Ecocide can be the law that Earth needs to begin recovering.

We talked with Jojo Mehta about Ecocide, a law that will forever change the relationship and accountability people, corporations, and governments have with planet Earth.

Yeray Lopez
Yeray Lopez

Table of Contents

Crimes prosecuted by the International Criminal Court (ICC)

What are the worst crimes you can imagine? Well, a few offenses are considered especially brutal as they go against populations, vulnerable groups, or are born our hate and designed to cause maximum suffering. Think about war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and crimes of aggression. The International Criminal Court prosecutes them and grants a global attempt for justice, even in the cases where influential individuals who would not be prosecuted in their country are to be trialed. But what about crimes against planet Earth herself, or particular habitats, or the access that future generations will have to clean water and air? That is when Ecocide, as international law at the same level as those prosecuting the crimes stated before, comes into play. Ecocide is a needed new law that will change everything, something that is bound to happen, something important that I wanted to talk to you about.


Why is a new crime needed?

Crimes against nature are nothing new; they happen daily and have been happening for decades. Still, they are not sufficiently prosecuted, in part because the legal tools for such processes have been stopped from happening by corporate and political interests. Ecocide was meant to happen before, but some countries were against its approval. Now we have another chance to make it to the ICC. Let's push for it and share its importance.

About a month ago, I learned about Stop Ecocide and its efforts to make these crimes recognized by the International Criminal Law. Then I decided to interview JoJo Mehta, who co-founded Stop Ecocide, to understand the plan, timeline, repercussions of such a historic effort, and how activists like her keep a sane mindset while fighting these energy-draining-long-lasting battles.

Please watch the interview, and give this initiative a shout-out. I believe it is one of the most articulated, quick, practical, and realistic efforts to begin changing how corporations, nations, and individuals carry on their activities.


What is Ecocide?

Definition

Legal experts from across the globe have drawn up a "historic" definition of Ecocide, intended to be adopted by the international community to prosecute the most egregious offenses against the environment.

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"Ecocide" means unlawful or wanton acts committed with knowledge that there is a substantial likelihood of severe and either widespread or long-term damage to the environment being caused by those acts.


Here you have some examples of how Ecocide can be used to stop and prevent harm to Earth's habitats.

How do we make Ecocide an international crime?

Listen to the audio.

There are four steps needed:
  1. Proposal. Any state which has ratified (officially agreed to) the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) may propose an amendment. There are currently 123 of these "States Parties".
  2. Admissibility. This requires a majority of those present and voting at the next annual assembly of the ICC to agree that the amendment can be considered.
  3. Adoption into the Statute. This requires at least a 2/3 majority of States Parties (currently 82/123) to favor the amendment. It is likely to take place at a special Crime Review Conference, where the final text of the amendment will be discussed and agreed amongst States Parties.
  4. Ratification. States Parties can then ratify (officially submit their agreement) and must enforce the law in their own country one year later.

According to Jojo, this can happen in less than five years, but just hearing about it becoming a reality opens a compliance period that begins changing things already. Amazing!!

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Note: If you are interested in the evolution of the International Criminal Court, here you have important dates. I am sure that we will see Ecocide's approval date there soon.

I hope this was useful to you.
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