The breach of the Paris agreement a “crime against humanity”?
By Alexandre Marraud des Grottes
It is a message of unprecedented violence that is sent to millions of men, women and children who every year, because of the consequences of climate change, are forced to leave their territory. It is a message of unprecedented violence to the families of millions of people who die every year from pollution caused by the use of fossil fuels. It is a message of unprecedented violence to future generations
” Said Nicolas Hulot , Minister of Ecological Transition, on June 2 in reaction to the withdrawal of the United States the day before the Paris agreement . It was one of the promises made by Donald Trump during his campaign.
ARTICLE 28 OF THE PARIS AGREEMENT
However, it must be recognized that legally, the United States will have to wait at least four years before it can effectively withdraw from the agreement. Article 28 states in points 1 and 2 that:
- On the expiry of three years from the date of entry into force of this Agreement in respect of a Party, that Party may at any time denounce it by written notification to the Depositary.
- Such denunciation shall take effect on the expiry of a period of one year from the date of receipt by the Depositary of such notification or on such later date as may be specified in such notification .
In this case, the United States signed the Paris Agreement on 22 April 2016 and ratified on 3 September 2016. The United States will therefore be able to withdraw from the Agreement only from 4 October 2019, The effective exit can not take place until 4 October 2020.
Donald Trump’s term of office is scheduled to expire on January 20, 2021. The latter will therefore always be at the head of the United States at the time the denunciation of the agreement can be made.
TRUMP MAY BE CHALLENGED
However, over the next four years, political (inter) national or social movements can arise that could weaken the ambitions of the American president in this matter.
That being said, another question – semantic this time – always about this potential withdrawal, aroused the interest of the media and the political class.
DONALD TRUMP “WILL BE GUILTY OF CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY”
Not yet a minister, Nicolas Hulot, as president of the Foundation for Nature and Man, reacted at the end of March 2017 for the signature by the US President of a decree ordering a review of the flagship measure Its predecessor, Barack Obama, on the climate that imposed reductions in CO2 emissions from thermal power plants . According to Nicolas Hulot, this consisted in a “true arm of honor … made to our children (…) It is the worst news that could be expected … If one day the notion of ecocide is recognized in International law, Donald Trump will be guilty of crimes against humanity. “
Of course, this notion of ecocide does not exist, but is it relevant to invoke a category of crime with an aura as fatal as that of a crime against humanity in order to express its disagreement with the Environmental policy of the US president?
A NOTION OF CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY THAT DOES NOT REACH CONSENSUS
After a semantic and legal study on the subject, I realized that the notion of crime against humanity was very precise and decided that the definition of this particular crime fluctuated according to international normative texts and legal dictionaries, Remains subject to interpretation. In other words, there does not appear to be a definition agreed by all sovereign States.
Indeed, if one examines the text under which this category of crime was created (ie the statutes of the Nuremberg Tribunal of 1945, Article 6c), the crime against humanity consists of ” murder, Extermination, enslavement, deportation, and any other inhumane acts committed against all civilian populations before or during the war, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, when such acts or persecutions, Whether or not they constituted a violation of the internal law of the country in which they were committed, were committed as a result of any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal or in connection therewith.
Leaders, organizers, provocateurs or accomplices who have participated in the development or execution of a concerted plan or conspiracy to commit any of the above crimes are responsible for all acts performed By all persons in execution of this plan. “
However, it is very specific because it is linked to the exactions committed during the Second World War, the definition has been reworked, to facilitate its qualification in a post-45 context.
Thus, the Dictionary of legal culture defines crime against humanity as a “deliberate and ignominious violation of the fundamental rights of an individual or a group of individuals inspired by political, philosophical, racial or religious motives “ .
The explication of the expression “fundamental right” – ie the whole of the primordial subjective rights of the individual insured by the rule of law – necessarily entails, in France at all events, the allusion to the Charter of the 2004 annexed to the Constitutional Block in 2005.
CHARTER AND FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS
At the end of this appendix, the ten articles of the Charter have constitutional value and are de facto integrated into the category of fundamental rights of the individual. For example, the first three articles provide that:
Art. 1. – Everyone has the right to live in a balanced and respectful of health.
Art. 2. Everyone has the duty to take part in the preservation and improvement of the environment.
Art. 3. – Every person shall, under the conditions laid down by law, prevent any damage to the environment or, failing that, limit its consequences.
Consequently, at the end of this second meaning of the notion of “crime against humanity”, Nicolas Hulot’s comment on Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Convention can be considered As relevant.
On the other hand, considering the definition of the Statute of the International Criminal Court of 17 July 1998 (Article 7), for the purposes of the present Statute, a crime against humanity means any of the following acts It is committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population and in knowledge of this attack:
- A) Murder
- B) Extermination
- (C) Reduction in enslavement
- (D) Forcible deportation or forcible transfer
- (E) Imprisonment or other form of serious deprivation of physical liberty contrary to the fundamental provisions of international law
- (F) Torture
- (G) Rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, forced pregnancy, forced sterilization or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity
- (H) Persecution of any group or community identifiable on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious or sexist grounds within the meaning of paragraph 3, or on the basis of other criteria universally recognized as inadmissible under international law , Correlated with any act referred to in this paragraph or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court
- (I) Enforced disappearances of persons
- (J) The Crime of Apartheid
- (K) Other inhuman acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering or serious injury to physical integrity or to physical or mental health.
DISPROPORTIONATE COMMENT BY NICOLAS HULOT
It would seem that, through the prism of this definition, Mr. Hulot’s comment was disproportionate. That said, this definition is controversial, particularly with regard to article 7 (k), which refers to other inhuman acts of an intentionally similar nature to great suffering or serious injury to body or health Physical or mental . The legal qualification here is much more difficult to characterize. This is done through the jurisprudence of the International Criminal Court.
But in this case it does not seem exorbitant to suggest that the start of a process of accelerated pollution of the planet following the exit of the Paris agreement under the impulse of Donald Trump A time when three million people die each year from pollution in the world (air pollution is the fourth factor leading to premature death worldwide), or contract at least cancer, mutation, etc. ; Where scientists from the Global Footprint Network explained that by August 8, 2016, the world’s annual ecological capacities were outdated, and that from this day on, Humanity lived on its reserves – could be qualified, assuming Where the process would be concretely embodied as a crime against humanity.
In other words, the expression “crime against humanity” is not fixed, so that, ultimately, Mr. Hulot could have used it – according to the definition envisaged – wisely, or at most will have He argued on a fuzzy legal qualification which, to some extent, could be fully understood.