Water During and After Armed Conflicts

What Protection in International Law?


In The Protection of Water During and After Armed Conflicts: What Protection in International Law?, Mara Tignino offers an analysis of the principles and rules protecting water in situations of armed conflicts. The monograph also gives insights on the legal mechanisms open to individuals and communities after a conflict. Practice of international organizations and judicial decisions are examined in order to define the contours of the norms dealing with armed conflicts and post-conflict situations.

Beyond international humanitarian law, the author suggests that other areas of international law should be taken into account such as human rights law and international water law. This comprehensive view aims at preventing damage to water resources and ensuring access to safe drinking water. Given the fragmentation of instruments and norms dealing with water in times of armed conflicts, it requires an in-depth examination of what means of international law may be developed to ensure a better protection to water.

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Biographical Note

Mara Tignino, Ph.D. (2008), Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, is Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the University of Geneva and Coordinator of the Platform for International Water Law at the Geneva Water Hub. She has published monographs and is editor of books in international water law.

Table of contents

A. The Protection of Water under International Humanitarian Law
I. The Protection of Access to Water
1. The Protection of Objects Indispensable to the Survival of the Civilian Population
2. The Prohibition on Attacking Works and Installations Containing Dangerous Forces
II. Water and Environmental Protection Under International Humanitarian Law
1. The Environment as a Civilian Object
2. The Prohibition on Causing Widespread, Long-Term and Severe Impacts on the Environment in Times of Armed Conflict
III. General Principles of International Humanitarian Law and the Protection of Water Resources
1. The Martens Clause
2. The Principle of Proportionality and the Obligation to Take Precautionary Measures
3. The Principles of Discrimination and Distinction
IV. Strengthening the Protection of Water Resources: International Criminal Law
1. The Statute of the International Criminal Court
2. The Arrest Warrant against President Omar Al Bashir
V. Conclusion
B. The Protection of Water under International Water Law
I. Water Treaties and Armed Conflicts
1. The Role of the International Law Association (ILA) in the Development of Principles on the Protection of Water Resources in Times of Armed Conflict
2. General Principles Applicable to the Effects of Armed Conflicts on Treaties: The Role of the Institute of International Law (IIL) and the International Law Commission (ILC)
II. International Environmental Law and the Protection of Water
1. The Applicability of Instruments Protecting the Environment to Water Resources
2. Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) and Water
3. The Protection Offered by International Customary Law
III. The Practice of International Watercourse Treaties and Armed Conflicts
1. The Specific Solutions Found in International Watercourse Treaties
2. The Normative Impact of International Humanitarian Law on International Water Law
3. The Application of International Watercourse Treaties in Times of Armed Conflict
4. The Danube River and Armed Conflicts
IV. Conclusion
C. The Protection of Water Under Human Rights Law
I. Access to Water in Human Rights Law
1. Normative Content of the Human Right to Water
2. Instruments of International Water Law and the Human Right to Water
3. The Protection of the Human Right to Water in Times of Armed Conflict
II. The Human Right to Water and Protection of the Environment
III. United Nations Investigatory Mechanisms and the Human Right to Water
IV. Conclusion
D. Post-Conflict, Peace-building and Water
I. Humanitarian Aid and Communities Affected by Environmental Damage
II. Humanitarian and Environmental Assistance
III. Disarmament Law and the Obligations of Environmental Clean-Up
IV. Post-Conflict Legal Avenues to Protect the Human Right to Water
V. Conclusion
Perspectives: A Specific Instrument Dedicated to the Protection of Water During and After Armed Conflicts?


Academics, researchers and practitioners concerned with the protection of water during and after armed conflicts. All interested in international water law, international humanitarian law and human rights law.

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