EU Parliament votes to criminalize cases “comparable to ecocide”

The European Parliament has today voted through a new environmental crime directive, which includes provision to criminalise cases ‘comparable to ecocide’.

Summary:

  • A landmark political agreement was reached on the new crime directive in November 2023, following months of negotiation between the European Council, Commission and Parliament.

  • The European Parliament, along with the Parliament’s rapporteur on the directive, Netherlands MEP Antonius Manders, have been at the centre of efforts to secure new EU legislation aimed at preventing and punishing the most severe environmental harms since it announced its support for the inclusion of “ecocide” in the new directive in March 2023.

  • To complete its legislative journey, the new directive will be subject to a vote by the European Council, scheduled to take place next month (March).

  • Member states will then have 24 months, via the so-called ‘transposition’ process, in which to align national legislation with the directive.

The official text adopted by the European Parliament here.

Information courtesy Stop Ecocide International.

 

“We welcome that criminal liability for severe environmental damage will be introduced into national legislation of the EU member states. But it is not enough”, says Anna Surtevall, experienced corporate lawyer and member of the Ecocide Law Alliance board.

National legislation must be supplemented with international legislation for situations where the damage extends beyond jurisdictions and when national investigation resources are insufficient. For the international level, the logical next step is to make ecocide a crime under the Rome Statute of the ICC. 

“Responsible businesses are now coming out in support of this law”, she continues, “and we hope many more will join the ranks of the pioneers.”

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