The Campaign to Make Ecocide an International Crime: Quixotic Quest or Moral Imperative?
49 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2020
Date Written: January 4, 2019
Can anything be done to prevent environmental destruction? This is the stark question that confronts the international legal community. Environmental destruction is a global problem; many environmental disasters affect multiple countries. Further, issues like global warming and the thinning ozone layer do not affect just one country, but the entire world. However, international law has not addressed the issue, leaving this matter to individual countries.
In recent decades, international law has created a solid body of law on international criminal law but has not done so with regard to environmental law. Indeed, a regime of international environmental criminal law simply does not exist at this time. Although various treaties address certain conduct,1 no treaty exists that codifies environmental law or criminalizes environmental destruction. Many attorneys and organizations are campaigning to change this in order to make environmental destruction an international crime. Advocates want the crime of ‘ecocide’ to be included as a fifth Crime Against Peace, which can be heard by the International Criminal Court. Is this campaign feasible? Can it accomplish the goal of protecting the environment?
Keywords: ecocide, environmental, ICC, international law, criminal law
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