France to champion international crime of ecocide

The possibility of establishing ecocide as an international crime has just come significantly closer. President Emmanuel Macron this week gave his official response to the 150 randomly selected members of the French citizens assembly on climate, the Convention Citoyenne pour le Climat (CCC), a body he convened last year to provide proposals to the government to tackle climate change.

The assembly’s deliberations took 9 months. Foremost among their proposals, supported by a remarkable 99.3% of the assembly, was making ecocide a crime. Macron stopped short of accepting the exact text proposed, but clearly endorsed the principle. He assured the citizens of his support:

“We’ll study, with you and legal experts, how this principle can be incorporated into French law.”

Moreover he specifically promised, on behalf of France, to champion the enshrining of ecocide crime in international law.

“As for ecocide, I think I was the first leader to use that term when the Amazon was burning,” the head of state said. “So I share the ambition that you defend … the mother of all battles is international: to ensure that this term is enshrined in international law so that leaders … are accountable before the International Criminal Court.”

This is a huge step forward. Already the conversation is expanding and interest in the subject is growing fast. Our alerts for press mentions of “ecocide” are pinging several times a day now (bear in mind 18 months ago this was once or twice a month!)….

The French developments are being celebrated in particular by human rights expert and long-term ecocide law advocate Valérie Cabanes, who is a close associate of the Stop Ecocide campaign. It was Cabanes who in January presented to the CCC in January the ecocide law proposal for which she had previously been lobbying. Inspired by the work of our co-founder Polly Higgins, she has dedicated many years to progressing the legal protection of nature. She is both thrilled and resolute:

“We take Emmanuel Macron at his word concerning his wish to fight for the recognition of the crime of ecocide at the International Criminal Court on behalf of France. He says he shares our ‘emotion faced with those who destroy entire ecosystems with “full knowledge of the facts and with impunity”.’ Mr President, we expect you to stick to your words! In the meantime: Thank you!”

Look out soon on our social media for a conversation with Valérie Cabanes and Jojo Mehta in discussion on what this means for France and for the wider campaign.

Convergence of injustice

The world has been shaken by events in the US, and the environmental movement among others has had to consciously examine its assumptions. Should any of us be surprised that ecological, health, social and racial injustice which have been turned away from – and even violently silenced – have all converged to become visible at once? Read our campaign statement HERE.

Speech, debate, interview

Our co-founder Jojo Mehta presented to the UK Environmental Law Association (UKELA) conference on 26th June as part of a panel on The Rule of Law and the Environment. You can listen to her 15 minute speech HERE

If you missed the exciting debate in Spain last month with Joaquín Araujo, Baltasar Garzón and our own Maite Mompó, you can watch it HERE

If you missed the exciting debate in Spain last month with Joaquín Araujo, Baltasar Garzón and our own Maite Mompó, you can watch it HERE


We have a feeling things are only going to accelerate from here. So stay tuned on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and keep on sharing our content, or take it a step further and Be an ambassador for Stop Ecocide… It’s your support that takes this work forward!

And for something new to share, here is an excellent short video on the work to criminalise #ECOCIDE – put together by INTERPRT, our forensic investigation partners. It includes original footage of Vanuatu Ambassador’s official speech at the International Criminal Court, Dec ’19. Watch HERE or click on the below image taken from the video.

We felt appropriate to include an image of Polly Higgins & Jojo Mehta together as Polly would have been 52 yesterday if she were still with us – “interdependence day” as she used to call it.




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