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Legal definition of ecocide as a crime against the planet

June 25, 2021

WRITTEN BY

Katrina Lehmann-Grube

Marian Drew

Cormac Cullinan

An international panel has decided on a legal definition for ecocide as a crime against humanity as a whole, but above all, against the planet.

An international panel has decided on a legal definition for ecocide as a crime against humanity as a whole, but above all, against the planet.

In late 2020, the Stop Ecocide Foundation convened an Independent Expert Panel for the Legal Definition of Ecocide. This Panel comprises twelve lawyers from around the world, with a balance of backgrounds, and expertise in criminal, environmental and climate law.

They have worked together for six months, charged with preparing a practical and effective definition of the crime of ‘ecocide’. The Panel was assisted by outside experts and a public consultation that brought together hundreds of ideas from legal, economic, political, youth, faith, and indigenous perspectives from around the globe.

The Panel convened for five remote sessions between January and June 2021, and a consensus on a core text of a definition of ecocide as an international crime was reached in June 2021.

It is the hope of the Panel that the proposed definition might serve as the basis of consideration for an amendment to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Statute addresses crimes that are deemed to be of international interest and relevance, and the time has come to extend the protections for serious environmental harm, already recognized to be a matter of international concern.

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Legal definition of ecocide as a crime

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