Following French President Emmanuel Macron’s statement last month in support of a crime of ecocide, the Belgian Ecolo-Groen parties have been quick to seize the moment to propose establishing the crime in Belgium and internationally.
Belgian eco-greens propose making ecocide a crime
The Belgian Ecolo-Groen (Eco-Green) parties have been quick to seize the moment to propose establishing the crime of ‘Ecocide” in Belgium and in the wider international community, following French president Emmanuel Macron’s statement last month in support of a crime of ecocide.
Belgian Greens support ecocide amendment to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
Belgian eco-green parties, in consultation with French legal expert and Stop Ecocide associate Valérie Cabanes, have introduced a bill into the federal parliament’s Chamber of Representatives, proposing to examine introducing a crime of ecocide into the Belgian penal code, in collaboration with the regions.
The bill also pledges to support the initiative of Vanuatu and the Maldives to amend the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to include the crime of ecocide. It also proposes, on behalf of the Kingdom of Belgium, amendments to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court with the aim of including the crime of ecocide.
The Intrinsic Value of Ecosystems
Samuel Cogolati, the member of parliament behind the proposal, is committed to preventing mass destruction of the Earth. He explained: “Right now the law forbids theft and drug trafficking but is silent on the most serious crimes committed against the planet. Now we are all victims of climate breakdown, pollution and the collapse of biodiversity. We must protect nature and future generations in much stronger, more enforceable ways.
"We must recognise the intrinsic value of ecosystems in our penal code. Because without water, without forests, without clean air, we cannot survive on Earth. The planet is our common home. It’s time for criminal law to urgently come to the rescue.”
Cogolati’s proposal will be discussed and voted on after the summer break. As the Ecolo-Groens make up the second biggest party group in Belgium, it will certainly be taken seriously.
Widespread and Growing Support
Cabanes, for her part, is glad to see so many years of dedicated campaigning in France and beyond beginning to pay off: “The great thing emerging right now is the voice of states with a strong diplomatic influence (France, Belgium), so that real negotiations can begin and an amendment to the Rome Statute to recognise ecocide can be put on the agenda, no doubt in 2021.
"Moreover Belgium [is] one of the countries that already operates international jurisdiction [so] a national law can have international impact, and that is extremely interesting.”
Brussels is clearly the place to be this week for discussing ecocide crime. Just yesterday two young Belgian “Fridays For Future” activists, Anuna de Wever and Adélaïde Charlier, joined Greta Thunberg of Sweden and Luisa Neubauer of Germany to launch an open letter addressing the EU leaders meeting in Brussels today to discuss Covid-19 recovery.
The letter, which has already attracted many thousands of signatures, urges leaders to treat the climate crisis as a crisis, with a key demand for them to support an international crime of ecocide.
Society and politicians alike are waking up to the need to protect our precious life support system
There is growing support for the move to make ecocide an international crime. Last November Pope Francis called for ecocide as a “fifth category of crimes against peace”, and in December the small island states of Vanuatu and the Maldives called for serious consideration of ecocide crime at the International Criminal Court’s assembly.
Jojo Mehta, co-founder of the international Stop Ecocide campaign, said: “This is an incredibly exciting week. Civil society and politicians alike are waking up to the need for a simple, enforceable way to protect our precious life support system – the natural living world.
Making ecocide a crime is a straightforward way to prevent further devastation. We were already delighted at the huge wave of support for Greta’s letter yesterday and now eagerly await the outcome of Belgium’s discussions after the summer.”
Greta Thunberg has been awarded the Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity, worth €1 Million. Her foundation is donating the award money to charitable causes, starting with €100,000 to the Stop Ecocide Foundation and to the SOS Amazonia campaign by Fridays for Future Brazil.
Rights of Nature Law, Policy and Education Around the world
The law has seen the beginning of an evolution toward recognition of the inherent rights of Nature to exist, thrive and evolve. This evolving legal approach acknowledges that the traditional environmental regulatory systems generally regard nature as property to be used for human benefit, rather than a rights-bearing partner with which humanity has co-evolved.
Rights of Nature is grounded in the recognition that humankind and Nature share a fundamental, non-anthropocentric relationship given our shared existence on this planet, and it creates guidance for actions that respect this relationship. Legal provisions recognising the Rights of Nature, sometimes referred to as Earth Jurisprudence, include constitutions, national statutes, and local laws.
In addition, new policies, guidelines and resolutions are increasingly pointing to the need for a legal approach that recognises the rights of the Earth to well-being. Furthermore, educational activities on the rights of Nature are on the increase in the professional and public spheres to advance Earth Jurisprudence worldwide.
Click HERE to see an alphabetical list of which countries are doing what and since when.
SURVEY FINDS 7 PEOPLE IN 10 WORLDWIDE CONSIDER CLIMATE CHANGE AS SERIOUS AS COVID-19
A multinational poll conducted for Earth Day 2020 shows a 71% majority of the global public are as concerned about climate change as they are about COVID-19, and two thirds support a green economic recovery from the crisis. Where do you stand?