Ecocide, Environmental Crimes and Political Responsibilities

Arturo Yañez writes in El Dia, pictures from the internet:

Although keyboards are being spent on the subject, it is impossible to skip addressing it. We Bolivians are very emptied with the environmental disaster of our Chiquitanía: more than 500 thousand hectares destroyed, families, flora and fauna devastated. The reaction of the regime – arrogant and late where it is seen – aggravates our feeling, added to the feeling of helplessness and of course, outrage at what happened (I hope, write in the past, be appropriate).

Multiple have been our reactions, solidarity among them, the fabulous heroism of the firefighters – many volunteers – the hope that even if it is late, the supertanker can help effectively to put out the fires and, a growing current arises to demand the establishment of political responsibilities and penalties.

Ecocide is the extensive destruction or loss of ecosystems, usually deliberate and massive, whether by human means or other causes, resulting in the existence of inhabitants, flora and fauna of that territory, severely threatened. Although it was about to be included in the crimes against humanity in the Rome Statute, it was not achieved, pointing out that it would be equivalent to criminalize the whole of the human race …

In Bolivia, our criminal legislation describes, based on Law No. 1333 on the Environment (March 1992) and others related to environmental crimes, noting, among other provisions, that when a public servant is an author, a cover-up complicit in these faults and provisions related, will suffer twice the penalty set for the corresponding conduct. Can criminal responsibility be attributed to the regime’s leaders for the disaster? They are sent to your D.S. No. 3973 of July 9, 2019, which authorized “controlled burning” in the area, promulgated in the midst of the trout binomial, noting that you have to click no more because otherwise they do not eat: “What are they going to do, to live? he [evo] asked.

Will it be enough to establish criminal responsibilities? (Assuming that in the current state there would be some judge or prosecutor – independent and objective – to do so …) I am not in a position to deny or affirm it even though considering that the CP teaches that guilt and not the result is the limit of the penalty; that in the case of crimes by result they will be understood as committed by omission when not having avoided them, for the infringement of a special legal duty of the author who places him in the position of guarantor, amounts, according to the meaning of the law, to his cause and even that an accomplice is the one who painfully facilitates or cooperates in the execution of the fraudulent unlawful act, in such a way that even without that help it would have been committed; but if I maintain that his political responsibilities are already, evident and should be executed in the coming elections.

The Inter American Court of Human Rights in its Advisory Opinion No. 23/17 precisely on Environment and Human Rights obliges states to prevent significant environmental damage within or outside their territory, avoiding causing cross-border damage; they must also regulate, supervise and oversee the activities under their jurisdiction that can cause significant damage to the environment (DS No. 3973) and act in accordance with the precautionary principle, to protect the right to life and personal integrity, against possible serious damage or irreversible to it, even in the absence of scientific certainty. Did the regime do it or did prefer to continue to push their campaign, anyway in favor of their illegitimate binomial? For this purpose, DICKENS advises us: “Do not judge anything by its appearance, but by the evidence. There is no better rule.”,-Delitos-Ambientales-Y-Responsabilidades-Politicas&cat=162&pla=3&id_articulo=285381


Published by Bolivian Thoughts

Senior managerial experience on sustainable development projects.

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