The New International Crime of Ecocide

Ahmed Farooq, International Law Officer

21 Jun 2021

If the adoption of the crime of ecocide by the ICC transpires, it would be the fifth offence that the Court now prosecutes. The other four crimes are genocide, crimes against humanity, the crime of aggression, and war crimes. Philippe Sands QC explains that ecocide is unique in the respect that it focuses on the protection of the environment whereas the other crimes focus on the protection of the individual.

The promulgation of the crime of ecocide is being hailed as a historic development. Law on ecocide had been debated for many decades, such as in the 1972 Stockholm Conference and in the drafting process of the 1998 Rome Statute. Now that the crime is on the cusp of legal recognition, it promises to launch a new non-anthropocentric approach in international law.

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