Thursday, April 29, 2010

World tribunal would police climate 'crimes'

Laura Guachalla in Demands for a world tribunal with the power to punish climate 'crimes' were presented to the United Nations on Monday (26 April). The Climate and Environmental Justice Tribunal emerged as a key proposal of the summit — the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth — held in Bolivia last week (19-22 April), said to have been attended by more than 31, 000 people (see Bolivian alternative climate conference begins).

The tribunal would have the legal capacity to prevent, prosecute, and punish states, companies and individuals who — by act or omission — are causing environmental contamination and climate change.

"I think this court is completely feasible. Not only that, it is urgent and indispensable," said Miguel D'Escoto, former president of the UN General Assembly, one of the higher-profile participants at the summit, which was organised for developing countries, NGOs and grassroots organisations after dissatisfaction with the outcome of the UN Copenhagen Climate Change Conference last year (November).

"This is a court at the same level as the international court of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide," said the Belgian sociologist, François Houtart, arguing that polluting and causing climate change were also crimes against humanity….

Logo of the International Court of Justice, principal judicial organ of the United Nations

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