The value of environmental crimes has grown to US $91-258 billion, as per a recent report
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has said that it will focus on crimes related to the environment like exploitation of natural resources and illegal land grabbing.
The court, which is supported by the United Nations, has handled cases of genocide and war crimes since it was set up in 2002. The ICC receives funding from governments and is headquartered in The Hague.
“We are equipping our Office with clear and transparent guidelines for the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in the selection and prioritisation our cases," stated ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.
Bensouda released a policy paper, which “will assist the Office in the often difficult assessment of how to allocate its finite resources to the ever burgeoning demand arising from situations of mass atrocity," the Prosecutor added.
The paper states that ICC will take consider under-prosecuted crimes including “crimes that involve or are committed through large-scale destruction of the environment.”
The ICC aims to “highlight the gravity of these crimes, and thereby end impunity for, and contribute to the prevention of, such crimes.” The move was welcomed by land rights organisation across the world.
As per a recent UN report, the value of environmental crimes is 26 per cent larger than previous estimates. Environmental crime has grown to US $91-258 billion as compared to previous estimates of US $70-213 billion in 2014. According to the report, environmental crime dwarfs illegal trade in small arms which is valued at about US$ 3 billion.
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