The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court highlights the ‘environment’ in case selection and prioritisation

Once again I have occasion to post to this the Roundtable.  I am working on a short piece for the Australian Environment Review on the recent Policy Paper released by the Office of the Prosecutor the International Criminal Court on case selection and prioritisation.  I thought I’d put it up here and see if it draws any comments, although expectations are low given my lack of use or promotion of this blog.  The working abstract tells you this: On 15 September 2016, the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a Policy Paper on Case Selection and Prioritisation (PCSP). The new policy makes public the principles that will help guide the OTP in the exercise of its discretion in decisions about the choice and ranking of prospective cases for investigation and prosecution. The PCSP is explicit that the OTP will place stress on environmental destruction and illegal exploitation of natural resources in selecting future cases. This brief comment examines the contribution the PCSP might make in the context of the rise of international environmental crimes. It opens by examining the structural limits to prosecution of environmental war crimes in the ICC, even with the green focus of the PCSP. It then moves from war crimes to crimes against humanity, and considers strategic options that the OTP might have available in prosecuting particular environmental crimes (eg ‘land-grabs’, illegal logging, natural resource pillaging, etc) as Rome Statute crimes. It concludes by looking at a contemporaneous proposal circulating that – given the limits of the ICC – could ultimately serve in a complementary manner “to combat impunity”.

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