Ecocide as an International Crime: The Case of the Chilean Constituent Process

This paper analyzes the incorporation of the concept of ecocide in the constituent initiatives being discussed in Chile’s Constitutional Assembly. I will start with some thoughts on the (non-existent) treatment of the environment in the 1980 Constitution, and the concerns of the eco-constituents in the Convention. Specifically, I will review efforts to incorporate the definition of ecocide developed by the “Independent Expert Panel for the Legal Definition of Ecocide” as a proposal that could contribute to an amendment to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. I will review these proposals, their strengths, and weaknesses considering the Chilean constituent process and the treatment of other international crimes in the constitutional draft. The paper ends by warning that even if ecocide as a juridical concept is accepted, the justice system is not the only, nor even the best, domestic or international way to deal with the climate crisis.