Joe Udell, Environmental Destruction and Human Rights Abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Examining the Epicenter of the Cobalt Mining Industry from an International Criminal Law Perspective. Minnesota Journal of International Law. (2023) 32(1) 195-240 (February 2023)

Satisfying the world’s growing demand for cobalt, which is used
in a broad range of medical, military, technology, and renewable
energy industries, comes at an incredible environmental and human
cost, from the pollution of rivers and farmlands to the exploitation of
thousands of laborers. Currently, the bulk of attention paid to the
nexus between international criminal law and severe environmental
and human rights abuses remains focused on efforts to amend the
Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to confer jurisdiction
over the proposed international crime of ecocide. While not
suggesting that such efforts are not worthwhile and laudable, this
article considers how international criminal law might help reform
the epicenter of the cobalt mining industry in the Democratic Republic
of the Congo (DRC) through a representative case study that examines
the potential applicability of the proposed international crime of
ecocide and the existing category of crimes against humanity to the
conduct of key actors affiliated with one of the world’s largest
extraction corporations. Based on the subsequent analysis, I argue
that in certain contexts, including that of harmful cobalt mining
practices in the DRC, international criminal law may still have a role
to play in applying pressure for positive changes in worker conditions
and environmental responsibility.