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Ecocide: Bold Rhetoric or Empty Promise

Updated: Jan 2, 2023


The need to enshrine is crucial. Recent discourse on its inclusion as an international crime under the Rome Statute is evidence of its importance. While a definition that is solely ecocentric or explicitly refers to planetary boundaries may have sent a stronger environmental signal, it may have jeopardised its likelihood of being adopted. Fully cognizant of the procedural and diplomatic difficulties that any proposal to change the Rome Statute (as outlined in the paper) would confront, it was critical to present a definition that appeared pragmatic and hence not unrealistic. Vietnam, as this paper will briefly highlight, offers itself as a case study of historical explanations which compelled legislative action on ecocide. This paper seeks to discuss foreign law (Vietnam) and international law (Ecocide) for ecocide as a bold reform. The paper will underscore the importance of this reform by recollecting the status quo on environmental fallacies and jurisprudence and then juxtaposing them with foreign and international law. In short, it will highlight the cleavage between the international and foreign frameworks thus urging immediate action. Given the compensation-oriented approach, ecocide brings a different dimension. The hope is that this dimension offers a different vantage point and the ghost of penal consequences is a sufficient deterrent for those who are willing to sacrifice environmental well-being for personal gains. This can only be achieved if countries internalise international measurements, as this article has discussed.

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