This translation was forwarded by Dr. Wolfgang Wiebecke of the Agrarian group of attac in Wuppertal, Germany.

The German original can be found, among other sites, at


The experimental release of GM wheat at Gatersleben contradicts German, European and International Law!

The very competent environmental lawyer Dr. Christoph Palme asked me to spread as broadly as possible the following text concerning the permission of planting GM-wheat at very low distance to an important wheat gene-bank near Gatersleben (Germany).

The recently issued consent of the federal German Genetic Engineering Authority (Bundesamt für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit) granting the planting of an experimental release in very close neighbourhood to one of Europes biggest gene-banks strikingly contradicts German, European and International Law. This is the view of Dr. Christoph Palme, from Institut fuer Naturschutzrecht (Tuebingen)

- The permission contradicts German law as from the federal constitutional state declaration aiming at protecting the environment laid down in Art. 20 a German basic law it can be inferres a core guaranty in such way that, if not the whole area of the state at least such areas are to be kept completely free from GMOs which ar important for the preservation of natural diversity of species. The gene-bank at Gatersleben is such an place. The state has the obligation for guaranteeing Biodiversity and diversity of species. Additionally it is an offence against the right of nourishment guaranteed by Art. 11 par. 2 of UN social covenant, as by such an experimental release the pool of different plant species being important for the security of supply with nourishment are being put at risk. The UN social covenant by German courts in Germany is considered as a directly effective law, which precedes statue law on GMOs because of the obligation for an interpretation of the German legal system favouring Germany obligations in international law as laid down in Art. 25 of German basic law (GG).

- The permission contradicts international law as it does not comply with the Convention of Biodiversity (CBD). CBD contains among others in Art. 8 and 9 ample dispositions for guaranteeing the genetic pool which also covers plants for agricultural use. Although if mere framework treaties usually can not grant obligations actionable by individuals, they implicate according the European Court of Justice a so called interdiction of degradation. But it precisely that what contamination of this genetically modified wheat is afflicting to the gene bank in Gatersleben.

- The permission also contradicts EU-law as the CBD has been ratified by EU. As a consequence - as it is established i Art. 300 para. 7 EC-Treaty this Convention precedes EU statute law governing GMOs. Additionally it contradicts the principle of science based decisions as laid down in Art. 174 EC-Treaty. It is not compatible with this principle, if the officials in the state authorities have such close ties to the companies they are supposed to survey because this can lead to decisions based on prejudice and not on sound science. The impairment of this principle of consitutional rank has been perpetrated in an extremely blatant way as in its decision the opinion of the responsible expert authority, the Federal Nature Protection Agency (Bundesamt fuer Naturschutz) has been rejected thus deliberately brushing away sound science.

Feel free to contact us on this and other issues concerning GMOs

Institut fuer Naturschutz und Naturschutzrecht Tuebingen Dr. iur. Christoph Palme Ursrainer Ring 81
72076 Tuebingen

Tel. 07071/687038 bzw. 6878160
Fax. 07071/6878162
mobile 0177 188 0299
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The German text can be found, for instance, at