An International Court for the Environment?
Posted by jonathanfryer on Monday, 8th March, 2010
Everyone’s in favour of the environment these days, even the Tories. Yet the planet continues to suffer appalling degradation and biodiversity is being compromised at an alarming rate. Of course, some of this is due to natural causes, but most is the result of the activities of humankind — whatever the climate change deniers say. Yet at present there is no global mechanism to bring many of the worst ecological abusers to book (with certain exceptions such as oil spills), particularly if they are sovereign states. Hence the need for an International Court for the Environment (ICE), whose case was put by Stephen Hockman, QC, at the eighth annual Ruth Steinkraus-Cohen International Law Lecture in the Brunei Gallery lecture theatre at SOAS this evening. The presentation was more of a lawyer’s brief than a stirring piece of rhetoric, but the message was one that appealed to the large numbers present — including many members of the United Nations Association. At present, the ICE is just an idea being floated rather than a concrete proposition and many countries would doubtless be reluctant to sign up to it (as is already the case with the International Court of Justice). But that should not stop the campaign to get one instituted. The environent is screaming out loud for itself about the abuse being inflicted on it, but it needs a human court to bring some of the worst violators to justice.