Sunday, 23 May 2010


The Solution

Proposal for ecocide to be a 5th international Crime Against Peace

The International Criminal Court was formed in 2002 to prosecute individuals for breaches of 4 Crimes Against Peace. They are: Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, War Crimes and Crimes of Aggression. A 5th crime against peace is proposed:

Ecocide is the extensive destruction, damage to or loss of ecosystem(s) of a given territory, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been severely diminished.

  • ecocide can be the outcome of external factors, such as flooding or an earthquake.
  • ecocide can also be the result of human intervention, such as mining, logging or pollution dumping.
  • ecocide can be trans-boundary, and multi-jurisdictional. Chemicals released in one country can affect the ecosystems of a territory in another country
  • extraction results in resource depletion.
  • resource depletion can result in conflict, and ultimately war

The crime of ecocide

ecocide arises out of human intervention. Heavy extraction, toxic dumping, release of pollutants can all result in ecocide.

ecocide will stop damaging and destructive activity. Where voluntary corporate governance, market trading and offset mechanisms have have failed, ecocide will create specific legally binding responsibilities.

ecocide is a crime of consequence e.g where an energy company procures its energy by extracting fossil fuel, as opposed to creation from renewable energy, that would result in ecocide.

ecocide is not a crime of intent. The intention is rarely to render damage on a given territory, more often it is an outcome of another primary (economic or war) activity.

ecocide creates a pre-emptive obligation. A duty of reasonable care is put in place, ensuring that individual and collective (corporate, governmental and armies) responsibility is taken by those who have contractual rights over a given territory before damage or destruction of a given territory takes place..

ecocide is preventative. It is a crime focused on preventing harm, rather than focusing on blame. This entails the enforcement of standards of conduct and care.

ecocide protects public interests. by creating a pre-emptive obligation not to damage, destroy or create loss of ecosystems, emphasis shifts from from the protection of individual (and corporate) interests to the protection of public and societal interests.

ecocide is a tool to enforce restorative justice. Instead of paying fines, focus will be on restoration of damage caused by the illegal activity. Imposing extensive restoration provisions ensures the duty of care is not evaded by those who have derogated their responsibilities.

ecocide creates responsibilities at international and national level. Primary responsibility to prevent, investigate and punish the crime of ecocide is first and foremost with the home country. Where a crime of ecocide has taken place on a given territory, and the home country is unwilling or unable to take action, then the crime will come under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. By implementing ecocide as a crime at international level, the pressure is immediately created for the crime to be speedily implemented at national level.

ecocide sends a powerful global message to the world, not just to those involved in business or during war, to take responsibility for the well being of all life.

ecocide is a crime against peace.

We the peoples of the United Nations, determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war…to promote social progress and better standards of life in greater freedom”.

The Charter of the United Nations, Preamble, 1945

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