The End Ecocide on Earth initiative
End Ecocide on Earth is an international grassroots citizens movement founded in 2012, created to carry out a European Citizens Initiative calling for the European Parliament to recognise the crime of Ecocide. The movement grew into a fully international campaign focused on the recognition and addition of Ecocide to the Rome Statute as the 5th Crime Against Peace alongside Genocide, War Crimes, Crimes of Aggression and Crimes against humanity. International volunteers working on this initiative come from all walks of life many with legal, scientific and managerial backgrounds.
We are a non-government organisation that relies solely on donations from individuals who share our concern for the Earth and its inhabitants. We believe that rights for the environment are fundamentally connected with human rights and the rights of indigenous peoples. We support the universal declaration of human rights, the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous peoples and the right of indigenous peoples as enshrined in the legally binding International Labour Movement (ILO) convention 169.
The ultimate goal of the initiative is that ecocide will be recognised as a crime
around the world. This means that ecocide would be an international crime which can be enforced in an international court.
To that end, ecocide should be incorporated into the Rome Statute as an International Crime against Peace under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. This can be achieved via an amendment to the Rome Statute which the Head of any State party can propose.
We advocate for ecocide to be included as a crime committed with knowledge of the risks, applying to individuals and according to the principle of superior responsibility. From the initial step of launching a European Citizen’s Initiative to the launch of the Charter of Brussels and the Alliance for International Justice of the Environment and Health, the story of End Ecocide has evolved and gained momentum.
We continue our diplomatic and legal work, now working in close association with our Associate Groups, Stop Ecocide and End Ecocide Sweden towards the advancement of the inclusion of Ecocide Law within the Rome Statute.
In December 2019 two sovereign states Vanuatu and the Maldives officially called for the consideration of this crime at the international level.
In July 2020 following a presentation on Ecocide Law to the French Citizen’s Assembly the citizens’ recommended that a new crime of Ecocide be established in France with 99.3% of participants supporting the measure. President Macron stopped short of accepting the exact text proposed but endorsed the principle, committing to explore with legal experts how the principle can be incorporated into French law. More significantly Macron specifically promised to champion enshrining the crime of ecocide within international law. Macron is the first leader of a G7 nation to support an international crime of ecocide.
In Belgium, the Belgian Green Party introduced a bill to make ecocide a crime in Belgium and to support the ecocide amendment to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
Countries who have publicly declared support for exploring the inclusion of Ecocide Law at the international level are Finland, Canada, Spain, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Vanuatu and the Maldives with a number of other countries poised to follow suit.
In January 2021 the European Parliament voted to urge the EU and the Member States to promote the recognition of ecocide as an international crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The Stop Ecocide Foundation has convened an expert panel of international lawyers advised by top climate and environment scientists which includes Valerie Cabanes (End Ecocide on Earth) . The purpose of this panel is to develop an up-to-date, clear and legally robust definition of ecocide for review and potential proposal by states they are working with. The drafting panel are due to report in June 2021.
In May 2021 the European Parliament voted to support calls for ecocide law in two key reports, one from the Legal Affairs Committee on the liability of companies for environmental damage urging the European Commission to ‘study the relevance of ecocide to EU law and EU diplomacy’ (para 12) a significant step long advocated by MEP Marie Toussaint (Greens/EFA) who coordinates the Global Ecocide Alliance of Parliamentarians.
Another report by the Foreign Affairs Committee on the effects of climate change on human rights and the role of environmental defenders on this matter resolved to encourage the ‘EU and its Member States to take a bold initiative …to pave the way within the International Criminal Court (ICC) towards new negotiations between the parties with a view to recognising ecocide as an international crime under the Rome Statute (para 11).
On the 22nd June 2021 the international drafting panel convened by the Stop Ecocide Foundation published the draft definition of ecocide law that they have defined the law as follows:
‘Ecocide means ‘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’.
#EcocideLaw definition, commentary and core text
On the 2nd December 2021 the Belgian government voted by an overwhelming majority for:
1. Belgium to support the inclusion of the crime of ecocide into the Rome Statute.
2. Belgium to introduce a national crime of ecocide into the Belgian Penal Code.
3. Belgium to facilitate a coalition of countries who are willing to support the inclusion of the crime of ecocide into the Rome Statute.