National Union of French Beekeeping v. X

15-86.401
January 8, 2001
Final judgment
France, Paris

Unions
Union nationale de l'apiculture fran├žaise (UNAP)
Other
No description

Criminal court
Gaucho, Insecticide, Imidacloprid, Neonicotinoid
offences of deception, complicity and concealment, obtaining undue advantages from the State, fraud and sale of corrupt or toxic products; destruction of property in association
Criminal Chamber of the Court of Cassation of Paris, France
Court of Cassation

January 7, 2017
Negative
No description
No description

In a decision of 4 January 2017, the Criminal Division of the Court of Cassation rejected the appeal of the Union Nationale de l'Apiculture Fran├žaise (hereinafter UNAF), which alleged that the use of the product Gaucho, an insecticide marketed by the company Bayer, whose main active substance is imidacloprid of the neonicotinoid family, was related to the bee mortality observed by French beekeepers. It thus confirmed the decision of the Paris Court of Appeal, upholding the order of dismissal issued by the investigating judge.

Firstly, according to the Criminal Division, the offences of deception, complicity and concealment, obtaining undue advantages from the State, fraud and sale of corrupt or toxic products were not established, since no anomaly could be observed in the initial application for registration or in the renewals of the registration of the product by the Bayer company.

Secondly, the qualification of destruction of property by association was rejected, since 'the analysis of the available data did not make it possible to establish a causal link between the problems affecting the bees and the use of Gaucho, and that, moreover, the intentional element was lacking on the part of Bayer, which had applied for the necessary approvals to place the incriminated product on the market.

It is interesting to note that the French Council of State (28 April 2006) confirmed the ban on the pesticide Gaucho for maize seeds following the decision of 12 July 2004 by the Ministry of Agriculture, in particular because of the risk to domestic bees. Furthermore, on 29 May 2018, the European Commission's implementing regulation (EU) 2018/783 banned the use of imidacloprid, again due to the high acute risk to bees.