Ecocide mock trial

Could a new international law be the solution to preventing environmental damage by corporations or governments? Polly Higgins proposes 'Ecocide' as a crime to be tried in the International Criminal Court. How would this work? A mock trial is taking place at the Supreme Court in London to find out. Prosecuting barrister: Michael Mansfield QC, defence barrister: Christopher Parker QC


  1. Here are some links for press reactions at The Independent Deutsche-Welle and the FT.
  2. Here are a couple more Audioboos: a reaction to the result from Polly Higgins, and Michael Mansfield QC explains of how the mock trial was different to a real ecocide trial if it becomes enshrined in law.

  3. Above - the legal teams and actor 'defendants' with Polly Higgins.

  4. Press conference:

    Q: @carboncoach asks how repeatable is this verdict?

    A: Foreman of the jury. Tar sands verdict was reached quickly. We thought the evidence was incontrovertible that CEOs were allowing toxic water to stand and it was ecocide.

    On the oil spill deliberations it was not so clear. 

    Another juror: Strict culpability is troublesome.

    Mansfield: Strict liability. The other peace crimes don't already have it. But for Ecocide to work, you need to be able to use strict liability. 'Reasonably forseeable' wouldn't work. The Spanish waiter defence. Eg Mr Murdoch.

  5. From l-r: Polly Higgins, Simon Hamilton, Michael Mansfield, Simon Boxhall, Robin Perry, Peter Robinson
  6. In post-mock-trial press conference now.

    Q: Journalist from Le Monde asks: When will it become a reality? How?

    Polly: It can be done fast. It requires an amendment to the Rome Statute. Only need 2/3, 86 members of the statute, to vote this in.

    Rio Earth Summit next year is the key opportunity to get Ecocide law.

    People play a role in pressuring their governments, she says.

  7. Update: On the two tar sands cases the charge of Guilty was delivered. On the oil spill case the verdict of Not Guilty was delivered.

    Has mock justice been done (on the basis of the evidence and arguments been aired here today)?
  8. Count 1: Mr Bannerman. Verdict: not guilty. Nos 3 convicted, 9 aquitted.

    Count 2: Mr Bannerman. Verdict: Guilty. Unanimous.

    Count 3: Mr Tench. Verdict: Guilty. Unanimous
  9. Jury coming back in the room. Air tense as a tightrope.
  10. Impressions from some people attending the Ecocide mock trial below:
  11. I asked why:
  12. Bio from above Tweeter: @aberdeenuni law student. Featured on the Young Scottish Green List 2011.