End Ecocide in Europe have created this great video to explain the impact of Ecocide in a nutshell.
A brief History of the Law of Ecocide
The concept of Ecocide has been around since the 1970s. Making Ecocide a Crime Against Peace was examined within the UN for decades throughout the 1970s – 1990s. It was shelved last minute in 1996 without being put to the vote and despite a number of countries objecting to its exclusion. Ecocide really is the missing 5th Crime Against Peace. Learn more.
However, there are ten countries who believe that Ecocide is a crime and implemented laws in their own countries to prevent it.
Ten countries have made Ecocide during peacetime a national crime. In these countries’ penal codes, the crime of Ecocide stands alongside the other four international Crimes Against Peace; Crimes Against Humanity, Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes of Aggression. These four core crimes are set out as international crimes in the Rome Statute.
When the Crimes Against Peace were originally being examined within the UN throughout the 1970s to the 1990s, many countries were in favor of including Ecocide as the fifth Crime Against Peace. However, Ecocide was left out in 1996, despite many countries objecting to its exclusion. Read the report “Ecocide is the Missing 5th Crime Against Peace”.
The fact that many countries have created the national crime of Ecocide at a time when they were putting in place national laws for the Crimes Against Peace highlights that many countries were in support of an international crime of Ecocide.
Further research on the effectiveness of these laws is being carried out by lawyers within the International Senior Lawyers Project UK.
Although there are Ecocide laws in place, the effectiveness of these laws depends on a number of factors including the enforcement of the law, an independent judiciary and respect for the rule of law. Many of the countries with national Ecocide laws in place are ranked very highly for corruption and low for respect for the rule of law by Transparency International.
For an Ecocide law to be more effective it must be implemented on an international level. In this case, action could be taken against members of governments and judiciaries who are complacent with Ecocide. The possibility of being prosecuted through the International Criminal Court will help to ensure that the law is effectively enforced.