The Protection of the Natural Environment in Armed Conflict – Existing Rules and Need for Further Legal Protection

in Nordic Journal of International Law
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Considerable research has been conducted, particularly since the Iraq-Kuwait war of 1991, on the legal protection of the environment in armed conflicts. Much of this research has focused either on the specific protections provided in international humanitarian law (IHL), or on the applicability of international environmental law to situations of armed conflict. Rather than focusing on these specific provisions, this article seeks to examine the general protections under IHL, in particular the characterisation of the natural environment as a civilian object and the legal protection flowing from this characterisation – namely the general rules on the conduct of hostilities. After addressing these general rules, it briefly recalls some other relevant provisions of IHL before turning to possible avenues to strengthen the legal protection of the environment in armed conflict by clarifying or further developing IHL in this respect, taking into account the protection provided by international human rights law and international environmental law.

The Protection of the Natural Environment in Armed Conflict – Existing Rules and Need for Further Legal Protection

in Nordic Journal of International Law

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References

22)

GA Resolution 47/37supra note 6 para. 55.

23)

Statement quoted in C. Hedges‘Serbian Town Bombed by NATO Fears Effects of Toxic Chemicals’New York Times14 July 1999. For further statements by States see ICRC Customary Law Study supra note 13 pp. 848 et seq.

24)

Article 52(1) AP Isupra note 11; Rule 9 of the ICRC Customary Law Study supra note 13.

29)

UNEP Report 2009supra note 12 p. 13.

32)

Article 51(5)(b) AP Isupra note 11; Rules 14 43(C) of the ICRC Customary Law Studysupra note 13.

35)

Hulmesupra note 9 p. 188.

37)

UNEP Report 2009supra note 12 p. 23; see also UN General Assembly Resolution 61/194 of 20 December 2006 UN Doc. A/RES/61/194 paras. 1–3; and Resolution 62/188 of 19 December 2007 UN Doc. A/RES/62/188 paras. 1–4.

43)

Articles 35(3) and 55(1) AP Isupra note 11; Rule 45 of the ICRC Customary Law Study supra note 13.

48)

Hulmesupra note 15 p. 690.

50)

Article 57(2)(a)(i) AP Isupra note 11; Rule 16 of the ICRC Customary Law Studysupra note13.

51)

Article 57(1) AP Isupra note 11; Rule 15 of the ICRC Customary Law Studysupra note 13.

57)

Article 57(2)(a)(ii) AP Isupra note 11; Rules 17 44 of the ICRC Customary Law Studysupra note 13.

58)

Article 57(3) AP Isupra note 11; Rule 21 of the ICRC Customary Law Studysupra note 13.

70)

Vönekysupra note 26 p. 30; Roberts supra note 12 p. 57.

72)

Boothbysupra note 12 p. 97.

85)

Stockholm Declarationsupra note 3 Principle 26. See also Principle 21.

86)

World Charter for Naturesupra note 3 para. 5.

87)

Rio Declarationsupra note 5 Principle 24.

88)

GA Resolution 47/37supra note 6.

94)

Apr. 10 197226 U.S.T. 583 1015 U.N.T.S. 163 entered into force 25 March 1975. See also Rule 73 of the ICRC Customary Law Studysupra note 13.

102)

UNEP Report 2009supra note 12 p. 54.

103)

The Hague 26 March 19992253 U.N.T.S. 212 entered into force 9 March 2004.

105)

Paris 16 November 19721037 U.N.T.S. 151.

110)

Article 3 of Hague Convention IVsupra note 79; Article 91 AP I supra note 11; Case Concerning the Factory at Chorzów (Merits) PCIJ 1928; Article 31 of the ILC’s Draft Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts November 2001 Supplement No. 10 (A/56/10) chp.IV.E.1 available at: <www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/3ddb8f804.html> visited 1 November 2012.

112)

UNEP Report 2009supra note 12 p. 28.

117)

 See UNEP Report 2009supra note 12 at 34–47. For example Article XIX (I) of the Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea by Oil London 12 May 1964 provides that “[i]n case of war or other hostilities a Contracting Government which considers that it is affected whether as a belligerent or as a neutral may suspend the operation of the whole or any part of the present Convention in respect of all or any of its territories. The suspending Government shall immediately give notice of any such suspension to the Bureau.”

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