Rosemary Mwanza, Enhancing Accountability for Environmental Damage under International Law: Ecocide as a Legal Fulfilment of Ecological Integrity, 19 MELB. J. INT’L L. 586 (2018).
This article examines the feasibility of ecocide as a criminal liability norm and concludes that the crime of ecocide represents an appropriate legal response to environmental damage. Mwanza asserts that when viewed through the lens of ecological integrity as a grundnorm for international law, the current substantive aspects of international criminal law relevant to environmental protection do not measure up to the demands of contemporary global environmental challenges, but a new crime of ecocide could fill this gap. In supporting proposals for new crime, Mwanza advocates for corporate criminal liability, an environmental (rather than anthropocentric) focus, and strict liability for perpetrators. Mwanza notes that in addition to legal and philosophical hurdles in arriving at an appropriate definition, the ICC’s institutional issues and lack of political support could pose a challenge. Thus, she suggests that efforts to strengthen the ICC’s role as a forum for environmental protection through development of new norms of accountability should be pursued alongside efforts to address its structural, procedural and legitimacy challenges. Lastly, Mwanza urges national governments and domestic jurisdictions to take action against ecocide, as this could be achieved more easily in the immediate future and would also help galvanize support at the international level.