New bill to criminalise ‘ecocide’ submitted to Mexican Parliament.
Bill now with Justice, Environment and Natural Resources Committees for consultation.
Mexico joins the EU, Brazil, the Netherlands, Scotland, Spain (Catalunya), and Belgium in having ecocide bills at various stages of proposal.
On 30 July, as reported in Bulletin No. 4723 of the Chamber of Deputies, Deputy Karina Marlen Barrón Perales (PRI) proposed adding a new article to Mexico’s Federal Penal Code which would impose 10 to 15 years in prison and a fine of 1,000 to 1,500 pesos per day on anyone who perpetrates “any unlawful or wanton act committed with the knowledge that there is a substantial likelihood of severe and either widespread or long-term damage to the environment”.
The proposed bill, which is directly based on the wording of the Legal Definition of ecocide formulated by the Independent Expert Panel convened by the Stop Ecocide Foundation in 2021, has been passed to the Justice, Environment and Natural Resources Committees for consultation.
The proposal highlights, among other things, that it is fundamental for the country to recognise the concept of ecocide so that “those responsible for criminal acts against biodiversity can be judged and prevented from going unpunished” and considers that there will be no effective results if it is not done through the federal legal system.
Among the most serious environmental problems affecting Mexico’s environment, and which are highlighted in the proposal, are pollution, deforestation, waste management, global warming and fracking.
On this basis, Deputy Barrón Perales argued that “environmental destruction has caused regrettable repercussions in all ecosystems and biodiversity has been seriously affected, so that some species have become extinct and others are in danger of extinction”. She went on to say that “Some states or cities have serious air pollution […] There is also serious water pollution in rivers, seas and lakes, and […] Human health has been affected by environmental problems causing respiratory, gastric and dermatological diseases as well as serious kidney, stomach and cancer ailments.”
The deputy ended with these words, “Let’s stop ignoring the destruction of the environment. It is time to react and point out these failings in our legislation so that [these harmful acts] are punished with the gravity they deserve. Let them not continue to go unpunished.”
Rodrigo Lledó, Director of Stop Ecocide Americas and a member of the Panel of Independent Experts for the Legal Definition of Ecocide, said:
“This initiative follows the one presented in Brazil last June. Similar initiatives are being prepared in Argentina, Chile and other Latin American countries. To adequately protect the environment, it is necessary for ecocide to become a crime not only internationally but also under national legislation”.
Jojo Mehta, Co-founder and Executive Director of Stop Ecocide International said,
“This is exciting news from Mexico. The momentum is really gathering around the world – recent months have seen ecocide bills at various stages of proposal in the EU, Brazil, the Netherlands, Scotland, Spain (Catalunya) and Belgium (where the government is now only waiting on parliamentary approval). Leaders across the globe are clearly beginning to wake up to the very real dangers we face, and a strong legislative direction of travel is becoming evident.
“It is only a matter of time before enforceable legal protection against severe and widespread or long-term environmental harm is accepted as a necessary step towards a safer world… by a critical mass of nation states, at regional level and indeed at the International Criminal Court.”
‘An International Crime of Ecocide: New Perspectives’
Promise Institute Symposium 2023
As momentum gathers around a new international crime of ecocide, this online symposium brings together a broad range of contributors to consider questions like – whose world views should shape the crime, what difference would it make to deforestation in Brazil or bauxite mining in Jamaica, and how might it best be brought into law?
Kate Mackintosh, Damien Short, Darryl Robinson & Shirleen Chin.
With critical assistance from Veronika Bagi.