Making Ecocide A Crime
HOW DO WE MAKE ECOCIDE AN INTERNATIONAL CRIME?
Right now, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) includes four crimes:
Crimes Against Humanity
Crimes of Aggression (recently added)
The Statute can be amended to add a fifth crime: ECOCIDE.
Unlike prosecuting and fining corporations (who can simply plan fines in their budget), making ecocide a crime creates an arrestable offence. It makes those individuals who are responsible for funding, permitting or causing severe environmental harm liable to criminal prosecution.
A simple 4-step process
(with power and beauty)
Any state which has ratified (formally adopted) the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) may propose an amendment. There are currently 123 of these “States Parties”.
THE POWER OF THIS: As soon as a state (or group of states) submits a proposal, we will begin to see changes in the way corporations behave. Investors, banks and insurers will begin to avoid dangerous investments because they will know the law will arrive within a few years.
The time period is essential, to allow businesses to change their ways – it acts as a transition period.
THE BEAUTY OF THIS: Buisinessed thrive on public and investor confidence. No CEO or shareholder wants to be considered as a war criminal. A law of ECOCIDE will therefore signal the end of corporate immunity – and begin to redirect companies and investors away from harmful practices.
This requires a majority of those present and voting at the next ICC Annual Assembly to accept the amendment for consideration.
THE POWER OF THIS: The ICC Assembly works on a one-state, one-vote basis. The voice of a small Pacific island is therefore just as powerful as that of a large nation. (And there are lots more of them.)
THE BEAUTY OF THIS: There has never been a more suitable time for this discussion than now. States will want to be seen to take this issue – and therefore this amendment – seriously.
3. Adoption into the Statute
This requires at least a 2/3 majority of States Parties (currently 82/123) to be in favour of the amendment. This will probably be done at a special Crime Review Conference, where the final text of the amendment will be discussed and voted on among the States Parties.
THE POWER OF THIS: Once the law is adopted into the Statute, the crime exists (even if it is not yet enforceable). This immediately gives it moral force in people's minds.
THE BEAUTY OF THIS: Harming nature will begin to feel the same as harming human beings. This will help us to grasp the fact that we are part of the living world. This reality is inevitable. Without a healthy Earth, there can be no healthy human beings, as indigenous cultures around the world already know.
States Parties can then ratify (formally submit their agreement), and must enforce the law in their own country the following year.
THE POWER OF THIS: Ecocide becomes a criminal offence in the countries where it is ratified. Beyond that, under universal jurisdiction principles, any ratifying nation may, on its own soil, arrest a non-national for ecocide committed elsewhere, as long as they consider the crime to be serious enough. Therefore, even countries that are not state parties (such as the United States and China) will be affected.
THE BEAUTY OF THIS: The more countries ratify the crime, the more the polluting companies will be limited in their scope of action... and the more attractive it will be to act in harmony with nature.