A motion to end ecocide (the extensive destruction of ecosystems) was passed unanimously at the 2013 Green Party Annual Convention in Galway on 13 April 2013. The motion was presented by Cathy Fitzgerald, Carlow/Kilkenny Green Party and Forestry policy spokesperson.
Commenting on the decision to pass the motion, Cathy Fitzgerald said: “I am delighted with the unanimous support from our Party to call for an end to Ecocide. There is growing international legal realisation that current environmental laws and regulations ‘permits’ environmental destruction rather than preventing it. The Law of Ecocide seeks to address environmental degradation from a new perspective and has significant implications to assign legal responsibility to heads of state, corporations and others that cause long-term environmental destruction. This would apply to environmental problems like fracking pollution of ground water, land and air pollution, etc.
“Presented to the United Nations in 2010, Ecocide is increasingly recognised as a legal crime; a crime against humanity, against nature, future generations and fundamentally it is a crime against peace.
“There is a new European Citizens’ Initiative to End Ecocide in Europe this year. If one million signatures are collected, a public hearing must be held in the European Parliament. With three MEPs leading the way, I encourage all to join the campaign against ecocide and sign the petition,” Cathy Fitzgerald concluded.
Notes to the editor:
Ecocide is a proposition of international law; that it is a crime against nature, humanity and future generations, and to be defined as ‘the extensive damage to, destruction of, or loss of ecosystem(s) of a given territory, whether by human agency or other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants (human and non-human) of that territory has been or will be severely diminished’; and that ‘the proposed crime of ecocide be formally recognised as a Crime against Peace subject to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.’
Ecocide is currently recognised in war situations since the Vietnam war. The inter-generational poisoning of humans, forest and land ecosystems by Agent Orange and other toxic herbicides is an example of ecocide. Some veterans associations, such as the NZ Vietnam veterans associations, have succeeded in obtaining legal redress for veterans and their descendants affected by Agent Orange, for example.
It has significant implications for heads of state and corporations to be accountable for environmental destruction and degradation. The Law of Ecocide would create a legal duty of care upon CEOs and heads of state to be legally responsible for the prevention of ecocide: they would not be permitted to produce a product if it resulted in the decimation of any ecosystem. A draft Ecocide Act has been written, and a concept paper, ‘Closing the Door to Dangerous Industrial Activity’, has been submitted to all governments within the EU. Read the Ecocide Act and the proposed amendment to the Rome Statute.
Growing numbers of international legal researchers, led by UK barrister Polly Higgins (http://eradicatingecocide.
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