Tackling the
global environmental crisis


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What is Ecocide?

The International Law Commission in 1991 defined “widespread, long-term and severe damage or destruction of the environment“ as a crime against the Peace and Security of mankind. On a global level this definition translates to a severe alteration of the natural global commons. Globally that means that ecocide is taking place when planetary boundaries are crossed. National legislations must therefore incorporate respective laws that might define ecocide in specific ways as it is already the case in a number of countries.



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What are the global commons?

The Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) defines Global Commons as natural resources requiring global cooperation for their sustainable use and provision. We therefore argue that the global commons further represent the earth’s natural life support system and can thus not belong to any specific nation nor to any generation of human beings and that the global commons are depending upon actions taking place both inside and outside national boundaries.



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What are the planetary boundaries?

According to the Stockholm Resilience Centre (Rockström et al., Steffen et al.) the planetary boundaries are considered to define the “safe operating space for humanity”. We therefore argue that they equally refer to the Global Commons. The underlying processes represent the interactions of land, ocean, atmosphere and life that together provide and secure the conditions for life on earth as we know it.



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Why we count on International Law?

The global environmental crisis poses the greatest challenge to humanity in its history - and we are not on track. It can only be tackled collectively. In order to take appropriate measures in time, we need to establish an international, legally enforceable regulatory framework of sustainability. Only international law as the moral foundation of the international community has the capacity and the means to achieve the needed consensus to preserve the natural basis for life on earth.

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What is the ICC?

Chapter XVIII - 10 of the United Nations Treaty Collection, the Rome Statute, formally established the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 1998 providing it with jurisdiction over the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole that threaten peace, security and well-being ofthe world. In accordance with this Statute to date such crimes are currently limited to: (a) The crime of genocide, (b) Crimes against humanity, (c) War crimes and (d) The crime of aggression.


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Why amend the Rome Statute?

Environmental crimes of concern to the international community are currently not covered by International Criminal Law even though anthropogenic harms to nature pose most serious threats to peace and security of humanity. Moreover is the widespread, long-lasting or severe destruction of the environment already banned during warfare by the UN ENMOD-Convention. For this we have now drafted respective amendments to the Rome Statute for international environmental liability especially also in times of peace.

Our supporters

Vandana Shiva

Vandana Shiva

Indian environmentalist and activist

For 40 years I've been trying to build a movement that makes us recognise we are part of the earth, not its owners and conquerors. Above all are the rights of the earth. Since the earth is a living subject, she is Gaia, she is our mother, a violation of the earth is a very serious violation. We already know that the majority of ecosystems are at the verge of collapse. So ecocide is a crime and I fully support the campaign to declare ecocide as a crime. See her interview on Youtube

Cacique Raoni Metuktire

Cacique Raoni Metuktire

Chief of the Kayapo people

The law against the Ecocide is extremely important. If we can create it, we will succeed in effectively protecting nature. It would be used to punish all perpetrators of large dams and mine operators, which devastate territories and the natural ecosystem. Currently, those responsible for these disasters are only punishable by fines and are free to plunder other territories. This law aims to criminally punish them.

Kumi Naidoo

Kumi Naidoo

Former Executive Director Greenpeace International

Currently, we allow our political and business leaders to get away with murder. Now is the time to change that. We need direct liability for those who are destroying our future and this planet. We need fast, profound and systemic change. History only moves forward when courageous people get up and act. That's why I support this citizens' initiative to recognise ecocide as the crime it is.

Nnimmo Bassey

Nnimmo Bassey

Former Chair of Friends of the Earth International

I fully believe in this cause. Making ecocide a recognised law will place a cap on the irresponsible actions of fat cats who hide behind corporate shields to destroy lives and harm the planet. Polluting nations and corporations are engaging in acts of aggression against nature and against humanity. These are extreme acts of mass destruction that may affect the planet in cataclysmic ways. These acts must be recognised for what they are and duly punished. This Ecocide law may be the only way to make climate criminals rethink their crimes of commission and omission

Ulrike Lunacek

Ulrike Lunacek

Vice-president of the European Parliament

Ecocides are destroying the livelihoods of people worldwide. By means of the European Citizens Initiative 'End Ecocide' we have a tool to fight against ecological murder and to vote in favour of an ecological balance. This is why I sign 'End Ecocide' and why you should support 'End Ecocide' as well.

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood

English fashion designer

Our financial rulers and the politicians who help them are playing a giant game of Monopoly with the world's finite resources - completely abstract from reality - even though they accept the facts of Climate Change. And yet, you can't play Monopoly when everybody's dead. They imagine they'll be the last people. They don't care so long as they win.

Photo © Christian Shambanait

Get in Touch

Center for Progressive International Law: mailto: cpil@endecocide.org

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