The Case of Chevron in Ecuador: The Need for an International Crime Against the Environment?
Vrije Universiteit van Amsterdam, NL
Audrey Crasson holds a Master’s Degree in International Crimes and Criminology from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, as well as a Master’s Degree in Civil and Criminal Law and a Law Degree from Université Catholique de Louvain. She recently completed a thesis on the prospects for prosecuting environmental damage at the International Criminal Court.
This article discusses the necessity for the establishment of an international environmental crime. There is a growing feeling of impunity regarding serious environmental damage resulting from corporate activity. As a response, numerous scholars and lawyers advocate for the recognition of an international crime against environment. By analysing the environmental and health consequences of Chevron’s oil activity in Ecuador and the subsequent legal battle, this article highlights the imbalances that exist between multinational corporations (MNCs), states, and individuals regarding access to justice and remedies, and shows how the international legal framework could be described as ‘corporate-friendly’ when it comes to serious environmental damages. It then offers an overview of the opportunities and arguments in favour of a separate international crime.