Donna Minha, The Proposed Definition of the Crime of Ecocide: An Important Step Forward, but Can Our Planet Wait?, EJIL: Talk! (July 3, 2021)

The proposed definition has already prompted a lively discussion, with regard to various aspects and components of the definition. However, and regardless of the exact wording to be ultimately adopted by States Parties, one may assume that amending the Rome Statute so that it includes the crime of ecocide will not be an easy task, to say the least, due to the difficulties of building broad political support and global cooperation around the definition. Additionally, even if two thirds of States Parties were to agree to amend the Statute, as required by Article 121(3) of the Rome Statute, achieving this might take time. When asked, Prof. Sands estimated that amending the Statute so that it includes the proposed crime of ecocide would take “somewhere between five and fifty years”. Also, the amendment will most probably not apply retroactively and – according to article 121(5) of the Rome Statute – it will enter into force only for those States Parties which have accepted the amendment.