Proof of Ecocide

Towards a Forensic Practice for the Proposed International Crime Against the Environment

  • Nabil Ahmed London Metropolitan University
Keywords: International environmental crime, Forensic investigation, ecocide studies, Remote sensing

Abstract

This article discusses developments in international environmental justice alongside contemporary environmental forensics techniques. The article begins by providing an introduction to ecocide, the proposed international crime to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the concept of the legal threshold of harm. It argues that forensic awareness has a role to play in developing new legal frameworks for the protection of the environment. It describes one particular approach to the practice of environmental investigations, using the example of remote sensing. From an international justice perspective, the concern of the present article is a discussion of how innovations in remote sensing technologies have allowed non court actors, civil society groups and nongovernmental organisations access to scientific evidence. It concludes by making recommending towards establishing forensic standards for admissible evidence of ecocide crime.

References

Agnew, R. 2012. “The Ordinary Acts that Contribute to Ecocide.” Routledge International Handbook of Green Criminology. London: Routledge.

Alonzo, M., J. Van den Hoek and N. Ahmed. 2016. “Capturing Coupled Riparian and Coastal Disturbance from Industrial Mining Using Cloud-Resilient Satellite Time Series Analysis.” Scientific Reports 6: 35129. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep35129.

Brills, G. M., C. Gerlach, R. J. Waasbergen. 2000. “Remote Sensing Tools Assist in Environmental Forensics. Part I: Traditional Methods.” Environmental Forensics 1(2): 63–67. https://doi.org/10.1006/enfo.2000.0009.

Brills, G. M., C. Gerlach, R. J. Waasbergen. 2001. “Remote Sensing Tools Assist in Environmental Forensics. Part II: Digital Tools.” Environmental Forensics 2(3): 223–229. https://doi.org/10.1006/enfo.2000.0033.

Cristina Núñez, A. 2012. “Admissibility of Remote Sensing Evidence before International and Regional Tribunals.” Innovations in Human Rights Monitoring Working Paper Amnesty International. https://www.amnestyusa.org/pdfs/RemoteSensingAsEvidencePaper.pdf.

Drumbl, M. A. 2000. “Waging War against the World: The Need to Move from War Crimes to Environmental Crimes” in JE Austin and CE Bruch (eds) The Environmental Consequences of War: Legal, Economic, and Scientific Perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Eradicating Ecocide. 2018. “Model Law: Amendments to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court on the Crime of Ecocide.” http://eradicatingecocide.com/the-law/model-law/

Gauger, A., M. P. Rabatel-Fernel, L. Kulbicki, D. Short, P. Higgins. 2012. “Ecocide is the missing 5th Crime Against Peace.” The Ecocide Project Human Rights Consortium, School of Advanced Study, University of London. https://sas-space.sas.ac.uk/4830/1/Ecocide_research_report_19_July_13.pdf.

Gargiulo, F., C.V. Angelino, L. Cicala, G. Persechino, and M. Lega. 2016. “Remote Sensing in the Fight Against Environmental Crimes: The Case Study of the Cattle-breeding Facilities in Southern Italy.” International Journal of Sustainable Development and Planning Vol. 11, No. 5 (2016) 663–671. https://10.2495/SDP-V11-N5-663-67.

Garin M., B. Glasenhardt, R. Houston and J. Pham. 2013. “Report on the Ecocide Project.” Law Clinic- Sciences Po Paris, 7 December 2013. po.fr.ecole-dedroit/files/rapport_ecocide_project.pdf

Hansen M. C. and T. R. Loveland. 2012. “A Review of Large Area Monitoring of Land Cover Change Using Landsat Data.” Remote Sensing of Environment 122: 66–74.

Higgins, P. 2015. Eradicating Ecocide. London: Shepheard-Walwyn.

Human Rights Center. 2014. “Digital Fingerprints: Using Electronic Evidence to Advance Prosecutions at the International Criminal Court.” UC Berkeley School of Law. https://www.law.berkeley.edu/files/HRC/Digital_fingerprints_interior_cover2.pdf

Human Rights Center. 2012. “Beyond Reasonable Doubt: Using Scientific Evidence to Advance Prosecutions at the International Criminal Court.” UC Berkeley School of Law. https://www.law.berkeley.edu/files/HRC/HRC_Beyond_Reasonable_Doubt_FINAL.pdf.

Hulme, K. 2004. War Torn Environment: Interpreting the Legal Threshold. Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publications.

IBA (International Bar Association). 2016. “Evidence Matters in ICC Trials.” IBA ICL Perspectives Series. https://evidence-matters-in-icc-trials-august-2016-full.

ICC (International Criminal Court). 2016. “Policy Paper on Case Selection and Prioritisation.” 15 September 2016. The Hague, ICC-OTP.

ICC. 2011. “Elements of Crime.” Official Records of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, First session, New York, 3-10 September 2002. New York: United Nations publication.

ICC. 1998. “Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.” 17 July 1998 (Last amended 2010).

IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). 2007. “Climate Change 2007: Synthesis report.” Contribution of Working Groups I, II, and III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Geneva, Switzerland: IPCC.

Kennedy, R. E. et al. 2014. “Bringing an ecological view of change to Landsat-based remote sensing.” Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 2014. 12(6): 339–346, http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/130066.

Kennedy, R. E. et al. 2010. “Detecting Trends in Forest Disturbance and Recovery Using Yearly Landsat Time Series: 1. LandTrendr — Temporal Segmentation Algorithms.” Remote Sensing of Environment 114 (2010): 2897–2910.

Kroker, P. 2014. “Emerging Issues Facing the Use of Remote Sensing Evidence for International Criminal Justice.” Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. https://hhi.harvard.edu/publications/emerging-issues-facing-use-remote-sensing-evidence-international-criminal-justice-0.

Learner, M. and S. Wolfinbarger. 2013. “Human Rights Applications of Remote Sensing: Case Studies from the Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project.” American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington. https://doi.org/10.13140/rg.2.1.1174.1607.

Lega M., J. Kosmatka, C. Ferrara, F. Russo, R. M. A. Napoli and G. Persechino. 2012. “Using Advanced Aerial Platforms and Infrared Thermography to Track Environmental Contamination.” Journal of Environmental Forensics 13(4): 332–338. https://doi.org/10.1080/15275922.2012.729002.

Liu, P. 2015. “A Survey of Remote Sensing Big Data.” Frontiers in Environmental Science 17 June 2015. https://doi.org/10.3389/fenvs.2015.00045.

Lynch, M. 1990. “The Greening of Criminology: A Perspective on the 1990s.” The Criminologist 2(3): 1–4.

Lynch M. and P. Stretesky. 2003. “The Meaning of Green: Contrasting Criminological Perspectives.” Theoretical Criminology 7(2), 217–38.

Margot, P. 2011. “Forensic Science on Trial - What Is the Law of the Land?” Australian Journal of Forensic Science 43(2), 89–103.

McCarrick, G. 2016. “Amicus curiae to the International Monsanto Tribunal on the Question of Ecocide.” The Hague. http://www.monsanto-tribunal.org/upload/asset_cache/45823288.pdf?rnd=UdWhQG

Morgan, R. M. 2017. “Conceptualising Forensic Science and Forensic Reconstruction. Part II: The Critical Interaction between Research, Policy/law and Practice.” Science & Justice 57(6): 460–467. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scijus.2017.06.003.

Mudge, S. M. 2007. “Environmental Forensics and the Importance of Source Identification.” In Hester R. and Harrison R. (eds) Issues in Environmental Science and Technology, No. 26. London: Springer/Royal Society of Chemistry.

Petrisor, I. G. 2014. Environmental Forensics Fundamentals: A Practical Guide. Boca Raton: Taylor and Francis.

Pirrie, D., A. Ruffell, and L.A. Dawson, 2013. “Environmental and Criminal Geoforensics: an Introduction.” Environmental and Criminal Geoforensics. Geological Society, London, Special Publications 384, 1–7. http://dx.doi.org/10.1144/SP384.20.

Philips, R. P. 2014. “An Overview of Environmental Forensics.” Geologica Acta 24 (12): 363–374. http://dx.doi.org/10.1344/GeologicaActa2014.12.4.7.

Raymond, N. A., B. L. Card; and I. L. Baker. 2014. "A New Forensics: Developing Standard Remote Sensing Methodologies to Detect and Document Mass Atrocities." Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal 8 (3): 33-48. http://dx.doi.org/10.5038/1911-9933.8.3.4

Roux, C., F. Crispino, and O, Ribaux. 2012. “From Forensics to Forensic Science.” Current Issues in Criminal Justice 24 (1): 7–24.

Shearing, C. 2015. “Criminology and the Anthropocene.” Criminology and Criminal Justice 15 (3): 255–269.

Smith, T. 2013. “Creating a Framework for the Prosecution of Environmental Crimes in International Criminal Law” in The Ashgate Research Companion to International Criminal Law. London: Routledge.

Short, D. 2016. Redefining Genocide: Settler Colonialism, Social Death and Ecocide. London: Zed Books.

South, N. 2014. “Green Criminology, Environmental Crime Prevention and the Gaps between Law, Legitimacy and Justice.” Revija za kriminalistiko in kriminologijo 65 (4): 373–381.

The Guardian. 2016. “ICC Widens Remit to Include Environmental Destruction Cases.” 15 September 2016. https://www.theguardian.com/global/2016/sep/15/hague-court-widens-remit-to-include-environmental-destruction-cases

United Nations. 1986. “United Nations General Assembly Resolution on the Principles Relating to Remote Sensing of the Earth from Space.” A/RES/41/65, 95th plenary meeting, 3 December 1986. http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/41/a41r065.htm.

United Nations. 1977. Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977, 1125, UNTS 3.

United Nations. 1976. Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques, 10 December 1976, 1108 UNTS 151.

White, R. 2012. “Environmental Forensic Studies and Toxic Towns.” Current Issues in Criminal Justice 24 (1): 105–119.

Zierler, D. 2011. The Invention of Ecocide: Agent Orange, Vietnam and the scientists who changed the way we think about the environment. London: The University of Georgia Press.

Zimmerer, J. 2014 “Climate Change, Environmental Violence and Genocide.” The International Journal of Human Rights 18 (3): 265-280. https://doi.org/10.1080/13642987.2014.914701
Published
2019-05-16
How to Cite
Ahmed, Nabil. 2019. “Proof of Ecocide”. Archaeological and Environmental Forensic Science 1 (2), 139-47. https://doi.org/10.1558/aefs.36378.
Section
Articles