Monthly Archive for October, 2011

Ecocide–Mock Trial

Ecocide -- An international crime?

Should “ecocide” be considered an international crime, alongside genocide, crimes against humanity, crimes of aggression and war crimes? Ecocide can be defined, according to British environmental lawyer Polly Higgins, as “the mass damage, destruction to, or loss of ecosystems of a given territory, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been severely diminished.” The United Nations Law Commission is currently considering a proposal to enact a law against ecocide.

To highlight the importance of this concept, a mock trial has been conducted at the United Kingdom Supreme Court as though the crime of ecocide had already been adopted. The CEO’s of fictitious fossil fuel companies, played by actors, were grilled and defended by real barristers and international lawyers. The two crimes chosen for the ecocide mock trial were the extraction of oil from Canada’s tar sands and a major oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The verdict handed down by the volunteer jury? Both bosses were found guilty as charged. Read more from The Independent:

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