In December 2019, at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Vanuatu’s representative to the European Union made a political proposal: to make environmental degradation a crime.
Vanuatu is a tiny island country in the South Pacific, a nation endangered by increasing sea levels. Global warming is an immediate and catastrophic problem in the region, and activities that triggered rising temperatures – such as the combustion of fossil fuels – has almost totally taken place abroad to satisfy other nations, with the blessing of state governments.
Small island states like Vanuatu have long sought to convince big, strong nations to voluntarily curb their pollution, but progress has been sluggish – Ambassador John Licht indicated that it might be time to change the legislation itself.
An enhancement to the Treaty, also known as the Rome Statute, developed by the International Criminal Court could criminalize ecocide-related actions, he said, adding that “this radical concept deserves serious debate.”
Ecocide: Should killing nature be a crime? – BBC Future. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20201105-what-is-ecocide