Protecting the Amazon: A Challenge for International Criminal Law

In another session of the Ronda Amazónica Talk Series, Professor Ignacio Berdugo Gómez de la Torre will give a talk titled ‘Protecting the Amazon: A Challenge for International Criminal Law’.

The size of the Amazon, its extension over nine different countries, its biological diversity, its indigenous peoples and their special relationship with nature, constitute a necessary starting point for any political and legal reflection on the future, on preserving it, colliding with the frequent excessive exploitation of its natural resources. An exploitation that represents a global risk that transcends national borders.

Considering the recourse to criminal law in the face of global risks leads us to the domain of International Criminal Law, which requires us to face the difficulties posed in this context by the target of protection, the environment, the difficulty of measuring its possible damage, an anthropocentric or ecocentric approach, the application of administrative law etc.

It is within this general framework that a new international crime, the ecocide, proposed by part of the criminal doctrine, must be considered, which requires a particularly complex debate on its content and its enforcement, as it raises problems both of authorship and of not only the nature of the penalties but also of the need to deal with restorative justice.

The talk will be held in Spanish.

Ignacio Berdugo Gómez de la Torre is a distinguished legal scholar and Professor Emeritus at the University of Salamanca (Spain), where he was appointed full Professor in 1986. Beyond national borders, he has enriched his expertise as a visiting professor at various Latin American universities. Berdugo’s international commitment also includes consulting with non-governmental organisations in Chile and contributing to the reform of the penal systems in Costa Rica and El Salvador. His close ties to Latin America resulted, among other things, in the Center for Brazilian Studies he founded at the University of Salamanca. His dedication to legal scholarship is underlined by his membership of the drafting committee of the new Spanish Penal Code in 1990, for which he was awarded the Cruz de Honor de San Raimundo de Peñafort in 1992. He is the author of several monographs and dozens of articles on various subjects related to criminal law.

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