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The Ecocide Trial on 30th September 2011 was a resounding success.
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Sentencing of the convicted CEOs took place on 31st March 2012.
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The Ecocide Trial
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom

30 September 2011

To view a trailer of the Ecocide Trial, please click one of the following:

Quicktime logoQuickTime movie Windows Media logoWindows Media wmv
(Internet Explorer users, try the Windows Media option, others the QuickTime)

Latest news:

Mssrs. Bannerman and Tench in the dock at the Ecocide TrialTench (left) and Bannerman listen to the indictments against them as they are read out in court.

The indictments that the two CEO's, Mr Bannerman and Mr Tench, were charged with can be seen here: "The Ecocide Trial indictments".

Mr Bannerman was found "Not Guilty" of the first count and "Guilty" of the second count. Mr Tench was found "Guilty" of the third count.

See more photos of the event here.

Sentencing of the convicted CEOs will
take place on 31st March 2012.
Click for more details

"Once upon a time people did grievous harm to the environment without fully understanding the consequences of their actions. That defence is no longer available, and that sure knowledge we now have entails equally sure moral obligations. In this context, the idea of establishing the crime of Ecocide is both timely and compelling."

Jonathon Porritt, former Chair, Sustainable Development Commission

"In these days when the human impact on the environment is becoming everyday more evident and proves to be not only damaging to our surroundings but a serious threat to human life and survival, it is imperative that we should declare Ecocide a Crime Against Peace. The Club of Budapest is happy to endorse this initiative and is committed to following it up to the best of its abilities and potentials."

Ervin Laszlo, President, Club of Budapest

It has been proposed that Ecocide, the environmental equivalent of genocide, becomes the 5th International Crime Against Peace alongside Genocide itself, Crimes Against Humanity, Crimes of Aggression and War Crimes.

The new law has been proposed to the UN by British Environmental Lawyer, Polly Higgins who proposes that under the new law Heads of States and Directors of Corporations be required to take individual and personal responsibility for their actions.

On September 30th 2011, London's Supreme Court of the United Kingdom will be the venue for a Mock Trial, played out as though the crime of Ecocide had already been adopted. 

The earthquake and tsunami in Japan have shown us the unstoppable power of nature. There is little we can do to protect against these events but we can take responsibility for our own actions and their effect on the Earth.

One of these actions could be to create an international law on Ecocide, the environmental equivalent of genocide. This law would establish the requirement of heads of states and corporations to take individual and personal responsibility for their actions. What will this mean in practice? Is it legally possible? Will it have more negative effects than positive? Would the Alberta Tar Sands mining, destruction of the Amazon rainforest, oil spills, the threatened existence of the low-lying Maldive Islands because of rising sea-levels, the Pacific Gyre, the island of garbage twice the size of Texas slowly spinning in the Pacific Ocean be classed as Ecocide? Who would be the individuals prosecuted under this proposed law? Could Banks be culpable as well if they provide funding for activities prosecuted under Ecocide? In reality, what effect would the law have on the environment and businesses and the people who run them?


Polly Higgins, the British barrister and international environmental lawyer, proposed to the United Nations in April 2010 that a law on Ecocide to be classed as an international law alongside Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, Crimes of Aggression and War Crimes, as a 5th Crime Against Peace. If Ecocide is accepted as a crime under international law it will have a profound effect on Governments, Heads of State, Corporations and those who run them, and on the ecosystems of the Earth.

Ecocide is defined as "the mass damage, destruction to or loss of ecosystems of a given territory, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been severely diminished."

The Trial

THE ECOCIDE TRIAL is a mock trial, will last one day and follow UK court procedures.

Michael Mansfield QC, the prosecuting barrister, and Nigel Lickley QC, the defence barrister together with supporting legal teams, will lead the case for and against two fictional CEOs. Before the case is heard, legal argument will be put as to whether Ecocide and the Earth Right to Life should be applied to the charge against them. The CEOs, played by an actors, have been charged with a number of ecocides - which one will be tried will be determined on the day. It could be:
         Deforestation of the Amazon
         Arctic drilling
         Fracking for shale gas in Nigeria
         Major oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico
         Bauxite mining of the Niyamgiri mountain
         Unconventional tar sands extraction in Canada
         Deep sea mining of the Central and Eastern Manus Basin

The trial will examine how the crime of Ecocide protects the Earth Right to Life and will be tried as though the proposed crime of Ecocide has been adopted by the UN.
What will happen is not pre- scripted; it is ultimately for the jury to determine whether the crime of Ecocide is made out and whether the Earth Right to Life is breached.

The trial will be the focus for a sustained campaign to raise awareness of the issues around Ecocide and to have them debated and discussed fully within Government, business, communities, the media, universities and schools, nationally and internationally.

Ecocide video


It will be filmed and streamed live to social network sites. Edited versions of the event will be available for international, national and local television, radio and other media outlets and for public and private screenings.

The Witnesses

We are in discussion with a number of experts in relevant fields. Their names will be announced nearer the date of the Trial.

The Lawyers

Prosecuting team Leader: Michael Mansfield QC, Tooks Chambers
Jane Russell, Tooks Chambers
Junior: Steven Powles, Doughty St Chambers
Defending team Christopher Parker QC, 3 Paper Buildings Chambers
Adam Hiddleston, 3 Paper Buildings Chambers

All lawyers are giving their time and expertise free.

The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom

The Hamilton Group is using the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in London as the venue. This in no way implies endorsement by the Supreme Court of the opinions raised in the trial or the verdict reached by the trial jury.

For more information, or if you want to support this event in any way, please contact us.

Donate here to The Ecocide Trial via: