Olalere Omoteniola Popoola, Ecocide: The Imperatives for International Legal Regulation, SSRN (August 19, 2022)

This study against the backdrop of years of ungoverned, unrestrained widespread, and systematic harm to nature caused by detrimental human activities foretells an ecocidal and ecological crisis and emergency such that the destruction of the natural world destroys the chances of maintaining a liveable planet, set out to examine the concept of ecocide and the imperatives for international legal regulation.

By seeking to examine the concept of ecocide, consider global attempts at creating a legal framework for regulating ecocide and highlight the challenges militating against the effectiveness of global attempts at regulating ecocide before proffering recommendations on this discourse employed the doctrinal method of research which entails the examination and discussion of legal principles and doctrines from journals, case laws, the Rome Statute, and charters among others.

This study thus found that ecocide as a concept developed in the 1970s when demands were made for its criminalisation under international law which never materialised and even with the entering into force of the Rome Statute, no provision for ecocide was made and the closest to the criminalisation and punishment of environmental damage was couched under Article 8 (2) (b) (iv) which only accounted for possibly ecocidal acts in times of war. This study also found that there is a lack of consensus on a generally accepted definition for ecocide hence, warranting calls for the express criminalisation of ecocide as a crime committed whether in peace or wartime.

The study thus concluded by drawing attention to the impending danger that will arise if ecocide is not criminalised under the Rome Statute or a specific Ecocide Convention and thus added voice to the call for an amendment to the Statute as well as a possible universal declaration of environmental rights which specifies the inherent rights of nature that is diametrical to human rights that will perhaps change the trajectory of environmental protection discourse in the international community.