Ecocide Law - A defining step for environmental accountability

Ecocide Law Alliance tracks progress across the world.

KEY EVENTS

August 2021 - CHILE
Chilean parliamentarians launch bill consisting of an amendment to the Chilean penal code to introduce a new crime of ecocide which is directly based on the new definition.

July 2021 - UK
An amendment has been submitted by Baroness (Natalie) Bennett of Manor Castle to the UK Environment Bill using the full definition elaborated by the Independent Expert Panel for the Legal Definition of Ecocide convened by our Foundation. If the amendment is passed by both Houses, the UK government will be the first to adopt the definition.

July 2021 - UN SECRETARY-GENERAL  
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has voiced his support for an international crime of ecocide.  When queried by a journalist from major Spanish broadcaster EFE as to whether he thought that including ecocide as a crime at the International Criminal Court would be desirable, his response was emphatic: “Highly desirable!” he replied.

June 2021 - SCOTLAND
Cross-party support has been gathered for a motion to the Scottish parliament submitted by MSP Monica Lennon welcoming the new definition of ecocide from the expert drafting panel convened by the Stop Ecocide Foundation.

June 2021 - BANGLADESH
Bangladeshi parliamentary committee on the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change recommends adding a provision to the Code of Criminal Procedure or drafting a new legal framework to codify ecocide.

The committee's chairman Saber Hossain Chowdhury commented: "Just as genocide is treated as a crime, the destruction of an ecosystem also warrants the same treatment. This is because without an ecosystem, none of us can survive."

Chowdhury is a former president of the Inter-Parliamentary Union which voted almost unanimously in May of this year to support national parliaments considering ecocide legislation.

May 2021 - INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION, IPU
Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), representing 179 parliaments around the world, adopted a resolution calling on all “IPU Member Parliaments to reinforce criminal law to prevent and punish widespread, long-term and severe damage to the environment, whether caused in peacetime or war, and to examine the possibility of recognizing the crime of ecocide to prevent the threats and conflicts resulting from climate-related disasters and their consequences.” (paragraph 31)  All countries supported the ecocide clause except India, Nicaragua and Turkey.

May 2021 - EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT The European Parliament Legal Affairs committee on the liability of companies for environmental damage urged the European Commission to “study the relevance of ecocide to EU law and EU diplomacy” (para 12).

The European Parliament Foreign Affairs committee on the effects of climate change on human rights and the role of environmental defenders on this matter resolved to encourage “the EU and its Member States to take a bold initiative ... to pave the way within the International Criminal Court (ICC) towards new negotiations between the parties with a view to recognising ‘ecocide’ as an international crime under the Rome Statute” (para 11).

February 2021 - LUXEMBOURG
Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the Environment jointly state that Luxembourg is "ready to support the recognition of ecocide in European and international law when the time comes".

January 2021 - CANADA
Official response to ecocide petition says Canada will “follow closely the discussions on ecocide at the international level”

January 2021 - EUROPEAN UNION
ENVI (environmental) committee calls on the Commission and member states to support recognition of ecocide in international law, and on the Commission to study its relevance for EU law

January 2021 - FINLAND
Former President of Finland (2000-2012), Tarja Halonen, publicly expresses her support for an international crime of ecocide.

January 2021 - EUROPEAN UNION
Parliament votes to encourage member states to support recognition of ecocide as a crime at the ICC.

December 2020 - SPAIN
Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee presents recommendation to Spanish government to examine possibility of legislating for ecocide nationally and internationally.

December 2020 - NETHERLANDS
Party for the Animals delivers white paper on ecocide to parliament.

December 2020 - BELGIUM
Official statement made to the ICC’s Assembly of States Parties by Deputy Prime Minister / Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmès makes Belgium first European nation to raise criminalising ecocide at the International Criminal Court.

December 2020 - FINLAND
Foreign minister Pekka Haavisto delivers special message at ICC side event in support for Vanuatu & the Maldives, expressing interest in ecocide discussion and ecocide definition drafting.

October 2020 - PORTUGAL
PAN party proposes legislating for ecocide in parliament, motion defeated but discussion is productive (see January 2021).

October 2020 - BELGIUM
Newly formed Belgian government pledges to “take diplomatic action to halt ecocide crime” as part of its government programme.

October 2020 - UK
Shadow Justice Minister David Lammy calls for ecocide to be criminalised in his TED Countdown talk.

Sept/Oct 2020 - SWEDEN
Two motions on ecocide submitted to the Swedish parliament, one from the Left Party and one from the Greens/Social Democrats.

July 2020 - SWEDEN
MPs from both ruling parties (Green and Social Democrat) contact Stop Ecocide Foundation requesting a draft legal definition of ecocide / Rome Statute amendment.

July 2020 - BELGIUM
Motion submitted to parliament by Green parties calling for ecocide legislation nationally and internationally.

June 2020 - FRANCE
President Macron promises to champion  recognition of ecocide on the international stage and examine it for inclusion into French law, in response to proposals from Citizens Climate Assembly.

March 2020 - SWEDEN
Workers movement urges Sweden to lead on proposing ecocide crime.

December 2019 - VANUATU and the MALDIVES
Call for serious consideration of ecocide crime at the International Criminal Court’s assembly.

November 2019 - VATICAN
Pope Francis calls for ecocide to be made a “fifth category of crimes against peace” at the International Criminal Court.

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