Kristin Jones, The Beginning of the End of Ecocide: Amending the Rome Statute to Include the Crime of Ecocide, SSRN (April 10, 2022)
The environment provides a multitude of ecosystem services that ensure our well-being; clean water, pure air, and food, to name a few. Yet, individuals continue to degrade the environment with little to no recourse. Current international laws in place prove ineffective in protecting our environment at a global level. Thus, it is time to enact stricter international laws to hold big polluters accountable. Ecocide, broadly understood to mean mass damage and destruction of ecosystems – severe harm to nature that is widespread or long-term, is a continuing issue on our planet. Thus, it is necessary to criminalize such action to prevent further environmental degradation. The Independent Expert Panel, convened by the Stop Ecocide Foundation for the Legal Definition of Ecocide, recently proposed an amendment to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to include the crime of ecocide. While this proposal offers a viable solution to our current environmental issues, there are several weaknesses in the proposal. This article analyzes the history of ecocide, the proposed Rome Statute amendment, and the weaknesses of the proposed amendment. Through this analysis, it becomes clear that it is necessary to criminalize ecocide despite the disadvantages.