Twelve experts in international law from all over the world convened by the Stop Ecocide Foundation have carefully crafted a definition of ecocide based on concepts and definitions already in the Rome Statute.

The definition has been described by European Commission Vice-President Franz Timmermans as an “excellent starting point” for states to engage with.

200 words to safeguard the planet

The expert panel proposes the following definition of ecocide.

1. For the purpose of this statute, “ecocide” means unlawful or wanton acts committed with knowledge that there is a substantial likelihood of severe and either widespread or long-term damage to the environment being caused by those acts.

2.   For the purpose of paragraph 1:

a. “Wanton” means with reckless disregard for damage which would be clearly excessive in relation to the social and economic benefits anticipated;

b. “Severe” means damage which involves very serious adverse changes, disruption or harm to any element of the environment, including grave impacts on human life or natural, cultural or economic resources;

c. “Widespread” means damage which extends beyond a limited geographic area, crosses state boundaries, or is suffered by an entire ecosystem or species or a large number of human beings;

d. “Long-term” means damage which is irreversible or which cannot be redressed through natural recovery within a reasonable period of time;

e. “Environment” means the earth, its biosphere, cryosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere, as well as outer space.

Commentary in document below.