|Prosecution For Destruction of The Environment Is One Step Closer|
PAN-UK welcomes the news from The Hague this week that the International Criminal court (ICC) will – for the first time – turn its attention to crimes that drive environmental damage.
This means that company executives (potentially including pesticide companies), politicians and other individuals could now be held criminally responsible under international law for crimes that lead to environmental destruction.
The ICC Prosecutor has produced a new ‘Policy Paper on Case Selection and Prioritisation‘, which sets out the criteria it will use when choosing and ordering cases. The full policy can be found here but the key sections on land are as follows:
Paragraph 41 includes the wording “the Office will give particular consideration to prosecuting Rome Statute crimes that are committed by means of, or that result in, inter alia, the destruction of the environment, the illegal exploitation of natural resources or the illegal dispossession of land.”
Paragraph 7 - The Office will also seek to cooperate and provide assistance to States, upon request, with respect to conduct which constitutes a serious crime under national law, such as the illegal exploitation of natural resources, arms trafficking, human trafficking, terrorism, financial crimes, land grabbing or the destruction of the environment.
The policy also contains a number of other mentions of crimes leading to environmental destruction.
PAN-UK has long argued that companies should be held accountable for the harm their products cause and has backed the barrister Polly Higgins in her campaign for a new crime of “Ecocide”. This change in policy is a big step towards this goal.