2021 Environmental Crimes and Protection Conference Program

Pomme D’Or Hotel, St. Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands
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In partnership with The Jersey Law Commission, The Resolution Journal, the Jersey International Centre of Advanced Studies and sponsored by The World Peace through Law Section of the Washington State Bar Association, Save Our Shoreline Jersey, Earth Protect Jersey. This program has been approved for 7.5 CPD credits by the Jersey Law Society.

The Ecocide-International Environmental Crime Nexus: When Can an International Environmental Crime be Called “Ecocide”?
David Krott
International environmental crimes do present one of the most pressing threats in international jurisdiction. Wildlife crimes, transboundary pollution or crimes towards indigenous people represent only a fraction of potential environmental criminality on the international level. The terms ecocide and international environmental crimes have grown to the keywords in international environmental criminality. Despite their importance to represent this entire area of international criminality, both terms sit on a vast legal grey area. The phrase international environmental crime is often only used as an umbrella term without a clear delineation. Within the last years, the term ecocide has received growing attention and popularity. Many suggestions on international environmental criminality focus their hopes on “ecocide” itself. Though neither ecocide nor international environmental crimes have been equipped with a globally agreed-upon definition by the community of states. Both terms aim at specific acts harming the environment with a certain extend of criminal potential. Nevertheless, a clear line of distinction between international environmental crimes and ecocide is missing. Are those terms interchangeable? Do they stand for opposite areas within international environmental criminality? Or do both terms have an overlap? This presentation will try to answer the questions raised above and explore the question of where the border lies between an international environmental crime and a fully grown ecocide.

With respect to bats: are England and the Bailiwick of Jersey compliant with the conservation obligations and legal protection prescribed by domestic, EU law and international agreements, and where bat related crime has been proven are the resulting convictions an effective deterrent?
Dr. Amy Louise Hall
Bat populations within the United Kingdom have undergone significant decline over the last century with human activity being the major factor in driving these losses. Bat roosts have been lost to development works, foraging habitats have been destroyed, landscape connectivity has been lost and there is increasing light pollution at both roost sites and along historic commuting routes. In more recent times the drive towards zero carbon housing, renewable energy sources and novel construction materials has led a new danger to populations of bats. The acknowledgement of the population declines in bats led to them becoming protected in the United Kingdom with laws protecting their roosts and foraging grounds and with it being a specific offence to kill or disturb a bat. The United Kingdom is also a signatory to international conventions and agreements which serve to protect bats against many of the aforementioned risk by instructing or suggesting to the signatories to undertake research and monitoring and to write policy and guidance. However, knowing the risks to bats, and with respect to the existing legal and regulatory instruments, is the UK government succeeding in protecting bat populations and are the enforcement measures governing illegal activities proving to be an effective deterrent? This talk will look at the mechanisms for bat protection within the UK and Jersey and will also look at compliance of both parties under conventions obligations and resolutions.

Who qualifies as an environmental victim? A cross-jurisdictional case-study in the waste-sector
Dimitris Tsiatsianis
My research qualitatively examines the identity of environmental victims in the joint institutional framework regulating waste-management practices across Greece, the European Union and the Council of Europe. Overall, sixty texts drawn from the statutory and policy framework of all three jurisdictions were subjected to qualitative content analysis, the latter being directed by the theoretical frameworks of anthropocentrism and ecocentrism. The analysis suggests that human beings unambiguously qualify as environmental victims, while the environment per se enjoys a tentative, if not undermined, victim status. However, under certain margins of institutionalized harm favoring the undistracted operation of the waste sector, neither humans nor the environment qualifies as victims.

Climate Justice: Anthropocentrism vs. ecocentrism of law
Dr. Zoi Aliozi
The proposed paper intents to look at environmental law through the philosophical lens of climate justice, to examine the conflicting ideas of ecocentrism vs anthropocentrism of law. Anthropocentrism is essentially human-centric, while ecocentrism is nature-centric. The former gives prime importance to humankind, while the latter gives equal importance to all the components of nature. Even an untrained legal mind would agree that the fairer of these two ideas is the inclusive ecocentrism. However, why is it that international law is failing to acknowledge that? In examining this question this paper will employ philosophical methodology, and in particular ethics, ontology, and philosophy of law. As it is argued by activists and scholars, in the root of our climate emergency lies the outdated idea of anthropocentrism. Anthropocentrism, places the Anthropos in the center of law; and as such, is regarding humankind as the central or most important element of existence, especially as opposed to nature or animals. This paper intents to examine the argument holding that climate justice cannot flourish in an outdated anthropocentric legal structure, AKA as our current international legal order. I will furthermore be asking questions such as:  Can climate justice overcome the obstacles anthropocentrism sustains in blocking real legal action?  Is the future of international law “green”?  Has anthropocentrism failed to move positive climate action?  Can ecocentrism overcome the empty political promises and move positive legal action?  Can these two legal approaches co-exist for the betterment of law, and for ensuring a sustainable future for humankind, human rights, and the rights of future generations?  Does ecocentrism (which is valuing nature for its own sake), and anthropocentrism (even if it places unlimited value on humans), share the goal of ensuring a healthy environment? At the end of the day, anthropocentrism is said to agree with ecocentrism’s view that there is value on nature, because of material or physical benefits it can provide for humans. Finally, this paper intents to examine the reasons the climate emergency is not being treated as such by all stakeholders, and to assess the reasons behind the softness of environmental law; and the connection of these ideas with ensuring climate justice and the prosecution of green crimes.

Is the time right to have an International Environmental Law Court?
Aakriti Malhotra, Sharmishtha Shukla & Kanika Nangrani
Over the last decade, the emerging trend around the world demands environmental justice and the creation of a separate and distinct international body. However, policy makers are yet to break away from the traditional judicial boundaries. The need of the hour, during such dynamic changes in the societies consumption patterns, global geopolitics and the manmade creation of environmental havocs requires the creation of an International Environmental Law Court (IELC). The paper begins with providing for a brief overview of how environmental issues are being dealt with by specialised courts/tribunals who have taken it upon themselves to address the issues pertaining to the environment, for when they intersect with these regimes. The paper introduces the argument, how such ancillary treatment by the adjudicating bodies may not be sufficient to nip the problem in the bud. The second section would shed light upon, the International/Regional Conventions on Environmental Law and the mechanisms enshrined therein to ensure compliance. The third section would provide for an overview of the kind of issues the enforcement bodies have dealt with; in contrast, case studies on the efficacy of countries like, New South Wales (Australia), India, Kenya, South Africa etc., which either have specialized environmental law courts/tribunals or specialized benches within courts have been analysed. The next section will discuss the arguments for and against the current scenario being the apt time for the establishment of an IELC. The paper then proceeds to conclude whether an IELC would prove to be a feasible and sustainable system of adjudication.

The Trouble with Agrochemicals in the Island of Jersey
John Baker
The use of Agrochemicals — pesticides, fertilizers, and plant growth enhancers — has been crucial to humanity over the last century. They’ve allowed agricultural productivity to keep up with the most drastic period of population growth in our history, and have saved billions from starvation. Yet, their impact on the environment has become too profound to ignore, and they are increasingly seen as 20th-century instruments that are ill-suited for 21st-century challenges. In the small Channel Island of Jersey, the farmers still stick to the chemical method of farming using up to 18 different chemicals in the production of the Jersey Royal potato crop alone. This has resulted in the local water company having to close 3 public water reservoirs due to excess levels of pesticides in the water at the time and, because of the excessive use of Nitrate fertilisers to increase crop yields, particularly for the Jersey Royal Potato, St Aubin’s Bay, to the south of the Island has suffered from Sea Lettuce blooms which blanket the bay in a layer of green mushy Sea Lettuce which exudes Hydrogen Sulphide as it rots in the Sun. That rotten egg smell wafts across the town of St Helier in the summer month and is a disincentive to tourist and others wanting to use the beaches. This presentation will cover the challenges we face to convince both Government and the Farming community to change their ways and stop polluting the environment with their Agrochemicals. The presentation will also explore how Regenerative Chemical-free Farming as the cure.

Buxawa forest versus Diamond mining
Jishnu P.A
The Buxawa forest is rich in biodiversity and located in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India. The government is planning to begin diamond mining in this forest area, which has already caused it to cut down a 1/4 of million trees. Along with the trees, other organisms will be wiped out from this area and surprisingly the government has still given sanction to cut down the trees for diamonds. The local people realise the real diamond is the forest and the people who will be severely impacted are the indigenous people in that locality. This presentation will look at this crime against environment and people of Buxawa.

To infinity and Beyond: – Sustainable use of Outer Space as the End Game
Tamara Blagojevic
The discovery of the space ecosystem has led to the accelerated development of the space industry, commercialization of space, and growth of high risked outer space activities, which presume the usage of large amounts of energy. The consequences accompanying these activities are excessive exploitation of natural resources and pollution of the outer space environment, making them the nexus between environmental damages on Earth and in outer space, since they both reflect on ecosystems and can have unpredictable and immeasurable effects. When compared with environmental law, space law is underdeveloped and lacks precise norms. The existing vague norms of space law cannot be adequately applied due to issues with interpretation. The impossibility of supervision is due to the lack of independent supervisory bodies and mechanisms for dispute resolution which enables the monopoly of space forces and excludes underdeveloped countries from the “game.” This opens the possibility of the illegitimate undertaking of a wide range of activities that lead to space damages and affect the Earth’s environment. Furthermore, most of space debris has not been properly addressed, making it necessary to turn to a multidisciplinary and preventive approach and consider other sources of international law, to fill the gaps.

The relation between cultural and environmental damage: a case-study on the cultural rights of indigenous people impacted by environmental damages
Alice Lopes Fabris
The definition of environmental damage includes several types of injuries, covering also an impact on cultural heritage. In this sense, a link between environmental damage and cultural loss can be observed, especially concerning the cultural rights of indigenous people. The cultural loss for indigenous people from the Brazilian dam disaster at Mariana is an example. This link is often present as a reason for the protection of some natural sites, for instance for the Te Urewera Act of New Zealand. Moreover, this close link between culture and environment has been analyzed by two regional Courts: the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. In turn, reparation must erase all damages that arose from the internationally wrongful act, and, in this sense, these Courts studied the link between the cultural aspects linked to the environment to identify all possible damages. This article aims to study the importance of cultural traditions for the protection of the environment, specially concerning indigenous communities, common principles for the reparation of cultural loss linked to environmental damage taken into account this populations, and the limits for these Courts to order the reparation of such damage.

Mass Violence, Environmental Degradation and the Limits of Transitional Justice
Rachel Killean and Lauren Dempster
The relationship between the environment and mass violence is complex and multi-faceted. The effects of environmental degradation can destabilise societies and cause conflict; attacks on the environment can harm targeted groups; and both mass violence and subsequent transitions can have harmful environmental legacies. Given this backdrop it is notable that the field of transitional justice has paid relatively little attention to the intersections between mass violence and environmental degradation. This presentation interrogates this inattention and explores the limitations and possibilities of transitional justice as a means of addressing the environmental harms associated with mass violence. We make four key claims. First, that the ‘dominance of legalism’ in transitional justice has produced anthropocentric understandings of harm which exclude environmental harms and victims. Second, that transitional justice’s tendency towards neo-colonialism has led to the disregarding of worldviews that might encourage more environmentally inclusive responses to violence. Third, that transitional justice’s inability to redress structural inequalities has often left environmental injustices intact. And fourth, that the field’s complicity in normalising neoliberal capitalism both overlooks environmental harm and facilitates future environmental degradation. In light of these claims, we consider whether and where opportunities might exist for ‘greener’ responses to mass violence.

The link between climate litigation and the development of environmental crimes
Beatrice Hamilton
While climate change and sustainable development are of main concern, mankind still appears to be struggle in order to successfully balance between economical considerations and environmental concerns with some suggesting that in order to preserve the environment for the benefit of both present and future generation the international legal framework for the protection of the environment must be enhanced not the least through the introduction of criminal provisions. Thus far, however, efforts to establish such provisions have been unsuccessful. The focus of this presentation is on the relationship between climate litigation today and the development of environmental crimes. To this end the presentation will focus on the following: 1) The limits of climate litigation under the international criminal framework 2) The scope of climate litigation today 3) The relationship between climate litigation and the development of environmental crimes – challenges and opportunities.

An Island in Crisis – The need for Independent Environmental Regulation
Dave Cabeldu, MBE
The Channel Island of Jersey is a Crown Dependency in the Bay of St Malo. A mere 9 x 5 miles in size, it has a population of 106,000, a creaking infrastructure and a number of problems with the land, fresh water and marine environments. We will outline just some of the environmental issues Jersey has, and explore the problems faced when individuals and small organisations who raise valid concerns come up against official intransigence and the drive for more commercial development. We will also show you how what is happening on this small Island could affect you and your country, unless you take a different path.

Ecocide: Is it Time for a Crime?
Professor Claire de Than and Dr Jesse Elvin
In recent years, various organisations and individuals, such as the French citizens’ assembly, Greta Thunburg and Pope Francis, have called for the introduction of a crime of ‘ecocide’ dealing with the destruction of the environment. In June 2021, the Stop Ecocide Foundation proposed that a new crime of ecocide be added to the list of offences over which the International Criminal Court has jurisdiction. However, there is division of opinion here: some calls have been for the introduction of a crime of ecocide in domestic law, some have been for international criminal law to address the issue of destruction of the environment in various ways, and some reformers favour the introduction of relevant crimes at both domestic and international level. Further, there is significant opposition to the introduction of new crimes relating to destruction of the environment, particularly on the grounds that it might unduly limit economic development and that it will not address the real causes of environmental destruction. Our paper will consider the pros and cons of various options for reform with a particular focus on whether the time is now right for Jersey to lead on this issue in its domestic law.

Smoking, asbestos, lead …….and now PFAS!
Michael du Pre
PFAS, nicknamed ‘the forever chemicals’ because they do not degrade have, over recent decades, been increasingly recognised across the globe as a major contributor to serious life-threatening health conditions. First introduced into the manufacture of many household goods in the 1950s, we all now contain minute but accumulating traces of it in our bodies. The island of Jersey however suffered from a major PFAS pollution incident in the early 1990s and through lack of action now finds its mains drinking water supply contaminated. The pollution incident took place when its danger to life was not fully recognized. We will share our learnings with the conference about what steps should have been taken in respect of this situation – an Island in which some people already believe that they are seriously ill, in which the environment and health authorities appear to be out of touch with ( or are simply turning a blind eye to) the latest comprehensive scientific knowledge available from elsewhere in the world and in which there is no urgency to take action in a situation in which the WHO’s principle of implementing precautionary measures should certainly be applied.

Splintered Rage: Environmental Destruction, Green Crimes, and the Tatmadaw
Regina M. Paulose
Burma is a country that is home to several environmental wonders. These locations include the Ngapali in the Arakan, the Myeik Archipelago which is home to the Moken People, and Kyauk Ka Lat in the Kayin. Burma is also home to the famous Ayeyarwady River, home to megafauna and species native to Burma. Although Burma is home to these types of environmental gems, it is also home to an extraordinary amount of environmental destruction, in many cases constituting “green crimes” perpetrated by the Burmese military, the Tatmadaw. This presentation will focus on how the destruction of natural resources in Burma has allowed terror to reign inside Burma. This presentation will also evaluate and focus on the international community’s response to this environmental destruction, which started long before the events of February 2021.