It emanates from a proposal made by the Citizens’ Climate Convention, which nevertheless wanted to see the birth of a crime of ecocide, rather than an offense.
The “ecocide offense” aims to prevent and punish serious damage to the environment. Derived from a proposal from the Citizen’s Convention for the climate, it will be created soon, announced this Sunday the Minister of Ecological Transition and the Minister of the Seals.
In a joint interview with JDD, Eric Dupond-Moretti and Barbara Pompili detail this new offense and not crime as the 150 citizens of the Climate Convention had wished. “The citizen enthusiasm that has been expressed must be followed by a legal translation in the penal code”, justifies the Minister of Justice, arguing a problem of constitutionality with regard to the word “crime”.
- Three to ten years in prison
“We are going to create a general pollution offense. The penalties will be modulated according to the intention of the perpetrator. The penalties incurred range from three years ‘imprisonment to ten years’ imprisonment depending on whether one is in the presence of an offense of recklessness, of a manifestly deliberate breach of an obligation and the heaviest, of an intentional breach, “reports Eric Dupond-Moretti.
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The fines, which are intended to be dissuasive, will range from 375,000 to 4.5 million euros. “In the past you polluted, you won, tomorrow you will pollute, you will pay up to ten times the profit you would have made if you had thrown your waste into the river”, assures the Keeper of the Seals.
- A second offense of “endangering the environment”
A second offense of “endangering the environment” should also emerge. Unlike the first, the sanctions can be applied even when the pollution has not yet occurred, said the Ministry of Ecological Transition.
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“The text aims to penalize the deliberate endangerment of the environment by deliberate violations of an obligation”, emphasizes Eric Dupond-Moretti in the JDD. The penalty is one year in prison and a 100,000 euros fine. “It is in fact the translation, in precise legal terms, of what the historical promoters of the recognition of ecocide were asking for”, assures her side Barbara Pompili.
The two ministers will meet virtually on Monday with representatives of the 150 citizens of the Climate Convention.
- Specialized courts
At the same time as these announcements, the Minister of Justice clarified the contours, drawn by his predecessor Nicole Belloubet, of the reorganization of justice, including the creation of specialized environmental courts, to deal with these new crimes.
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“In each court of appeal, there will be a specialized court competent both in civil matters, for compensation for damage for example, and in criminal matters,” he said.
“The proposal that will be presented to the deputies is infinitely less ambitious than that carried by the Citizens’ Convention and does not correspond to the international definitions of ecocide”, lamented the director and environmental activist Cyril Dion on Twitter, who however welcomes “an improvement law”.
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Same tone for the ecologist MEP Marie Toussaint, co-founder of the association “Notre affaires à tous”: “The government announces the recognition of the ecocide, but the description of the measures to come, although welcome, does not correspond to the condemnation of this serious crime against nature! “, she reacted on the same network. According to its definition shared by The cross, ecocide “is the partial or total degradation of an ecosystem”.
The Citizen’s Climate Convention was established in October 2019, at the initiative of the Head of State. It brought together 150 citizens drawn by lot with the aim of proposing measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. She offered 149 to Emmanuel Macron, who undertook to take back 146.