The 2-page handout





The reading

There could be a new law on the international statute books. Lawyers across the globe are drafting regulations to make ecocide a crime. Ecocide is the destruction of the world's ecosystems. Lawyers want to make it a legally enforceable crime, much like crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide. The initiative is being led by a professor from University College London (UCL) and a former judge at the International Criminal Court. It has attracted support from several European countries, notably France and Belgium. Island nations at risk from rising sea levels, such as Vanuatu and the Maldives, have voiced their support. A politician in the UK has called for ecocide to be incorporated into law.



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Professor Philippe Sands of UCL spoke about why there is a need for ecocide to be made illegal. He said: "The time is right to harness the power of international criminal law to protect our global environment." He wants the law to hold governments and multi-national corporations accountable for the environmental damage they cause. The Stop Ecocide Foundation said: "In most cases ecocide is likely to be a corporate crime." It outlined the scale of destruction that would require an ecocide law being used. It said: "It would have to involve mass, systematic or widespread destruction. We are probably talking about Amazon deforestation on a huge scale, deep sea-bottom trawling or oil spills."

Sources:

  • https://www.theguardian.com/law/2020/nov/30/international-lawyers-draft-plan-to-criminalise-ecosystem-destruction
  • https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/11/30/end-impunity-deliberate-destruction-planet-international-lawyers-drafting-plan
  • https://www.republicworld.com/world-news/rest-of-the-world-news/international-lawyers-draft-law-against-environmental-destruction-to-criminalise-ecocide.html

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