The call for criminal liability for the causation of harm to the environment has been gaining renewed traction. France is drafting a law on so-called ecocide and in June 2021, the European Parliament, in its biodiversity strategy, called for the EU to promote inclusion of ecocide in the Rome Statue. Questions arise about the scope of the potential criminal definition, which court(s) should have jurisdiction and whether damage to the environment should be dealt with in the field of (international) criminal law at all.
This roundtable addresses some of the possibilities and limits of the criminalization of ecocide, reflecting on the recent work by the Independent Expert Panel for the Legal Definition of Ecocide. This draft aims to embed ecocide in the Rome Statute as a fifth crime against peace. However, is it acceptable to speak of a universal humanity (singular) in the context of ecological disaster, while causes and effects are disproportionately distributed over the global north and global south?
The goal of this conversation is to critically engage with the possibility and necessity of a crime of ecocide on the (inter)national level, and to assess its future directions. We will also specifically reflect on the definition of ecocide by the expert panel.
14:00 Welcome by dr. Laura Burgers, assistant professor Amsterdam Centre for Transformative private law (ACT), University of Amsterdam
14:10 Keynote address by prof. Phillipe Sands, Professor of public understanding of law at University College London, and Samuel and Judith Pisar Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and President of English PEN
14:35 Panel 1
Prof. Harmen van der Wilt, professor of international criminal law, Amsterdam Center for Criminal Justice, University of Amsterdam Climate change: we cannot be worried enough. But is (international) criminal law the best solution?
Barbara van Straaten, Prakken d’Oliveira Human Rights Lawyers
Ecocide as international crime? Perspectives on prosecution and adjudication in the Netherlands
Merle Kooijman, PhD Candidate, Amsterdam Centre for Criminal Justice, University of Amsterdam
Normative foundations of ecocide – a PhD research design
15:20 Coffee break
15:35 Panel 2
Marina Mancini, associate professor of international law, Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria, and adjunct professor of international criminal law, LUISS Guido Carli University The requirement of ‘unlawfulness or wantonness’ in the Independent Expert Panel’s definition of ecocide
Ana Stella Ebbersmeyer, PhD Candidate, University of Copenhagen. Environmental Protection through International Criminal Law: A Legal Analysis of Available Options
Judith Alkema, research assistant, Wageningen University & Michael Faure, professor of law and economics, Erasmus University and professor of comparative environmental (criminal) law, University of Maastricht
Criminalizing ecocide: challenges and opportunities
Tomas Hamilton, Post-Doctoral Researcher, Amsterdam Centre for Criminal Justice, University of Amsterdam & Marc Tiernan, PhD Candidate, Amsterdam Centre for Criminal Justice, University of Amsterdam. Assessing the scope of liability for acts of ecocide