Mechanisms of Prosecuting Environmental Crimes

By: G. Tong


The right to a healthy environment is a human right. However, without remedies for its abuse the right to a healthy environment does not exist. Therefore, modern countries construct a series of remedies. Environmental crimes are the most serious infringements of environmental rights. As the protection of human rights develops, many countries and districts around the world want to make stricter policies for prosecuting environmental crimes, such as lowering the standard of conviction, aggravating punishment, as well as limiting the use of non-prosecution. Traditionally Asian countries and districts have not payed enough attention to environment protection, and the mechanisms for prosecuting such crimes is not well founded. However, the mechanisms of prosecuting environmental crimes is changing a lot in recent years. Asian countries and districts are strengthening the legal protection of environment rights. These changes also influence the system of protection of human rights.

In this article, I choose one country and one district, the People’s Republic of China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. China is the biggest developing nation which faces serious environmental problems, and Hong Kong is a small and developed district which uses a more legalistic method of solving environmental pollution. In order to analyze the changes of prosecution policies, this article will be divided into two parts. The first part is on the prosecution policies of environmental crimes, specifically whether the prosecution policies change and how the changes happened. The second part is the reason why such changes happened, especially the relationship between changes of policies and human rights protection.

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