1) What is your aim and how do you define the crime of Ecocide?
Our aim is to stop the destruction of ecosystems by making ecocide the 5th Crime Against Peace. There are already four of these: genocide, war crimes, crimes of aggression and crimes against humanity. Ecocide is the missing 5th crime – it is a crime against nature, humanity and future generations.
The legal definition of Ecocide submitted to the UN by international barrister and award winning author, Polly Higgins is “the extensive 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”. ‘Peaceful enjoyment’ is the legal term used in the tort of nuisance, which imposes a legal responsibility on those who cause diminution of or injury to life to such an extent that impact is severe.
2) What’s the process for making a new Crime Against Peace?
The Rome Statute is the governing document for the existing 4 Crimes Against Peace. An amendment to the Rome Statute requires 1 Head of State to call for an amendment and then a further 80 Heads of State to agree. 54 small island states all have looming ecocides, from rising sea levels; South America believes in protecting the Earth’s right to life, and Europe already has existing case law that says where human life is being put at risk, we must create new laws. 81 signatories is a challenge that we can meet.
3) Why do you believe in the strategy of changing laws when we see that corporations are often above the law and legal systems can be corrupted?
As an international law, Crimes Against Peace stand above national laws. Eventually the law will become binding on the whole international community through the legal principle of Erga Omnes. Therefore, no one can opt out from international criminal law and we now have the newly created, and successful, International Criminal Court in the Hague where prosecutions of individuals can be held when a country is either unwilling or unable to act.
4) What is your strategy for making Ecocide the 5th Crime against Peace?
Click here to read about the strategy.
5) What’s at the heart of the strategy?
It is currently the law for Chief Executive Officers and directors to put profit first. Our strategy is to empower corporations to put people and planet first. There are good people who are constrained by current laws, laws that prevent us from stopping the ecocide. By making Ecocide a crime the moral imperative trumps the economic imperative. This is about giving corporations the legal framework in which they can choose whether to commit a crime or to become the companies that drive innovation and corporate leadership in a very different direction.
6) Who is Charles Grant?
Charles Grant was the Director of the East India Company, leading a multinational business at a time where the slave trade was not only legal, but an integral part of the global economy. He saw what companies were doing to the world, and he didn’t like it. He had the courage to speak out, and the know-how to help put a stop to the slave trade. Within a few years, slavery became illegal.
The “Who is Charles Grant?” campaign is a full-scale executive search using advertising, the web, social media and headhunters to find a visionary high-level businessperson who will step forward as the new Charles Grant and speak out to eradicate ecocide.
7) Who is on your team?
5 paid staff/consultants and a number of volunteers with wide experience in legal issues, youth and community organizing, social media and fundraising. Find out more about the team here.
8) What are the indications that you have traction and credibility?
Influential individuals and organisations have spoken out in support of the campaign, including Nnimmo Bassey, Jonathon Porritt, Vandana Shiva, Jane Goodall, Paolo Solon, and Deepak Chopra.
We see escalating demand from people across the world wanting to help. We are inundated by requests for Polly to speak at events and for information about the strategies to make Ecocide a crime. Making Ecocide a crime was also examined within the UN for decades before being shelved last minute in 1996, and it is a national crime in ten countries already.
Awards include: Winner of 2012 People and Environment “Campaigner of the Year” and Overall Winner: “The PEA Champion Award”; selected to deliver the Rachel Carson Memorial Lecture 2012, PAN-UK (Pesticide Action Network); Finalist for “Most Inspiring Leader”, Climate Week Awards; Winner of People’s Book Prize for Eradicating Ecocide.
9) How long will it take to get Ecocide made a Crime Against Peace?
Once an amendment to the Rome Statute has been agreed upon to include Ecocide, there will be a period of transition (5 years) when corporations will be given all the help they need to become the drivers for change and create the solutions for a green economy, and to help them thrive economically under the new legal and moral framework.
10) What can I do to help?
You can donate money in a number of ways:
- Donate online through JustGiving
- Inspire others to donate online by setting up your own JustGiving page. It’s easy! http://www.justgiving.com/theearthcommunitytrust/Raisemoney
- Make a direct bank transfer of funds
- To make a donation click here or contact Nina
If you have other questions please read through our extended document of FAQs on Law of Ecocide.