Posted July 2011, by Simon Hamilton and Fiona Hayes, The Hamilton Group, Crowdfunder,


(Ed Note: Please visit the original site for more photographs associated with this article, and for more info and timely updates.)

“Once upon a time people did grievous harm to the environment without fully understanding the consequences of their actions. That defence is no longer available, and that sure knowledge we now have entails equally sure moral obligations. In this context, the idea of establishing the crime of ‘Ecocide’ is both timely and compelling.” Jonathon Porritt, former Chair Sustainable Development Commission

It has been proposed that Ecocide, the environmental equivalent of genocide, becomes the 5th International Crime Against Peace alongside Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, Crimes of Aggression and War Crimes.

Under the proposed new law, Heads of States and Directors of Corporations will be required to take individual and personal responsibility for their actions.

On September 30th 2011, London’s Supreme Court of the United Kingdom will be the venue for a Mock Trial, played out as though the crime of Ecocide had already been adopted.  

Michael Mansfield QC, the prosecuting barrister, and Nigel Lickley QC, the defence barrister together with supporting legal teams, will lead the case for and against a fictional Mr X, CEO of a major corporation. Before the case is heard, legal argument will be put as to whether Ecocide and the Earth Right to Life should be applied to the charge against Mr X. Mr X will be played by an actor and has been charged with a number of ecocides – which one will be tried will be determined on the day. It could be:
Deforestation of the Amazon
Arctic drilling
Fracking for shale gas in Nigeria
Major oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico
Bauxite mining of the Niyamgiri mountain
Unconventional tar sands extraction in Canada
Deep sea mining of the Central and Eastern Manus Basin

The trial will examine how the crime of Ecocide protects the Earth Right to Life and will be tried as though the proposed crime of Ecocide has been adopted by the UN.

What will happen is not pre- scripted; it is ultimately for the jury to determine whether the crime of Ecocide is made out and whether the Earth Right to Life is breached.
And this is where we need your help.

£10,000 is needed towards the costs of the Trial, which will be filmed and streamed live.  Footage from the trial, the deliberations of the jury, together with interviews with the expert witnesses on both sides, will be edited and made available to the media, government, businesses and social networks and be used as part of information packs for schools, universities and business schools.

The Trial is designed by The Hamilton Group to get Ecocide debated as widely as possible.

Polly Higgins, the UK Barrister who has proposed the new law, defines Ecocide as the “mass damage, destruction to or loss of ecosystems of a given territory, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been severely diminished.”

But what will this mean in practice? Is it legally possible? Will it have more negative effects than positive? Would the Alberta Tar Sands mining, destruction of the Amazon rainforest or oil spills be classed as Ecocide? Who would be the individuals prosecuted under this proposed law? Would Banks be culpable as well if they provide funding for activities prosecuted under Ecocide? In reality, what effect would the law have on the environment and businesses and the people who run them?

It is argued that the Law of Ecocide is a key law to address humanitarian and environmental issues on a global scale. Implementation of the Law at the 2012 Earth Summit would change inter-governmental policy and action on climate change, provide the necessary legal framework to help pre-empt the energy crunch and halt the over – exploitation of natural resources.

We hope that you will agree with us about the importance of disseminating the arguments and will want to help bring this debate to a much wider audience. Any amount you can give is very much appreciated.


For funders wishing to donate more than £500, as well as the Rewards listed, the highest individual funder will receive 2 reserved seats at the Trial

Thank you!   

Simon Hamilton, Fiona Hayes, everyone involved in The Ecocide Trial and The Hamilton Group.

For more information on Ecocide see:

The Hamilton Group is using the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in London as the venue. This in no way implies endorsement by the Supreme Court of the opinions raised in the trial or the verdict reached by the trial jury.

Thanks to Greenpeace for the use of photos.

Founder: Simon Hamilton and Fiona Hayes, The Hamilton Group
Funding target: £ 10,000
Days Left: 36
Location: Worcester, United Kingdom
Category: Environmental and ethical
Reference number: P 242

(Ed Note: Please visit the original site for timely updates)


5 responses to this post.

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