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THIS MEETING HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE!!
The UiT Environmental Humanities Network invites to its 11th meeting, this time featuring a talk on 'Crimes against ecosystems: The possibilities and challenges in addressing ecocide by means of (international) criminal law' by A/Prof Nandor Knust from UiT's Faculty of Law.
In June 2021 a panel of independent experts stated that “scientific evidence points to the conclusion that the emission of greenhouse gasses and the destruction of ecosystems at their current rates will have catastrophic consequences for our common environment.” The panel statement even highlighted that while “[n]ational and international laws are in place to contribute to the protection of the natural systems upon which our well-being depends, yet it is apparent that such laws are inadequate and more is needed.” Discussions to expand the legal system to internationally criminalize harm against ecosystems have been ongoing for more than 50 years. Today, however, we are witnesses to a new dynamic for creating direct criminal responsibility for harms against the environment. This new momentum peaked in 2021 when the above-mentioned Independent Expert Panel for the Legal Definition of Ecocide consisting of twelve international legal experts proposed a legal definition of ecocide as an international crime to the ICC Rome Statute by defining ecocide as:
'unlawful or wanton acts committed with knowledge that there is a substantial likelihood of severe and either widespread or long-term damage to the environment being caused by those acts.'
This definition as well as the general approach and effort prompted immense positive feedback but also irritations in civil society and academia. The entire debate gained extensive publicity and sparked a global discourse on the issue of using (international) criminal law in response to the mass damage and destruction of ecosystems and the severe, long-term, and/or widespread harm to nature. The shift away from a purely anthropocentric perspective in international criminal law to an integrated ecocentric focus can be seen as a revolutionary move within the system of international criminal justice. The presentation by A/Prof Nandor Knust will address the historical developments of these crimes and the next steps to create a holistic system of international criminal justice to create individual criminal responsibility for crimes against ecosystems.
In December 2022 The UiT research group on crime control and security law will follow up on this topic by hosting an event on “Ecocide: crimes against ecosystems” in Tromsø, Norway. The event will start with a keynote speech on “Ecocide: the background of its legal definition” by Prof. Dr. Christina Voigt (University of Oslo) and will be followed by a round table of key experts and decision-makers to discuss the crime of “ecocide” and the proposed shift of the global system of criminal justice to a more holistic approach by integrating an ecocentric perspective. The event will address and discuss the theoretical, political, and practical challenges and the role different national and international actors can play in addressing and implementing the protection regime for serious harm against ecosystems by means of (international) criminal law.
After the talk and discussion, we are planning to go for drinks and maybe food together. Location tbc.