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Push to make ecocide a crime

Elenoa Baselala In Paris, France
Wednesday, December 09, 2015

A CIVIL society organisation is looking for support from Pacific Island countries to push their agenda of making ecocide a crime in the International Criminal Court (ICC).

End ecocide in Europe, spokesperson Valerie Cabanes said the best states to push this through were the Pacific Islands as they were the most affected by climate change.

The organisation wants ecocide to be recognised as the fifth crime prosecutable before the International Criminal Court in the same manner as the crime against humanity, genocide crime, war crimes or crime of aggression.

The organisation has defined ecocide as the destruction of the global environment.

"End ecocide on Earth is therefore defining ecocide crime as 'an extensive damage or destruction which would have for consequence a significant and durable alteration of the global commons or ecosystem services upon which rely a group or sub-group of a human population' in compliance with the known planetary boundaries," the organisation's website explained.

"End ecocide on earth means by global commons: the oceans and seas beyond territorial waters, the atmosphere, outer atmosphere and their respective chemistry, Arctic, Antarctica, cross-border rivers and lakes, ground water, migratory species, biogeochemical cycles, genetic heritages.

"These spaces and species which belong to no one, and called Res nullius in law, should no longer be the scene of pollution and abusive predation. This would further the protection of the global ecosystem, and in any case the principle of national sovereignty should not be claimed to shirk all liability when they are impacted.

"We also consider that the destruction of an ecosystem service on which rely a human community to live, as a whole or as a sub population is equal to a crime against humanity. Thus, this type of ecocide should not be excluded from an international jurisdiction in the name of national sovereignty, nor be traded through market instruments and trading rights."

Ms Cabanes attended the Coalition of Atoll Nations for Climate Change at the Musee de Quai Branly in Paris yesterday evening (Paris time) to lobby for support.

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