Ecocide Directive

The Ecocide Directive was drafted to mirror the Ecocide Act. In 2013 a European Citizens Initiative (ECI) sought to raise 1 million votes (the required amount to ensure the tabling of the proposal in the European Parliament). Although the target was not reached, the initiative seeded the proposal and the volunteer group behind it are now moving forward supporting Ecocide law across the world. You can read more about the volunteer movement called End Ecocide on Earth here.

Ecocide Directive

Article 1

Definition of Ecocide

  1. Ecocide

    This Directive sets out the definition of Ecocide as the extensive damage to, destruction of or loss of ecosystem(s) of a given territory, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that:

    1. peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants has been severely diminished; and or
    2. peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of another territory has been severely diminished.
  2. Risk of Ecocide

    This Directive sets out the definition of Ecocide where there is a potential consequence to any activity whereby extensive damage to, destruction of or loss of ecosystem(s) of a given territory, whether by human agency or by other causes, may occur to such an extent that:

    1. peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory or any other territory will be severely diminished; and or
    2. peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory or any other territory may be severely diminished; and or
    3. injury to life will be caused; and or
    4. injury to life may be caused.

Article 2

Breaches of Rights

  1. Crime Against Humanity

    A person, company, organisation, partnership, or any other legal entity who causes Ecocide under Article 1. 1 and has breached a human right to life is guilty of a crime against humanity.

  2. Crime Against Nature

    A person, company, organisation, partnership, or any other legal entity who causes Ecocide under Article 1. 1 and has breached a non-human right to life is guilty of a crime against nature.

  3. Crime Against Future Generations

    A person, company, organisation, partnership, or any other legal entity who causes a risk or probability of Ecocide under Article 1 is guilty of a crime against future generations.

  4. Crime of Ecocide

    The right to life is a recognised human right and where a person, company, organisation, partnership, or any other legal entity causes extensive damage to, destruction of or loss of human and or non-human life of the inhabitants of a territory under Article 1 – Article 2.3 is guilty of the crime of Ecocide.

  5. Crime of Cultural Ecocide

    Where the right to cultural life by indigenous communities has been severely diminished by the acts of a person, company, organisation, partnership, or any other legal entity that causes extensive damage to, destruction of or loss of cultural life of the inhabitants of a territory under Article 1 – Article 2.4, is guilty of the crime of cultural Ecocide.

  6. Offence of Ecocide

    It will be an offence of Ecocide where a natural or legal person, company, organisation, partnership, or any other legal entity is found to be in breach of Article 1 – Article 2.5.

  7. Liability

    1. Any person who pleads guilty or is found guilty of Ecocide under Article 1 – Article 2.5; or
    2. any person who pleads guilty or is found guilty of aiding and abetting, counselling or procuring the offence of Ecocide, under any sections of this Act shall be liable to be sentenced to a term of imprisonment. Either in addition to or substitution of imprisonment any person convicted of Ecocide can exercise the option of entering into a restorative justice process.
  8. Size, duration, impact of Ecocide

    The test for determining whether Ecocide is established is determined on either one or more of the following factors, which have impact on the severity of diminution of peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants, namely:-

    1. size of the extensive damage to, destruction of or loss of ecosystem(s);
    2. duration of the extensive damage to, destruction of or loss of ecosystem(s);
    3. impact of the extensive damage to, destruction of or loss of ecosystem(s)

Article 3

Proceeds of Crime

Member States shall withdraw any proceeds of crime which have been made from committing Ecocide.

Article 4

Strict Liability

Ecocide is a crime of strict liability committed by natural and legal persons.

Article 5

Superior Responsibility

Member States shall take the requisite measures to ensure:

  1. Any director, partner, leader and or any other person in a position of superior responsibility is responsible for offences committed by members of staff under his authority, and is responsible as a result of his authority over such staff, where he fails to take all necessary measures within his power to prevent or to stop all steps that lead to the commission of the crime of Ecocide.
  2. Any member of government, prime minister or minister in a position of superior responsibility is responsible for offences committed by members of staff under his authority, and is responsible as a result of his authority over such staff, where he fails to take all necessary measures within his power to prevent or to stop all steps that lead to the commission of the crime of Ecocide.
  3. With respect to superior and subordinate relationships not described in subsection (1) and (2) of this Article, a superior is responsible for offences committed by staff under his effective authority, as a result of his failure to exercise authority properly over such staff where he failed to take all necessary measures within his power to prevent or repress their commission or to submit the matter to the competent authorities for investigation.
  4. Any agency purporting to lobby on behalf of (1), (2) or (3) of this Article where steps lead to the commission of Ecocide shall be regarded as aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the commission of the offence.
  5. A person responsible under this Article for an offence is regarded as aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the commission of the offence.
  6. In interpreting and applying the provisions of this Article the court shall take into account any relevant judgment or decision of the International Criminal Court.
  7. Nothing in this section shall be read as restricting or excluding:
    1. the liability of any superior, or
    2. the liability of persons other than the superior.

Article 6

Knowledge

Member States shall take the requisite measures to ensure:

  1. Any director, partner or any other person in a position of superior responsibility is responsible for offences committed by him where his actions result in Ecocide, regardless of his knowledge or intent;
  2. Any member of government, president, prime minister or minister in a position of superior responsibility is responsible for offences committed by him where his actions result in Ecocide, regardless of his knowledge or intent.

Article 7

Withdrawal of Immunity of Government Officials and Other Superiors

Where any government official and other superior or their members of staff are in breach of Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, after the commencement of this Directive, the prosecution may be enforced as of right by proceedings taken for that purpose in accordance with the provisions of this Directive.

Article 8

Unlawful Use of Land

Where any land has been destroyed, damaged or depleted as a result of Ecocide or any offences in this Directive, any person who exercises authority over and/or responsibility for the land shall be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.

Article 9

Culpability of a Company, Organisation, Partnership, or any other Legal Entity

Member States who have companies, organisations, partnerships, or any other legal entity registered in their country:

  1. Where an offence under any provision of this Directive is proved to have been committed by a company, organisation, partnership, or any other legal entity with the consent or connivance of, or to have been attributable to any neglect on the part of, any director, manager, secretary or a person who was purporting to act in any such capacity, he as well as the company, organisation, partnership, or any other legal entity shall be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.
  2. Where a person of superior responsibility is convicted of an offence under this Directive by reason of his position as CEO, director, manager, secretary or a person who was purporting to act in any such capacity for a company, organisation, partnership, or any other legal entity, as a consequence of the conviction the company shall be held jointly responsible for the actions of its servant.

Article 10

Orders

  1. Power to order Restoration and Costs

    Where any person, company, organisation, partnership, or any other legal entity has committed an offence under this Directive:

    1. a Restoration Order shall be made; and
    2. a Costs Order shall be made; and
    3. the named person, company, organisation, partnership, or any other legal entity that had business in the given territory shall be deemed responsible for the clean-up operations to the extent that the territory be restored to the level it was before the Ecocide occurred.
  2. Restorative Justice

    1. Subject to Article 9.2, where a defendant pleads or is found guilty, the court must remand the case in order that the victim(s) shall be offered the opportunity to participate in a process of restorative justice involving contact between the offender and any representatives of those affected by the offence.
    2. The Member State court need not remand the case for the purpose specified in Article 9.2 where it is of the opinion that the offence was so serious that this would be inappropriate.
    3. The Member State court has the power to order heads of agreement.
    4. Heads of agreement pursuant to a Restorative Justice process can include the following:
      1. Restoration Order
      2. Cost Order
      3. Environmental Protection Order
      4. Suspension of Operations Order
      5. Environment Investigation Agency Order
      6. Publicity Order
      7. Enforcement Notice
      8. Earth Health and Well-being Report
  3. Environmental Protection Order (EPO)

    Where any person, company, organisation, partnership, or any other legal entity has on the balance of probabilities caused or is likely to cause extensive destruction, damage to or loss of ecosystems of a given territory an EPO shall be made by a Member State court for the duration of any related proceedings and shall only be extinguished by either an acquittal or by an imposition of a Restoration Order.

  4. Suspension of Operations Order

    Any person, company, organisation, partnership, or any other legal entity identified under a restoration order shall be suspended from operating until the territory has been restored to a level that is acceptable to an independent audit, undertaken by the Environmental Investigation Agency.

  5. Determination by the Environmental Investigation Agency

    The Environmental Investigation Agency shall determine whether appropriate remediation has been undertaken within the timescale set by the court, and or whether additional steps (such as the imposition or discharge of an EPO) are necessary, and or shall identify the nature of remediation outstanding and how best to implement.

  6. Publicity Order

    Where any person, company, organisation, partnership, or any other legal entity has committed an offence under this Directive a Publicity Order may be ordered by the Court setting out:

    1. the fact of the conviction;
    2. the terms of any restorative justice, remedial and or commercial prohibition order(s) or any other order the court has made and deems fit for public announcement;
    3. the amount of any financial order;
    4. specified particulars of the offence.

    A publicity order can be renewed at any review hearing following a plea of guilty or conviction.

  7. Prohibition Notice

    1. Where a person, organisation or government agency can demonstrate on the balance of probabilities that activities that fall within the definition of Ecocide within this Directive are at risk of commencing, or have commenced, or are continuing and involve an imminent risk of Ecocide, the Member State court shall issue a Prohibition Notice on the person(s) and or the company(s) carrying on the process.
    2. Where a person, organisation or government agency can demonstrate on the balance of probabilities that a failure to take steps by any company, organisation, partnership, government department or any other legal entity can lead to an imminent risk of Ecocide, the court shall issue a notice (a ‘prohibition notice’) on the person(s) and the company(s) carrying on the process.
    3. A Prohibition Notice shall direct that the authorisation shall, until the notice is withdrawn, wholly or to the extent specified in the notice cease to have effect to authorise the carrying on of the process; and where the direction applies to part only of the process it may impose conditions to be observed in carrying on the part which is so authorised.
  8. Enforcement Notice

    1. Any person, company, organisation, partnership, or any other legal entity or government agency that is at risk of being prosecuted for Ecocide may be issued with an Enforcement Notice giving an order made by the Member State court to cease all activities that may give rise to Ecocide.
    2. Any person, company, organisation, partnership, or any other legal entity or government agency that has been found guilty of Ecocide shall be issued with an Enforcement Notice giving an order made by the Member State court to cease all activities that may give rise to Ecocide and pay any consequential losses.
    3. Where an Enforcement Notice has been ordered by a court, an Enforcement Notice shall be issued by the Environment Investigation Agency setting out the steps to be taken and specify the period within which those steps must be taken.
  9. Earth Health and Well-being Report

    Where a territory has been identified as an area at risk of Ecocide or has been named as a territory for the purposes of a Prohibition Notice, an Earth Health and Well-being Report shall be ordered by the court.

Article 11

False Written and Oral Statements

  1. Where any person submits a written statement in any proceedings under this Directive which he knows to be false or does not believe to be true, he shall be liable to be sentenced to a term of imprisonment.
  2. Where any person submits evidence in any proceedings under this Directive which he knows to be false or does not believe to be true, he shall be liable to be sentenced to a term of imprisonment.
  3. Member States shall take the requisite measures to prevent perjury and to prosecute any person who has submitted a written and or given evidence under this Directive which he knows to be false or does not believe to be true.
  4. Any person, company, organisation, partnership, or any other legal entity who is charged with an offence under this Directive must provide full disclosure of their finances to the court and failure to disclose by any person ordered by the court for the purposes of this Part shall be liable to be sentenced to a term of imprisonment.

Article 12

Jurisdiction

Member States shall take the requisite measures to ensure:

  1. Where a person commits Ecocide in a different jurisdiction then, notwithstanding that he does so outside any EU Member State, he shall be guilty of committing or attempting to commit the offence against Directive as if he had done so in any EU Member State, and he shall accordingly be liable to be prosecuted, tried and punished in the EU without proof that the offence was committed there.
  2. Where a person of any EU Member State is in a different jurisdiction and who is charged with, or found guilty of in absentia, any sections under this Directive, a warrant for his arrest shall be issued.
  3. Where there is more than one person, in different jurisdictions and who are charged with, or found guilty of in absentia, any sections under this Directive, multiple warrants may be issued at the same time.

Article 13

Restoration and Consequential Loss Costs

  1. Restoration and Consequential Loss Costs

    Where any person, company, organisation, partnership, or any other legal entity has been convicted of Ecocide, he and or it shall be held responsible for any restoration costs that have arisen from causing Ecocide and any consequential losses arising from injury, loss of life, diminution of health or well-being of the inhabitants of the given territory.

  2. Balance of Probabilities

    No costs shall accrue to any person, organisation or government agency when seeking an order, interim order or prosecution pursuant to the provisions of this Directive; costs shall only apply when the person, organisation or government agency fails to establish on the balance of probabilities that there exists a prima facie case pursuant to the provisions of this Directive.

  3. Costs Assessment

    Where Ecocide has occurred, the health and well-being of the community shall be restored as far as possible to the condition as it existed before the Ecocide occurred; and

    1. such costs of cultural Ecocide shall be accorded equal priority with restoration of any ecological Ecocide; and
    2. any costs shall be assessed at a separate cost hearing and shall be enforceable under an Enforcement Notice.

Article 14

Extent

  1. Implementation

    Member States shall take the Directive and incorporate it into their Criminal Penal Codes, or equivalent, which shall now read:

    1. It is an offence against the law of our Member State for a person to commit genocide, a crime against humanity and nature, a crime of aggression, a war crime or Ecocide.
    2. This section applies to acts committed:
      1. in any EU Member State, or
      2. outside the EU

      by any EU Member State national, any EU Member State resident or a person subject to EU Member State service jurisdiction.

  2. Short Title, Application and Extent

    This Directive:

    1. may be cited as the Ecocide Directive;
    2. extends to the whole of the Member States of the EU;
    3. may be subject to additions and shall prevail over all other legislation;

    No exemptions shall be made subsequent to this Directive being enacted.

Article 15

Interpretation

In this Directive:

‘Cultural Ecocide’
means the damage, destruction to or loss of a community’s way of life including a community’s spiritual practices.
‘Earth Health and Well-being Report’
means a report which shall include an assessment of human, cultural and non-human health and well-being impact from damage, destruction to or loss of ecosystem(s) of the immediate and or any other territories affected or at risk of being affected.
‘ecosystem’
means a biological community of interdependent living organisms and their physical environment.
‘inhabitants’
means any living species dwelling in a particular place.
‘other causes’
means naturally occurring events such as but not limited to; tsunamis, earthquakes, acts of God, floods, hurricanes and volcanoes.
‘peaceful enjoyment’
means the right to peace, health and well-being of all life.
‘restorative justice’
means a process applied as an alternative to conventional sentencing. Where guilt has been accepted or a defendant has been found guilty, he she may choose to enter into a restorative justice process where he she shall engage with representatives of parties injured to agree terms of restoration.
‘territory’
means any domain, community or area of land, including the people, water and or air that is affected by or at risk or possible risk of Ecocide.