The concept of ecocide, or crimes against the planet, has been brought into the consciousness of many people by the barrister and author, Polly Higgins. She has been campaigning for several years, negotiating with the UN, and governments around the world, asking for ecocide to be adopted as the 5th crime against peace. Her book, ‘Eradicating Ecocide‘, highlights the problems and why it is necessary for large corporations be environmentally responsible and accountable for their actions.
On Friday a mock trial was held at the Supreme Court in London, where the proposed new law was tested. Two company CEO’s (played by actors) were put on ‘trial’ using evidence from real events. Standard court procedures were used with Michael Mansfield QC leading the prosecution team and Christopher Parker QC leading the defence.
Each member of the jury was sworn in and real expert witnesses were called to give evidence too. In reality, a trial such as this would last several months, so the time constraints of a day could only give a very brief insight in what would really happen. But the message was clear – there is an appetite for such a law.
And the verdict – guilty.