Christina Voigt, Ecocide as and International Crimes: Personal Reflections on Options and Choices, EJIL:TALK! (Jul. 3, 2021)

In this blog post, Christina Voigt, a member of the Independent Expert Panel (IEP), explains some of the general choices the panel made against the options that were considered. The work on the definition was guided by certain parameters, namely: (1) pragmatism and realism, (2) precedent, (3) deference and respect, (4) environmental integrity, and (5) legal effectiveness. Voigt mentions that the IEP focused on choosing a pragmatic definition that has a chance of being adopted by State Parties. In coming up with the definition, the IEP wanted to be able to trace back key terms and concepts in the proposed definition to authoritative, legal sources and drew inspiration from other international courts. The IEP chose not to amend existing crimes under ICC jurisdiction and instead propose a new crime because any amendment of those crimes could potentially open them up to further negotiations and it was important to capture certain categories of damage, including damage to the environment per se, independent from harm to human life or the contexts of war (both of which are important elements of the core crimes).