Understanding the Legalities of Ecocide


In June 2021, an Independent Expert Panel drafted the legal definition of ecocide. They defined ecocide as involving “unlawful or wanton acts committed with knowledge that there is a substantial likelihood of severe and either widespread or long-term damage to the environment being caused by those acts”. Although this legal definition has not yet given rise to international recognition of a legally punishable crime, some countries have codified ecocide as a crime which enables them to hold individuals and corporations criminally liable. Join us at this event to understand what the promises and perils of defining ecocide as a crime can bring.


Professor Christina Voigt, Member of the Independent Expert Panel for the Legal Definition of Ecocide; Chair of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law; Professor of Law, University of Oslo

Professor Darryl Robinson, Member of the Promise Institute Working Group on the use of International Criminal Law to protect the environment; Professor of Law, Queen’s University

Dr. Christina Voigt is Professor of Law at the University of Oslo, Norway. She is an internationally renowned expert in international environmental law and teaches, speaks and publishes widely on legal issues of climate change, environmental multilateralism and sustainability.

From 2009-2018, she worked as principal legal adviser for the Government of Norway in the UN climate negotiations and negotiated the Paris Agreement and its Rulebook.

Professor Voigt is Chair of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL) and Co-chair of the Paris Agreement Implementation and Compliance Committee. She also is a mother of two young boys, Victor and Oscar.

Professor Darryl Robinson was a Hauser Scholar at New York University School of Law (LLM International Legal Studies), where he received the Jerome Lipper Award for outstanding achievement in international law. Prior to that, he was the Gold Medalist at the University of Western Ontario Faculty of Law, where he was a President’s National Scholar.

He articled at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt in Toronto and clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada for Justice John Major.

He served as a Legal Officer at Foreign Affairs Canada from 1997-2004, providing legal advice and engaging in international negotiations concerning international human rights, humanitarian and criminal law. His work in the creation of the International Criminal Court and in the development of Canada’s new war crimes legislation earned him a Minister’s Citation and a Minister’s Award for Foreign Policy Excellence.

He joined the International Criminal Court as an adviser to the Chief Prosecutor, from 2004 to 2006, helping to shape the first policies and strategies of the new institution. He was also involved in litigation, providing legal advice, negotiating cooperation agreements with the UN, Interpol and others, and strengthening external relations.

From 2006 to 2008, he was a Fellow, Adjunct Professor and Director of the International Human Rights Clinic at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. He was involved in an intervention at the Supreme Court of Canada in the Omar Khadr case, research for the Air India inquiry, and bringing a case to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of a community of Roma who were expelled from their homes.

He joined Queen’s University Faculty of Law in July 2008.


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