An International Crime of Ecocide: The Proposal, Future Opportunities, and Challenges

As the impacts of climate change and other forms of environmental destruction become more visible by the day, increased attention has been given towards combating actions detrimental to the environment using international criminal law as a vehicle for accountability. In 2016, former ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced that environmental crimes would be one of her investigative priorities. More recently a panel of 12 prominent lawyers and academics announced a proposal for a new international crime of "ecocide" as a step towards deterring future environmental disasters. While these efforts aren't exactly new, these efforts have reignited the push towards passing an "ecocide" law and realizing environmental crimes more firmly within the rubric of international criminal law. The proposed panel intends to address these efforts by focusing on the proposed crime of "ecocide", including advantages, disadvantages, legal and political obstacles, and whether in fact the proposal goes far enough. Speakers include individuals who took part in drafting the proposal and those who have been openly critical of the proposed definition. In doing so, the panel intends to contribute to the emerging discourse on the subject and bring attention to an important and critical issue in international law.


  • Kai Ambos, Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen, Germany
  • Jelena Aparac, Chairperson-Rapporteur, UN Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries
  • Charles Jalloh, Florida International University College of Law
  • Kate Mackintosh, Promise Institute for Human Rights, UCLA School of Law
  • Nema Milaninia, Center for Climate Crimes Analysis, Moderator

This session is organized by ASIL's International Criminal Law Interest Group and as a part of the Society's Signature Topic on Climate Change.