Party for the Animals: “Criminalize ecocide; recognize the destruction of nature as a crime”
The Dutch Party for the Animals wants international courts of justice to be able to prosecute companies and countries that seriously harm the environment. Ecocide is a crime that involves the loss of ecosystems through gross negligence, damage or destruction. As such, it belongs on the list of crimes that can be brought to the International Criminal Court, states the party.
The International Criminal Court, located in The Hague, is a permanent court at which people accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes can be prosecuted. The Party for the Animals wants ecocide, committing acts that severely damage nature and the environment, to become a punishable offense as well, so that companies can no longer get off scot-free with activities that harm nature and public health.
MP Frank Wassenberg of the Dutch Party for the Animals: “Companies that harm nature and the environment threaten the liveability of the earth in doing so. Humans, animals and ecosystems suffer from serious oil spills, illegal deforestation, the contamination of water caused by, for example, the extraction of tar sand oil, and the pollution of air and soil. It is high time that these crimes become an international punishable offense.”
A proposal to that end was submitted to the International Law Commission of the United Nations in 2010 by lawyer Polly Higgins. Since then, the international organization Stop Ecocide, co-founded by Higgins, has campaigned on the matter. The recognition of ecocide as an international crime “would change everything”, according to political activist and author George Monbiot. “It could make the difference between a liveable and unliveable planet.”
The Dutch Party for the Animals has made the criminalization of ecocide a priority in its new election programme and has recently urged the government to plead for an international ban on ecocide in the United Nations. They have also called on the government to prevent Dutch companies from committing ecocide and human rights violations elsewhere in the world, and to stop investing in fossil fuels, aviation and industrial livestock farming. Those are “investments in ecocide” that lead to “a large-scale destruction or damaging of ecosystems and the living creatures that depend on them”, according to MP Lammert van Raan. “The addiction to animal protein leads to the structural destruction of primeval forests and the addiction to fossil fuels leads to the destruction of the Nile Delta and other areas exploited for oil. It’s about time we stop that.”