London, Paris, 16 March 2021 — A decision by the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor concerning allegations of crimes against humanity stemming from the land grabbing frenzy is expected by June this year, FIDH, Global Witness, and Climate Counsel have learned.
A photo of Sinanoukville, Cambodia, taken from the sky.
In a letter sent today by FIDH, Global Witness, and Climate Counsel to ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, the three organizations expressed their support for pursuing an ICC examination into the situation in Cambodia. The letter has been endorsed by UN Expert bodies, civil society organizations and senior lawyers worldwide.
“Serious crimes caused by land grabbing have occurred with impunity for more than two decades in Cambodia. The International Criminal Court represents the best channel to deliver justice to the thousands of victims of these crimes,” said FIDH Vice-President Guissou Jahangiri.
“Land grabbing and the associated mass crimes lead to illegal resource exploitation, persecution of indigenous people, and environmental destruction. The Cambodia case is the best and last chance for this ICC Prosecutor to show that she is willing to play a role in fighting the climate and environmental emergency. Slamming the brakes on illegal land grabbing will force governments and businesses to reconsider their kleptocratic policies,” commented Richard J Rogers, Founding Partner of Global Diligence and Executive Director of Climate Counsel.
In October 2014 Richard J Rogers of Global Diligence LLP, with the support of FIDH and Global Witness, filed a communication to the ICC Prosecutor alleging that the widespread and systematic land grabbing perpetrated by the Cambodian ruling elite for over a decade amounted to a crime against humanity. In July 2015, a supplementary communication provided additional evidence and demonstrated how the land grabbing had a disproportionate impact on women.
Patrick Alley, Co-Founder of Global Witness, concluded: “Cambodia’s corrupt elite have grown rich by selling off the country’s natural heritage at a crippling cost to the people whose way of life depends on it, and to the natural environment. It is time the ICC ended the impunity that has enabled these crimes, and sets a marker that they are willing to play an important part in tackling the climate crisis.”