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EU Takes Historic Step: Criminalizing Environmental Destruction

Did you know the fourth largest criminal activity in the world is Environmental crime? Or that "Ecocide" is one of the main income sources for organised criminals alongside drugs, weapons and human trafficking? Shocking but unfortunately not surprising. There is hope yet though with the EU implementing new legislation to hold criminals accountable.


The European Parliament has made a groundbreaking decision by voting to criminalize severe environmental damage comparable to ecocide. This marks a significant milestone, making the EU the first international body to take such a stance. Ecosystem destruction, including habitat loss and illegal logging, will now be met with harsher penalties and prison sentences under the updated environmental crime directive. With overwhelming support from EU lawmakers, member states have a two-year window to integrate this directive into their national laws.


The move has been hailed as revolutionary by experts, who see it as a crucial step in ending environmental impunity in Europe. Marie Toussaint, a French MEP, emphasizes the urgency of addressing environmental crimes, which have been growing at an alarming rate. Despite existing legislation, offenders have continued to evade punishment, leading to detrimental effects on ecosystems and human health.


The updated directive not only identifies specific environmental activities but also holds individuals, including CEOs and board members, accountable for their decisions. Those found guilty could face up to ten years in prison, particularly if their actions result in fatalities. This shift in accountability marks a significant departure from previous laws, where compliance with permits often shielded operators from criminal liability, even in cases of severe environmental pollution. Overall, the updated directive represents a crucial step forward in the fight against environmental destruction and serves as a model for global environmental governance.


To read the full article at euronews, click here


To read the press release from the European Parliament, click here

 

Watch the video from euronews below.


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