Ecocide is closer to becoming an international crime

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  • Nuclear power plant.
    Nuclear power plant. . Source: ELG21 (Pixabay).

The Stop Ecocide Foundation has already drafted a legal definition to be submitted to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

The term ecocide was coined in reference to the chemical weapons used by the USA during the Vietnam War. Half a century later, and thanks to the citizens’ struggle led by the now deceased Polly Higgins, ecocide might be considered the fifth international crime, together with crimes against humanity, war, aggression and genocide.

A legal definition has been drafted by a group of twelve people with expertise in law from around the world and organised by Stop Ecocide. They have worked jointly for six months and have received the support of external professionals and public consultations. The outcome of this work will soon be submitted to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

By ecocide we understand “illicit or arbitrary acts committed knowing there is a substantial likeliness that these acts will cause serious, extensive and long-term damage to the environment.” They also propose to include a preamble reading: “Concerned by the daily, severe destruction and deterioration to the environment, which endangers natural and human systems around the world…”

Environmental movements such as Animal Rebellion Barcelona, which is part of Rebel·lió o Extinció BCN - XR, are supporting this initiative because they consider it is unacceptable to allow large polluting lobbies to find it cheaper to pay the fines than complying with regulations.

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