In an effort to get attacks on the natural environment recognized as international crimes against peace, a UK non-profit called the Hamilton Group staged a mock trial last week in which two fictional CEOs were convicted by a jury of “ecocide.” As the Independent reported:
They were put on trial under international laws which establish ecocide alongside genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of aggression, as the most serious in existence.
The chief executives may have been actors, the corporations fictional and the trial a mock-up, but the circumstances surrounding the so-called “crimes” – the destruction of ecosystems during both the Gulf oil spill and the mining of crude oil in Alberta – are real. So is the call for a new law protecting the natural world, placing ecocide among the most heinous crimes known.
Both bosses, of Global Petroleum Company (GPC) and Glamis Group, were convicted on charges of ecocide relating to oil extraction in Canada, while one was acquitted of charges relating to the Gulf spill.
“Companies cannot be given a licence to spill and kill as long as they clean up the mess,” said Michael Mansfield QC, appearing for the prosecution yesterday.
Much more than simply being a publicity stunt, the mock trail, as Treehugger noted, “was a carefully planned exploration of what true accountability would mean if CEOs willfully disregarded protection of the environment in the course of doing business.”