Josef Rybacki, The Definition of Ecocide, WILMERHALE (Aug. 10, 2021)

The blog discusses the Independent Expert Panel’s definition of ecocide. In terms of the actus reus, the author notes that there are two acts that criminal liability could be attached to: unlawful and wanton acts. The author believes the unlawful route is more straightforward than the wanton one because the latter sets a high bar for prosecution as he believes that the defendant will argue that they did not know the damage or the scale of such damage. In relation to the mens rea, the author breaks down every part of the “’knowledge that there is a substantial likelihood of severe and either widespread or long-term damage to the environment being caused by those acts”. Lastly, the author states that international criminal law is not a perfect tool to address environmental issues, but acknowledges that the effects of environmental crisis can be compared to some of the effects of war which are “the natural domain of the ICC.