Ludwik A. Teclaff, Beyond Restoration—The Case of Ecocide, 34(4) Nat. Resources J. 933–56 (1994)

Professor Teclaff’s article demonstrates that despite ecocide’s long history, its impact on international law has been small until the second half of the 20th century, when the international community started to respond. Characterizing the activities constituting modern ecocide as “the sheer scale of the damage done to the environment,” he contends that ecocide may justifiably be extended to “peacetime activities that destroy or damage ecosystems on a massive scale.” After reviewing states’ responses in the 20th century, including prohibitions, penalties, compensation, as well as state liability, Professor Teclaff suggests that “where there exists a real threat of ecocide on a global scale, the only adequate response may be prohibition.” Anticipating opposition from a number of states should ecocide be treated as an international crime, he considers a regime under which ecocide is a “supertort” or delict, which would still be an offense erga omnes. He envisages that all states should have standing to bring cases before “appropriate tribunals,” which at the time of writing was being discussed as what would become the ICC or a “special environmental tribunal.” Professor Teclaff adds that international organizations and non-governmental organizations should also have standing to sue to make prosecution more effective. On the other hand, he believes that if ecocide is accepted as an international environmental crime, this would expedite the process of strengthening enforcement. Either way, “an effective international regime is an essential prerequisite to a world free of the fear of ecocide.”

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