence anything. You pro-oil & gas fossil investors endorse the inttellect and perspective of Donald Trump with your every word… but don’t let that stop you… selfish short term financial gains is about the extent of your imagination. Fortunately you’re a dying breed.

  4. And here I am anti-fracker, on one hand glad that greedy energy firms will be in the spotlight for forcing horizontal well drilling and chemical injection on neighborhoods and drinking water.

    On the other hand, adamantly opposed to the human rights court sitting above all courts in the world so that anything can be a human rights violation if it suits the leftist Marxist liberal one world Islamic led people are sheeple agenda.

    It seems to me that nations like England are at fault for selling energy exploration licenses to begin with and the ENERGY department and individual mps should be held PERSONALLY LIABLE for the destruction weighed upon the masses by non traditional drilling.

    • What an incredibly loaded and prejudiced phrase Cindy: “Marxist liberal one world Islamic led people are sheeple agenda.” Where on earth do you get that from? What does it even mean? Not one of those judges is from a marxist/islamic country. You have one sheepie follower though (TW)

  5. As any judgement is unenforceable, and the country it might currently impact (USA) is outside the Paris Agreement, it will be interesting-but not much more.

    In the words of Sir Jim:

    “The US now has just about the cheapest energy in the world-and it has $150bn of investment on the slate to build chemical facilities. And then you’ve got the steel industry, and the car industry, and the power industry, all off the back of the fact that their energy prices are much lower.”

    I wonder what competitors could do about that? Ahh, I see.

  6. Two thirds looks quite healthy to me Dr.Dave. But perhaps you practice alternative medicine, where some works and a lot doesn’t?

  7. No, I don’t practice medicine but I still have my f(r)aculties, which tell me many will use aloe (maybe not 85%), (you could substitute Colloidal Silver etc. etc.) but will still not exclude the visit to the GP (maybe more than two thirds) simply because they use aloe, etc. etc. But, there are those odd zealots who would like to ban the visit to the GP and force everyone to rely upon aloe etc. etc. Fortunately, they are a minority, that the majority smiles about-with or without an Emoji-and probably free of a nasty rash!

    • nope; most people make informed choices and that’s the beauty of our society, for now, we still are able to make those choices.

  8. This is Max Igan, telling you everything is awesome!

    Lie back folks! Your government has thought it all out? You dont need to protest about anything? Because protesting only makes you unhappy? And you know how happy they want to make you?

    Frackers are your friends?

    Not your enemies?

    The frackers want you to be happy too?

    Watch this video and find out how much your government REALLY cares for you! Honestly! Dont laugh! Dont cry! In fact, don’t actually do anything!

    ( )

    Enjoy! Enjoy! Be happy! Go to sleep!

  9. Like your post of 5.48pm Sherwulfe. Indeed people do make informed choices-two thirds of them are not against fracking. Blame the information-again?

    85% like the use of alternative energy sources. The result? An energy mix.

    (See hydrogen trains will replace diesels shortly. Suspect we will still see diesel being used on farms though.)

    • Diesels can run on cooking oil, and most farm vehicles do providing they are not used on the roads, that is why diesel is stained red so it can be distinguished between cooking oil and the “approved” fossil fuel industrially manufactured diesel?

      Farmers are ideally placed to use cooking oil, in fact since the diesel debacle, cooking oil should be used to run all diesel engines? Emissions from cooking oil? The smell of cooked chips? Wow! That will no doubt be banned (oops! turn round three times and throw salt lake city salt over your shoulder!)

    • errata: two thirds equals 88% who knew little or nothing about shale; luckily 82% are not on the shale wagon, and the 85% who prefer renewables to the paltry 18% who support shale are getting more energy of their choice by the day…

  10. UK government survey says half of people DO NOT GIVE A VIEW ON FRACKING. other than “Don’t know”. of those that give a view, many more are against fracking than for fracking. So pro fracking lobby people then say that a majority are not against fracking. It is a blatant attempt to get people thinking that there is a “majority” that is quite happy to have fracking. In actual fact the people who give a view are more likely to have done their own research into fracking, and are more likely to be against it. I would imagine that a judge looking at the evidence would also conclude that it breaches human rights – to clean air, potentially to clean water, and damage the soil so affect food security for communities too. So, air, water, food. Pretty essential for a healthy life, and fundamental human rights. The pro fracking agenda is one of obscuring or denying the facts, scaremongering (energy security that we do have without fracking, energy price, fuel poverty, all of which would be worse over time, not better, with fracking – when fuel prices are low, fracking is simply not viable) and a fair bit of mudslinging. Then there is the blatant undermining of local communities and local democracy with dictates from central government. We say yes to clean air, water, and food, and to sustainable energy, no to fracking and no to continued dependence on expensive fossil fuels to the detriment of our environment, health, and the rest of the economy.

    • That’s a fair summary Ian. You may be interested in the line taken by the Earth Law Alliance – delivered only yesterday to the above Tribunal. They make the case for ‘Nature’s Rights’ alongside Human Rights defending nature-as-subject rather than nature-as-object (to be exploited). This approach (in Law) is gaining some traction around the world now and I think it’s about time. Corporations have long had the powers of legal embodiment … legal protection as ‘persons’ or ‘personas’ whereas nature’s ecological entities and ecosystems have had no rights at all except in relation to human rights. The Mayor of Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) has evoked a similar approach to getting a fracking ban for his city environment. The Maoris in New Zealand have won a similar case for protecting the Waikato river and its tributaries.

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