Return to Ecocide

What is Ecocide?

ECOCIDE is mass damage and destruction of ecosystems – severe harm to nature which is widespread or long-term.

ECOCIDE, committed repeatedly over decades, has created the climate and ecological emergency that we now face.

Click here to read AELA’s blog explaining the history of Ecocide.

Legal definition of Ecocide

In June 2021 on a core text of a legal definition for Ecocide as international crime was reached.[1] Ecocide was defined to mean “unlawful or wanton acts committed with knowledge that there is a substantial likelihood of severe and either widespread or long-term damage to the environment being caused by those acts.”[2]

In November 2020, the Stop Ecocide Foundation convened the Independent Expert Panel for the Legal Definition of Ecocide on the request of interested parliamentarians from the governing parties in Sweden. It comprised 12 lawyers from around the world, with a balance of backgrounds, and expertise in criminal, environmental and climate law. They were charged with preparing a practical and effective definition of the crime of ‘ecocide’ which could sit alongside Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, War Crimes and the Crime of Aggression in the Rome Statute of the ICC.

The Panel was assisted by outside experts and a public consultation that brought together hundreds of ideas from legal, economic, political, youth, faith and indigenous perspectives from around the globe. All of this material fed into the panel’s deliberations over nine months.

Click here to read AELA’s blog explaining the legal definition of Ecocide.