Leonard de Klerk & Stavros Pantazopoulos: ENVIRONMENTAL ACCOUNTABILITY AND JUSTICE IN THE WAR IN UKRAINE
Manage episode 362814467 series 3442209
The Russian war against the Ukraine has not only come at a tremendous human cost, it destroyed vital natural resources, including forests, soil and water and fragile ecosystems that will take decades to recover or repair. The implications of damage and toxic contamination from fighting are especially grave given that Ukraine is home to 35 per cent of Europe’s biodiversity and around a quarter of the earth’s chernozem, a rich, highly fertile soil type. As the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reports that hundreds of protected areas are or have been under occupation, including up to 23 national parks and nature and biosphere reserves (SIPRI). Pursuing accountability and restitution for conflict related environmental damages has long been a neglected issue in international law and the prosecution of war crimes. And while recent efforts, to strengthen the international normative and legal framework, both, at the level of the United Nations and Humanitarian Agencies, such as the Red Cross, much remains to be done. There is growing pressure to include ‘ecocide’ as an international crime under the Rome Statute. Yet the International Criminal Court does not currently recognize the mass destruction of flora and fauna, or the poisoning of air or water resources as an international crime.
Will the war in the Ukraine be a turning point for the lack of accountability for violence against nature in armed conflict? And what are the main challenges in documenting and assembling evidence for possible court proceedings and to better protect and enforce reparations for environmental war crimes?
Lennard de Klerk is Dutch national with 25+ years experience in climate change topics in Central and Eastern Europe. After Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, he started an initiative to estimate the environmental impact of this war, including its long term effects on carbon emissions. Lennard graduated from Delft University of Technology and during his career lived in Moscow, Berlin, Kyiv and Budapest . He currently runs a climate neutral holiday resort (Irota EcoLodge) in Northern Hungary.
Stavros-Evdokimos Pantazopoulos is a post-doctoral researcher with the Toxic Crimes Project of the Erik Castrén Institute at the University of Helsinki, and a Researcher with the Asser Institute. He is currently visiting the Law School of the University of Athens. Formerly, Stavros was the Legal and Policy Analyst of the Conflict and Environment Observatory, a UK-based NGO aiming to raise awareness of the environmental impacts of armed conflict. He obtained his PhD degree in international law from the European University Institute and his scholarship focuses on the legal aspects of environmental protection during and after armed conflict.
Monika Halkort is a social scientist and journalist in Vienna. She currently also teaches at the University of Applied Arts as part of the master program ‚Applied Human Rights and the Arts`. Next to her academic work, she regularly produces contributions for the Ö1 programs Radiokolleg, Hörbilder and Diagonal. The thematic focus of her work is the historical interconnections of colonialism, technology and knowledge production and how they continue to shape ideas of sustainability, planetary thinking and environmental justice today.