April 20, 2024

Lukmaan IAS

A Blog for IAS Examination




THE CONTEXT: A group of universities has penned a joint statement urging the International Criminal Court (ICC) to intervene in cases of severe environmental harm, equating such actions to crimes against humanity and genocide.


  • It emphasizes the intrinsic link between environmental degradation and human suffering, advocating for the incorporation of the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment (R2hE) into the ICC’s legal framework.

Legal and Moral Implications

  • The universities argue that human activities leading to severe environmental damage often violate human rights and should be treated as crimes on par with genocide and crimes against humanity.
  • This assertion highlights the moral and legal imperative to hold individuals and entities accountable for actions that result in environmental devastation.

Proposed Policy Changes

  • Responding to ICC Prosecutor announcement of developing a new policy paper on environmental crimes, academics, lawyers, and campaigners advocate for a systematic approach to prosecuting individuals and entities responsible for environmental crimes.
  • They stress the importance of holding politicians, corporate sectors, criminal gangs, and others accountable for their roles in environmental degradation.

Legal Analysis and Corporate Responsibility

  • The Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative underscores the legal obligations of directors under UK law to consider and mitigate nature-related risks.
  • Directors failing to address such risks may face claims of breaching their duty, reflecting a growing recognition of corporate responsibility in environmental protection.

Financial Aspects of Environmental Crimes

  • Reports by organizations like the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition highlight the financial dimensions of environmental crimes.
  • Criminals exploit loopholes in anti-money laundering systems, laundering profits from environmental crimes and undermining global efforts to combat climate change.

Global and Domestic Perspectives

  • The United States, as a destination for money earned through environmental crimes, faces criticism for gaps in its anti-money laundering system.
  • Meanwhile, in India, a significant number of environmental-related crimes are recorded annually, underscoring the urgency of addressing such issues on both a global and domestic scale.

International Criminal Court (ICC):

  • It is the only permanent international criminal tribunal.
  • It was created by the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (its founding and governing document), and began functioning on 1 July 2002 when the Statute came into force.
  • It investigates and, where warranted, tries individuals charged with the gravest crimes of concern to the international community: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression.
  • Its Headquarters is in Hague, Netherlands.
  • 123 nations are States Parties to the Rome Statute and recognize the ICC’s authority; the notable exceptions being the US, China, Russia, and India.
  • The Court is funded by contributions from the States Parties and by voluntary contributions from Governments, international organizations, individuals, corporations, and other entities.
  • The Court has eighteen judges, each from a different member country, elected to nonrenewable nine-year terms.
  • The Presidency consists of three judges (the President and two Vice-Presidents) elected from among the judges. It represents the Court to the outside world and helps with the organization of the work of the judges.

SOURCE: https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/environment/severe-environmental-harm-equal-to-genocide-crime-against-humanity-experts-write-to-international-criminal-court-95312

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