Establishing Crimes against Future Generations

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The initiative of creating crimes against future generations grew from discussions held by the World Future Council Commission on Future Justice on the need to develop new laws and policies guaranteeing human security, ecological integrity, and social equity in the interest of future generations. The development of the concept and a definition of crimes against future generations for the International Criminal Court were commissioned to Sébastien Jodoin, CISDL Lead Counsel. This process included expert workshops, consultations and meetings organised by the World Future Council and the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law with leading international judges and lawyers from 2007 to 2010.

The resulting definition of Crimes against Future Generations under international law builds upon a number of principles and developments in international law and policy on sustainable development, environment, human rights and international crime. It refers to criminal actions not already proscribed by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as crimes against humanity, war crimes, or crimes of genocide.

It encompasses serious violations of economic, social, cultural, and environmental rights committed with knowledge of the substantial likelihood of their severe consequences on the long-term health, safety, or means of survival of any identifiable group or collectivity. This definition was adopted by the entire World Future Council on November 7, 2010 and is now the basis for a public Campaign to End Crimes against Future Generations.

The World Future Council also continues to work on the foundational level of the Future Justice agenda and seeks to influence the way we think and act by engaging with experts and advocates in international law and policy. A related academic book on the links between sustainable development and international criminal law, with many contributors from all over the world, is forthcoming.

Read here about bottom trawling as a potential Crime against Future Generations.

Future Justice… about thinking and acting differently, based on respect, dignity and mutual trust

…considers not just what is happening now, but the effects of our actions in the years, decades and centuries to come

… is a means of creating new rules for how we live and work, pass laws and run countries

…is the giving of rights to the poorest, the weakest, the ignored, to the planet and to the other living creatures we share it with

…is a protection for all the people yet to be born,  whose lives we are blighting before they have even started

…is about what we do now.  Our actions today will determine the conditions of life for centuries to come


» Acknowledgements