Recently, the Independent Expert Panel, convened by Stop Ecocide, has concluded its work on the drafting of a legal definition of ecocide. The new definition is a huge step forward in making ecocide a recognised international crime. Ecocide, which at its most simple means ecological destruction, includes but is not limited to:
- Ocean Damage
- Land and Water Contamination
- Air Pollution
Therefore, the introduction to a legally recognised definition is important as the climate crisis continues and is made worse by such acts. The Independent Expert Panel’s ecocide definition is as follow:
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.
There’s already been important critiques to the new legal definition of ecocide but it is a step in the right direction. It will help begin to address issues such as soil damage and waste that are often ignored. Especially legally.
The full commentary and core text of the new legal definition of ecocide can be found here Independent Expert Panel for the Legal Definition of Ecocide Commentary and Core Text while it can also be read in Spanish here.
What are your thoughts about the new legal definition of ecocide? Let us know in the comments below!!