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Call for papers


Workshop on “Interdisciplinary Explorations of Ecocide in Times of War and Peace”

28th June 2024

University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Cornwall, UK

The Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Cornwall, in the University of Exeter and the Exeter Centre for Environmental Law invite you to a one-day workshop to explore the variety of socio- political, economic and legal dimensions of ecocide, especially as they relate to environmental justice claims.

The crime of “Ecocide” has gained considerable attention in recent years, to hold accountable perpetrators of widespread environmental damage and destruction. Its four-decade long history has emerged at the intersection of environmental law and social justice movements that seek to – through criminalisation of environmental harm – enforce a judicial mechanism that has goals for present and future generations with respect to different environmental habitats. Moreover, such a recognition of the crime of ecocide, helps shift the predominant anthropocentric view of the environment – from one that prioritises human lives to a more ecological view focused on the integrity of social relations that are dependent on different ecological systems. Here, ecocide emerges both as a mechanism to protect systems of life that are distinct from modern industrial living, as well as mode towards sustainable living in an environment of climate precarity. As such, it has become a strong register for articulating decolonizing narratives within international law.1

While a few countries have legal mechanisms within domestic jurisdictions that address harms caused by destruction of ecosystems, they have not been successful in holding accountable perpetrators in transnational settings. Inclusion of ecocide within international law through the amendment of Rome Statute could go a long way in furthering this cause. As Rosemary Mwanza writes, “such, adoption of the crime as an international norm would not only entail amendments to the substantive provisions of the Rome Statute, but also necessitate the introduction of foundational values that differ from those that ground international law generally and international criminal law in particular.”2

Recent events in various places in the world show that ecocide can happen in times of peace and war. The present workshop intends to bring together a range of international academics and activists to the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus, in Cornwall, to discuss the concept, challenges of and cases of ecocide around the world. We are particularly interested in approaches to ecocide that looks at the crime through humanities and social sciences lenses prioritising historical and contemporary work on environmental and social justice movements, and the socio-political dimensions arising out of it.

Themes indicated below are only suggestions, and we are welcome to more ideas and thoughts:

  • Concepts and Definitions of Ecocide – History and Different perspectives, particularly those fashioned out of social and environmental justice movements.
  • Legal Mechanisms addressing the incorporation of ecocide in international law, through the Rome Statute.
  • Role of non-governmental actors, such as environmental NGOs working on ecocide
  • Ecocide as a deterrent and as a mechanism for redistributive justice.
  • Intersections of ecocide and the human rights framework.
  • Challenges associated with the enforcement of the crime of ecocide.
  • Role of war crimes on environmental damages.
  • The notion of slow violence in relation to ecocide.

The event is co-organised by the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Cornwall’s Environmental Justice Research Centre and Exeter Centre for Environmental Law. It will be hosted by the Environment and Sustainability Institute.

We invite the submission of 250-300 word abstracts on the theme of the conference from scholars, lawyers, and practitioners who are working within Law, Humanities and/or Social Sciences. Doctoral candidates and early career researchers are especially welcome to apply.

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 31st March 2023 at 23:59 GMT. Authors of accepted abstracts will be invited to present a more developed paper at the workshop. We plan to publish an edited volume, or special issue of a journal, with the contributions. We will let you know the outcome of acceptance within 15 days from the day of submission. Please use the email to submit your abstracts as well as for any other queries and questions.

The workshop will have a registration fee of £30 and will be free for doctoral candidates. We are unable to offer any contribution towards travel and accommodation. Lunch and refreshments will be provided to all registrants on the day of the workshop


1 Lindgren, T., 2018. Ecocide, genocide and the disregard of alternative life-systems. The International Journal of Human Rights, 22(4), pp.525-549.
2 Mwanza, R., 2018. Enhancing accountability for environmental damage under international law: Ecocide as a legal fulfilment of ecological integrity. Melbourne Journal of International Law, 19(2), pp.588-589.