Published on 4th May 2019 by

Original tile: The Earth’s Lawyer
Our world knows four international crimes: war crimes, genocide, torture and crimes against humanity. Spanish examining magistrate Baltasar Garzón and Scottish lawyer Polly Higgins believe that this list of serious violations of international law should be expanded with a fifth: ecocide. Will Higgins and Garzón eventually succeed in gaining enough support to get recognition for ecocide?

Scottish Polly Higgins was laughed at when she first proclaimed that the Earth needs a lawyer. That those who cause ecological destruction should be held accountable, and therefore be sued, summoned and punished. Originally a trial lawyer, Higgins now entirely devotes her life and work to the Earth, as a legal eco-activist. Since 2011, she has been leading the international movement against ecocide. This is the large-scale destruction of our ecosystems.

VPRO Backlight follows Polly Higgins and her ‘earth guardians’ on their missions throughout 2015, a year that, more than any other year, offers a ‘window of opportunity’. Including Baltasar Garzón (jurist), Michael Baumgartner (campaign manager Greenpeace Switzerland), Bronwyn Lay (environmental lawyer, Australia).

Originally broadcasted by VPRO in 2015.
© VPRO Backlight November 2015

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Credits:
Director: Kees Brouwer
Research: William de Bruijn / Gijs Meijer Swantee / Henneke Hagen
Producer: Jeroen Beumer / Helen Goossens
Commissioning editors: Marije Meerman / Doke Romeijn
English, French and Spanish subtitles: Ericsson.
French and Spanish subtitles are co-funded by European Union.

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