Europe

ICC prosecutors signal new focus on environmental crimes

International Criminal Court prosecutors have published a policy paper that outlines their priorities in selecting cases and which highlights, among other things, a new focus on illegal destruction or exploitation of the environment.

The 18-page paper published Thursday says the Office of the Prosecutor will "give particular consideration" to prosecuting crimes involving "the destruction of the environment, the illegal exploitation of natural resources or the illegal dispossession of land."

Global Witness, a non-government organization that aims to expose crimes arising from the demand for natural resources, welcomed the policy paper as a landmark shift for the 14-year-old court.

The policy paper says prosecutors also will pay close attention to crimes against children, rape and other sexual crimes, attacks on religious and cultural sites, and crimes targeting peacekeepers.