08. Nov 2022
Photo: Pixabay

As part of efforts to reform and simplify its criminal code, Belgium will introduce the crime of ecocide. The government has already adopted a draft of the new code, but it is not expected to enter into force before 2025.

Ecocide is included in the new law as a separate crime. At the moment, it is treated like this in eleven countries in the world, including France, Russia, Ukraine and some other republics of the former USSR.

Ecocide will be defined as an illegal act, which is committed with the knowledge that it will cause severe, widespread and long-term harmful consequences for the environment, and the perpetrator will face a sentence of ten to 20 years in prison.

Non-governmental organizations have been advocating for several years that ecocide be defined as an international crime, such as genocide, war of aggression, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

In March, the Belgian Minister of Ecology, Zakia Hatabi, called on her colleagues from the EU to make joint efforts to include ecocide in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

"Regardless of the international reaction to that initiative, there was a possibility that ecocide would be declared a crime in domestic law." This is now a reality," the minister said in a statement.

The Belgian government has also decided that the murder of women or girls because of their gender will be treated as a separate crime in the future. The new criminal code will also include the offense of incitement to suicide, reports



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