A panel of legal experts have proposed that a new international crime be declared, called ‘ecocide’. It will make severe and long term harm to the environment a crime, the offenders will be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court(ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands.
The major polluters like the US, India, China and Russia are outside the jurisdiction of The International Criminal Court but the experts are optimistic that it will have a positive impact in the world. The ICC has jurisdiction over four international crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression, which is waging illegal war. These crimes are part of the The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC). The court has overseen only 31 cases in two decades of its existence, with just 10 convictions; the utility of the court is still a matter of debate.
At the 20th anniversary conference it was stressed that the crime of ‘ecocide’ be included in the Rome Statute. But there are critiques of the proposition, major one being the question of enforcement, because major polluters are not under ICC jurisdiction and the smaller countries may not want to bind themselves for crimes that have been committed by some other country. Like United States is responsible for about 20% of total carbon emissions on earth and China is the fastest growing emitter.