Words: Elaine Quinn (September 2018)
Image Credits: Mission Life Force
Reading Time: 3 minutes

New Proposed Law: A law prohibiting ecocide (Read the model law)

Timing: Ongoing

Positive Impact: “With an international crime of ecocide in place at the International Criminal Court (ICC), persons of senior responsibility – for example CEOs and government ministers – shall become individually criminally responsible for ecological, climate and cultural ecocide that they recklessly cause or contribute to.” Mission Life Force

Mission Life Force is a powerful and innovative movement that came into existence in 2017 with the intention of facilitating the establishment of Ecocide as a crime at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague.

Ecocide is “loss or damage to, or destruction of ecosystem(s) of a given territory(ies), such that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants has been or will be severely diminished.”

In the words of one of its key founders, Earth Lawyer, Polly Higgins the movement “is going beyond a petition, beyond crowd-funding and beyond just the signing of a legal document, to enable people right across the world, wherever they are, to sign up and become legal trustees of the Earth”.

Signing up to the movement involves signing up, and contributing, to an open, globally valid and legal Earth Protectors Trust Fund. Donations can start from as little as five euros and are open to all regardless of age. While there are no ongoing obligations or liabilities for trustees, the impact of each signature and donation is powerful.

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As a trustee, you will be:

  • HELPING MAKE ECOCIDE A CRIME: empowering small, climate-vulnerable states who have the incentive and ability, but not the financial means, to work towards amending international law to make ecocide an international crime at the ICC

Any money paid into the trust by anyone, no matter where they are in the world, will be used to help the small island developing states that have the political will to take ecocide law forward to become an international crime in the international criminal court. These small island states do not always have the finance to take forward their concerns in the correct forum. Climate change concerns are about state and corporate responsibility to stop dangerous industrial activity. This is an international criminality issue that needs to be taken into the Assembly of State Parties. The Assembly of State Parties is the annual meeting of the signatory parties to the Rome Statute, the governing document of the International Criminal Court. That is the forum where we are seeking an amendment to make ecocide an international crime. The trust funds then pay for travel, accommodation and top legal representation for these delegates of these small island states to attend these meetings.”  Polly Higgins

AND

  • HELPING PROTECT EARTH PROTECTORS: contributing your voice and support to a legal document that is offering, and will continue to offer, legal protection to “conscientious protectors” that are facing legal action for standing up against the serious harm to the environment happening in their region.

The trust fund document is a powerful document on a number of fronts. It has been apostilled (verified legally) in virtually every legal jurisdiction which means that activist earth protectors facing prosecution – whether for fracking, deforestation, pipelines, mining etc., – can take the document into a court of law and seek reliance on it. This offers them protection and the opportunity to explain in court what the ecocide is, to offer evidence of the serious harm that is occurring and to explain why they are standing up to prevent it from occurring. The judge or jury, if they have a conscience, have the opportunity to acquit these ‘conscientious protectors’ (similar to ‘conscientious objectors’ during wartimes). When the document has been signed by thousands, and hundreds of thousands, of people the Court will accord it even more weight.” Polly Higgins

A wealth of information is available at the Mission Life Force website here as well as details about how you can provide support as a trustee and otherwise.  You can also support the movement at its Facebook page here and Twitter page here.

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