Belgian parliament calls for "ecocide" to be introduced in international law

Belgian Parliament / Photo by EPA-EFE / OLIVIER HOSLET

The Belgian parliament has passed a resolution urging the government to advocate for the recognition and punishment of "ecocides" in international courts, following the model of prosecuting crimes against humanity.

The majority vote in the committee has yet to be confirmed at a plenary session of parliament "in two to three weeks", which should be a formality, said one of the nominees, Green MP Samuel Kogolati.

New international agreement

The non-binding resolution calls on the Belgian government led by the liberal Alexander De Cro to initiate a new international agreement to punish ecocide.

The resolution proposes that Belgium join forces with the countries most committed to establishing such a tribunal, such as Luxembourg, Finland, Spain and France (where the "ecocide crime" was introduced in July).

Another option for the Belgian government is to follow the example of countries such as the islands of Vanuatu and the Maldives that have called for an amendment to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague to include ecocide, war crimes and genocide.

"This reform of the Rome Statute (which established the ICC) is currently the most pragmatic path," said Samuel Kogolati. for AFP.

Alexander de Croix, Prime Minister of Belgium / Photo: EPA-EFE / HATIM KAGHAT

China, the United States and Russia are not interested

That requires the support of two-thirds of the approximately 120 countries participating in the agreement, the lawmaker said.

China, the United States and Russia are not interested because they do not recognize the ICC.

"At a time when the eyes of the world are on COP26, we want to make sure that the criminalization of ecocides is the subject of international debate. "Criminal law must help the planet as soon as possible," said the Belgian Greens. .

The oil spill from the tanker Erica in France, the chemical waste of the American company 3M in the port of Antwerp, the non-transparency of Monsanto (now a subsidiary of German Bayer) regarding the harmfulness of herbicides: all this can be classified as this new crime, said Eco Groen, stressing that "the impunity of major polluters must be stopped."

The Belgian coalition government consists of the Liberals, the Socialists and the Greens. The resolution was also supported by opposition parties (centrists and communists). Only the far right (Vlaams Belang) and the Flemish Conservatives (N-WA) were against.

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