Kenya: Environment Court dismisses case challenging the planting of GMO Maize

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Photo Istock                                                                                                                                                    By Murimi Gitari, October 12, 2023, The Environment Court in Kenya has allowed the planting of GMO maize in the country. This is after dismissing a case that challenged the planting of the GMO maize.

While dismissing the petition that was filed by the Law Society of Kenya, Justice Oscar Angote said that the petitioner did not present evidence to show that using GMOs causes harm to human health or the environment.

“This court has not been shown any evidence that the government has breached the laws, guidelines, or regulations pertaining to GMO food and particularly the approval of their release, the environment, cultivation, importation and exportation of the maize. For those reasons, l dismiss the petition dated January 16, 2023,” Justice Angote ruled.

Justice Angote also noted that the petitioner had not challenged the laws governing GMOs both internationally and locally with the evidence pr4esented before the court demonstrating that the country has a strong framework governing the viability of these crops.

“The framework has been set up for the evaluation of GMO foods to humans. Evidence before the court shows that the international biosafety authority has the capacity to check on food assessment….,” the judge ruled.

There was also an adequate public participation that was conducted at KCIC and a gazette notice was also made on the same according to the ruling made by the court.

Justice Angote also noted that evidence placed before him shows that the country has put in place a robust framework with inbuilt structures which must be met before they consider the use of GMOs.

According to the court, the petitioner made premature claims about the cultivation, importation, and exportation of GMO maize without a license because no evidence was provided.

“There is no evidence presented before the court by the petitioner to show that the fourth respondent (Bayer East Africa) is already engaged in food cultivation, processing import and export,” Justice Angote stated.

“This court has not been shown any evidence that the respondents and institutions violated the laws and regulations on GMO foods, specifically the approval to release maize for cultivation, importation, and exportation. I therefore dismiss the petition.” Justice Angote while making the ruling.

The Law Society of Kenya had challenged the decision by the President of Kenya William Ruto and the cabinet in court for lifting the ban on GMO imports into the country seeking orders from the court to maintain the 2012 ban on GM Crops and animal feed.

LSK argued that the government should first tighten biosafety measures so as to protect citizens against health risks which they said are associated with the consumption of GM crops.

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