An Open Letter to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley

[email protected]
26th October 2023

Dear Sir Mark Rowley,

Just Stop Oil supporters will remain in civil resistance until you prosecute the criminals responsible for crimes against humanity and acts of genocide

The facts are clear. New oil and gas licensing in 2023 will kill hundreds of millions of people, adding to the already mounting global death toll from climate breakdown. It will push our climate, oceans and the living world beyond the point of no return, triggering runaway global heating and setting in motion an unstoppable process of global societal collapse. To know these facts and still encourage drilling for UK new oil and gas is reckless and immoral. There can be no greater crime. 

Of course, the politicians planning to max out the UK’s oil and gas reserves are not directly seeking mass death, neither are those executives signing off on plans to drill for new oil and gas or finance and insure new oil exploration. The primary aim of their support for fossil fuels is profit and power. To them, it’s an inconvenient side effect that millions and eventually billions of people will die when carbon emissions from new oil and gas cause heat waves, drought and crop failure.

But under International Criminal Law, this is no mere side effect: it is murder by oblique intent. Under Article 30 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, death or harm doesn’t have to be a primary intention for someone to be held criminally responsible. They simply have to be ‘aware that it will occur in the ordinary course of events’.

Since 2021 when the International Energy Agency (“IEA”) declared that there could be no new oil, gas or coal if we want an even chance of limiting global temperature rise in line with the Paris Agreement, it has been abundantly clear that new oil and gas will lead to mass death. 

In 2022 you received a dossier of evidence requesting you investigate and charge five top British politicians for crimes against humanity and genocide. You have declined to do so.

We say to you now that you already have all the evidence you need to prosecute those politicians and to launch an investigation into those executives signing off on plans to drill for new oil and gas or to finance and insure new oil exploration. If you are uncertain who they are, Just Stop Oil will be publishing a list on Sunday 29th October to assist in your enquiries.

Failure to act will force Just Stop Oil into full non-compliance with the police and judicial system and we will remain in civil resistance until such time as you launch an investigation and bring charges.  

As Metropolitan Police Commissioner you promised to police “without favour or prejudice”. We are asking you now to uphold your oath and uphold the law: it is a matter of life and death.

Respectfully yours,

Just Stop Oil