Environmental crimes at the International Criminal Court

Sede do Tribuinal Penal Internacional, em Haia, na Holanda Sede do Tribuinal Penal Internacional, em Haia, na Holanda

In September 2016, the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) published a Policy Paper on Case Selection and Prioritisation. According to the policy paper, the Office of the Prosecutor will take into account, when analyzing the seriousness of a crime, its economic, social and environmental impacts. The policy was published in the context of intense debate about the need for international mechanisms to rule on environmental crimes.

This policy presents an interesting alternative for the international accountability of those responsible for environmental damage. On the other hand however, the jurisdiction of the court limits its scope of action, and it is necessary to think ahead about other international mechanisms to protect the environment.

Against this backdrop, Conectas has invited experts to participate in a series of videos aimed at disseminating information about the limits and opportunities that the policy offers civil society organizations working to defend the environment and protecting economic, social and cultural rights. The videos below are therefore intended as a starting point for a deeper debate on international accountability for environmental crimes and to provide support for civil society organizations to strategically assess the possibility of submitting environmental cases to the ICC.

Richard Rogers – Global Diligence

Lawyer Richard Rogers, a partner at Global Diligence, shares his experience of bringing cases to the ICC and addresses some of the challenges that organizations may encounter when trying to bring environmental crimes to the court. According to Rogers the court can still only deal with cases of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Therefore, the main challenge is to insert crimes against the environment within one of these categories:

Charlie Holt – Greenpeace Internacional

Charlie Holt, lawyer at Greenpeace International, discusses what progress has been made following the introduction of the policy and the how organizations can bring a case to the ICC:

SUR – International Journal on Human Rights 

The articles in the 25th edition of the Sur International Journal on Human Rights bring together some remarkable and critical case studies that illustrate that natural resource exploitation is one of the major causes of many human rights abuses. Land-grabbing, instability, the exacerbation of poverty, the destruction and pollution of lands essential to indigenous and other communities and, at its worst, murder and war, are too often the direct results of oil and mineral extraction, renewable energy projects, logging and industrial agriculture.

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