Offences Against Future Generations: A Critical Look at the Jodoin/Saito Proposal and a Suggestion for Future Thought
24 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2015
Date Written: June 22, 2015
Jodoin and Saito’s proposals for Offences Against Future Generations is an interesting prospective exercise and a welcome effort to work on the intersection of international criminal law with environmental, economic and social issues. However, the way in which the notion is constructed is somewhat misleading in that the idea of offences against future generations is really a shorthand for grave environmental, economic or social crimes occurring today that happen to have potentially long term impacts. As such it is not clear, for example, why the proposal could not (except for tactical rather than principled reasons) be subsumed under an extended understanding of the notion of crimes against humanity. In other words, the proposal does not take seriously the idea of crimes against future generations and in particular fails to incorporate much current thinking on duties towards such generations. The article proposes some thoughts on what taking the idea of crimes against future generations seriously might involve. At this stage, such an exercise certainly seems to create quite novel issues for criminal law, although none seem insurmountable as long as one circumscribes the idea of crimes against future generations to the most clear cut cases of deliberate harm to future interests.
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