The Kabylian Force



At a time of unprecedented environmental challenges and growing concern about the future of our planet, a movement is gaining momentum worldwide: the desire to recognize ecocide as an international crime. Ecocide refers to the widespread damage, destruction or loss of ecosystems, often caused by human activities. As the consequences of environmental degradation become increasingly evident, a growing number of countries are considering making ecocide a crime under international law. This movement reflects a profound change in the way societies perceive the relationship between human activities and the environment, marking a crucial step towards ensuring a sustainable future.
The concept of ecocide was first introduced in the 1970s by biologist Arthur Galston, but has gained renewed attention in recent years. The term encompasses acts that cause serious and lasting damage to ecosystems, with immeasurable consequences for both the environment and human societies. Examples of acts of ecocide include deforestation, pollution, large-scale industrial accidents and the destruction of habitats endangering species. As the impacts of climate change intensify and biodiversity loss accelerates, the need to address ecocide becomes ever more pressing. Environmental degradation not only affects the delicate balance of ecosystems, but also threatens human well-being, food security, water resources and socio-economic stability. The continuing degradation of natural resources and ecosystems underscores the need for a legal framework that holds individuals, companies and even governments accountable for their actions resulting in significant ecological damage.
The movement to criminalize ecocide has been gaining ground in recent years. Numerous organizations, activists and legal experts are campaigning for ecocide to be recognized as an international crime alongside genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The initiative aims to establish a comprehensive and effective legal mechanism to prevent and remedy large-scale environmental destruction. Several countries are taking active steps to recognize ecocide as a crime. France, for example, has made history by passing legislation classifying ecocide as a crime, imposing severe penalties on the guilty. This move illustrates the growing recognition that environmental protection is not just a matter of policy, but a moral and legal imperative.
In a recent article published on August 26, 2023, the British daily The Guardian states that a growing number of countries consider ecocide a crime. It takes the example of Mexico’s new bill to criminalize “any illegal or deliberate act committed in the knowledge that there is a significant probability of serious and widespread or long-term damage to the environment”. The Mexican bill uses a definition of ecocide drawn up by an international group of legal experts in 2021. The definition was primarily intended for adoption by the International Criminal Court through an amendment to the Rome Statute – the main objective of the Stop Ecocide Foundation – but is now also being used for legislation at national level. Other countries in the region, including Argentina and Chile, have also shown growing interest.
Similar bills have been introduced in other countries, including the Netherlands. Belgium is close to finalizing its own version of the law, while the Catalan Parliament is leading efforts to criminalize ecocide within the Spanish penal code. In Scotland, Labour MP Monica Lennon is attempting to introduce an ecocide bill and is launching a public consultation on the issue in the autumn. In Brazil, where deforestation of the Amazon rainforest has repeatedly been described as a crime, the PSOL political party presented an ecocide bill to Congress in June. At an Icelandic parliamentary inquiry earlier this year into whether the country should recognize ecocide, Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir told MPs that her government was following work on an international legal framework on ecocide very closely. She said it was “only a matter of time before this becomes the biggest issue in the field of human rights”.On the international scene, discussions are underway to amend the statutes of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to include ecocide as a punishable offence. This would enable the ICC to prosecute individuals responsible for acts of ecocide that cross national borders. While some argue that adding ecocide to the ICC’s jurisdiction could complicate matters, supporters believe it is essential to hold both individuals and corporations accountable for large-scale environmental destruction.
Recognition of ecocide as an international crime could be a crucial step towards securing an environmental justice that has long been conspicuous by its absence. By holding accountable those responsible for large-scale environmental damage, societies can send a powerful message that protecting our environment is a vital priority that transcends borders and politics. Burning forests with impunity will soon leave the private sphere of totalitarian and colonial states like Algeria, which invoke the right of non-interference to burn the forests of Kabylia with impunity, according to its genocidal agenda: the Kabyles Zero Plan.
As nations unite to address this vital issue, the hope of a sustainable future based on concrete environmental justice is evolving into an undeniable reality.
Tafat Ugafa
Minister of Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Provisional Kabylian Government


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