Peru to Launch First Environmental Court in April 2018

On April 1, 2018, Peru will launch its first specialized environmental court, or juzgado ambiental. The new court is located in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon, in the city of Puerto Maldonado, and will have jurisdiction over criminal, administrative, and constitutional cases involving the environment throughout the Madre de Dios Judicial District.

Peru first specialized environmental court

Peru will launch its first specialized environmental court, or juzgado ambiental, building on it's recent efforts to bolster the environmental rule of law, particularly in response to illegal mining, deforestation, environmental degradation, and illicit trade in wildlife, mining equipment, and hazardous waste. In November 2017, Peru’s Judiciary held a prominent International Congress on Environmental Justice in Puerto Maldonado—the event included judges Peru, Brazil, and Chile, as well as legislators, public officials, and environmental law experts from throughout the region. At the meeting, judges, prosecutors, and the Ministry of Environment signed the Madre de Dios Pact for Environmental Justice in Peru.

An article in Mongabay in February noted that the new court already has a backlog of important cases: the Madre de Dios Judicial District has nearly 3,000 active environmental complaints. Most of these cases involve illegal mining operations or deforestation.

Peru’s Constitution provides that each person has a fundamental right to “enjoy a balanced environment” that can support human development. It also places a duty on the government to promote “sustainable development in the Amazon” and the “conservation of biological diversity and protected natural areas.”

The official resolution establishing the environmental court is available here.

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