Aaron Dumont, Ecocide: A New Hope to Save the Environment or Just Another Dead Loss?, Humanitäres Völkerrecht Issue 1-2 (July 2022)
The definition of a crime of ecocide introduced by an independent expert panel in June 2021 has been hyped as being historic. However, its chances of being included in the Rome Statute – particularly in its current form – are questionable. This article will thus firstly discuss whether the newly published definition of ecocide can be dogmatically adopted into the Rome Statute and which modifications would have to be made beforehand, especially regarding mens rea. To this end, a modification of the draft regarding ‘wanton acts’ is proposed. The author then analyzes the environmental law aspects of ecocide, bringing to the fore a possible threat to the principle of cooperation. It will be examined whether a crime of ecocide possibly entails opportunities for bringing ‘sustainable development’ back into its ecological balance and overcoming fragmentation in (international) environmental law. The paper critically examines whether structural deficits of international criminal law can be remedied and whether the shortcomings of international law particularly regarding corporate liability might necessitate the establishment of new institutions that could protect the environment more comprehensively. It lastly discusses alternative proposals to the amendment of the Rome Statute. The author concludes that these alternatives all entail a new set of problems and should thus not be pursued. The non-existence of corporate liability in the Rome Statute is identified as one of the most significant problems for ecocide’s effectiveness.