Interesting new developments

Here are some topics that ECO is following in the news:


Ecocide - Crime against the environment as a crime against humanity

The concept that serious damage to the environment, the basis of our life, should be seen as a criminal act is gaining serious consideration. Polly Higgins, a British environmental lawyer has recently addressed audiences in New Zealand, expounding on her proposal that Ecocide become the 5th Crime Against Peace, to sit alongside Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, War Crimes and Crimes of Aggression. as an international crime. (See

Higgins argues that corporations and governments should be prosecuted in the International Criminal Count for widespread, longlasting and severe environmental damage or “ecocide”.  These entities, or the people responsible within them, should have a duty of care, the same responsibility as individuals to act without recklessness and to be responsible for the harm they cause to others.

She proposes that ecocide might be defined as “mass damage, destruction or loss of ecosystems of a given territory, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been severely damaged”.

Polly Higgins points out that international laws apply for ecocide in wartime and the defining conditions of size, duration and impact of the damage could and should be extended to peacetime. She has proposed this legislation to the United Nations, and the Bolivian Government is one which has adopted such legislation in domestic law. Her book, Eradicating Ecocide has won the UK People’s Book Prize.


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