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Chamber and committees

Publication of Draft International Ecocide Law Honours the Memory of Scottish Barrister, Polly Higgins

  • Submitted by: Monica Lennon, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour.
  • Date lodged: Wednesday, 23 June 2021
  • Motion reference: S6M-00483

That the Parliament welcomes the work of the Independent Expert Panel for the Legal Definition of Ecocide, which was co-chaired by Professor Philippe Sands QC, of University College London and the UN jurist and former prosecutor, Dior Fall Sow; understands that the expert drafting panel of 12 highly-renowned international criminal and environmental lawyers has defined ecocide as "unlawful or wanton acts committed with knowledge that there is a substantial likelihood of severe and widespread or long-term damage to the environment being caused by those acts" with the aim of it being adopted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to sit alongside genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression as a fifth international crime; understands that support for an ecocide law is gaining momentum around the world, with recorded interest from France, Finland, Spain, Luxembourg, the Maldives and, in principle, support by the European Parliament; further believes that Belgium is the first European nation to have raised criminalising ecocide at the ICC and that Pope Francis, President Emmanuel Macron, Greta Thunberg and Dr Jane Goodall are among the high-profile supporters; welcomes what it sees as the emergence of broad international consensus for the recognition of ecocide as a crime as an important step toward holding corporate and government decision-makers accountable for environmental damages and abuses, such as oil spills, mass deforestation, ocean damage and the severe pollution of waters, and considers the publication of the proposed legal definition of ecocide to be a fitting tribute to the Scottish barrister, Polly Higgins, who led a decade-long campaign to put the environment at the heart of international law before her death in 2019.

Supported by: Clare Adamson, Jackie Baillie, Sarah Boyack, Ariane Burgess, Stephanie Callaghan, Maggie Chapman, Maurice Golden, Ross Greer, Patrick Harvie, Bill Kidd, Fulton MacGregor, Paul McLennan, Stuart McMillan, Pauline McNeill, Carol Mochan, Willie Rennie, Emma Roddick, Mark Ruskell, Lorna Slater, Paul Sweeney, Mercedes Villalba