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Kavya Gopal

A push to make ecocide an international crime: Among the sea of activists present at Climate Week in New York City, was Stop Ecocide. Julia Jackson, one of Project Regeneration’s founding directors, chairs the US chapter of the movement, which marched from Foley Square to Battery Park in Manhattan to demand ecocide be recognized as an international crime. The campaign to make ecocide a crime was the life’s work of the late barrister Polly Higgins, who presented a definition of ecocide to the UN Law Commission in 2010: Ecocide is extensive loss, damage or destruction of ecosystems of a given territory(ies)… such that the peaceful enjoyment of the inhabitants has been or will be severely diminished. Jojo Mehta, co-founder, and Executive Director carries forward this legacy by growing global support for the movement. Stop Ecocide advocates for the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the only global mechanism with directly accesses the existing criminal justice systems of its 123 member states, to be amended. While nearly two-thirds of these countries would need to approve the amendment, Stop Ecocide estimates that about two dozen countries have already expressed interest in the concept, including Chile, Iceland, Mexico, Spain, and the United Kingdom. As Jojo Mehta says in her statement “We have to prevent mass damage and destruction of the living world…Ecocide law is a powerful solution to protect nature, climate, and our future while providing a guiding legal framework for positive change.”

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