Word of the day: ecocide

International lawyers are drafting plans for a legally enforceable crime of ecocide – criminalising destruction of the world’s ecosystems – that is already attracting support from European countries and island nations at risk from rising sea levels. The panel coordinating the initiative is chaired by Professor Philippe Sands QC, of University College London, and Florence Mumba, a former judge at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The aim is to draw up a legal definition of “ecocide” that would complement other existing international offences such as crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.

The project, convened by the Stop Ecocide Foundation at the request of Swedish parliamentarians, was launched in November 2020 to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Nuremberg war crimes trials of Nazi leaders in 1945.

Already, citizens, scientists and youth activists including Greta Thunberg are calling on global leaders to introduce ecocide at the ICC. Following the lead of climate-vulnerable ocean states Vanuatu and the Maldives in December 2019, President Emmanuel Macron of France vowed to champion it on the international stage and has proposed a version of it in French law.

Finland and Belgium both expressed interest during the ICC’s annual assembly, and Spain’s parliamentary foreign affairs committee has issued recommendations to consider it. The EU has also voted to encourage its recognition by member states.

The Stop Ecocide Foundation has recently convened a panel of heavyweight international lawyers to draft a robust legal definition of ecocide which this growing list of states can seriously consider proposing as an amendment to the ICC’s Rome Statute.


XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>