Tag Archives: International Humanitarian Law

Humanitarian Law and the Environment (M. N. Schmitt)

Author(s)

Michael N. Schmitt

Keywords

war crime, environmental damage, environmental degradation, international humanitarian law, environmental consequences of warfare, International Criminal Court, military operations, environmental safeguarding, weapons, treaty law

Excerpt

“Introduction

When the Rome Conference adopted the Statue of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in July 1998, it included as a war crime the causation of “widespread, long term and severe damage to the natural environment.” Such “greening” of international humanitarian law promises heightened sensitivity to the environmental consequences of warfare as we enter the new millennium. The ICC Statue provision, however, is but the most recent example of a growing environmental consciousness vis-a-vis military operations that first began to surface over two decades ago.

This article catalogues those aspects of international humanitarian law that safeguard the environment during armed conflict: it is intended primarily as a primer for those new to the subject. As will become apparent, humanitarian law has focused scant attention directly on the environment. Instead, it relies on conventional and customary humanitarian law that has only recent been recognized as having environmental consequence for the bulk of its environmental play. Following a brief review of the historical context from which the law emerged, discussion turns to four types of relevant norms: 1) specific environmental provisions in humanitarian law; 2) limits on the use of particular weapons capable of causing environmental damage; 3) non-environment specific treaty law which may safeguard the environment in certain circumstances; and 4) customary humanitarian law offering environmental protection. Although the article’s tenor is primarily descriptive, in order to stimulate further reflection, the final section provides an abridged assessment of the applicable normative environment; it suggests that while the environment component of international law governing warfare is not vacuous, there is certainly room for improvement.” (265-6)

Citation

(2000) 28 Denver Journal of International Law and Policy 3 pp. 265-323

Paper

Humanitarian Law and the Environment

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The Contribution of Human Rights as an Additional Perspective on Climate Change Impacts in the Pacific (S. Tully)

Author(s)

Stephen Tully

Keywords

Climate Change, Human Rights, Climate Impacts, United Nations, Pacific Islands, Resettlement, International Humanitarian Law, International Environmental Law, Environmental Refugees

Abstract

The adverse impacts of climate change include temperature variations, lost biodiversity and more frequent extreme weather events. In particular, low-lying Pacific Island countries and territories will be inundated if predicted sea level rises eventuate. These impacts threaten the continued enjoyment by Pacific Islanders of their fundamental human rights. Rising sea levels threatens their personal safety, continued good health, secure access to proper means of subsistence including food and water and the habitability of coastal settlements. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change encourages developed states to adopt measures that mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and financially support adaptation activity undertaken by developing countries. However, several states lack the requisite political will, financial support is inadequate, adaptation measures are limited and small island developing states are becoming increasingly vulnerable. This article provides an overview of climate change impacts within the Pacific region in human rights terms. It argues that the strategy of adaptation, although consistent with the sustainable development agenda, is limited as an effective long-term response to sea level rise. It proposes an international framework that ensures, in the worst-case scenario, that affected individuals are relocated and resettled within other states. It draws upon existing and emergent legal regimes with respect to humanitarian assistance, natural disasters, maritime law concerning search and rescue, internally displaced persons, the environmental refugee concept and the obligations of interstate cooperation arising under international environmental law in the event of transboundary harm. This framework will be most effective if underpinned by the many positive contributions to be made by the paradigm for the protection of human rights.

Citation

(2007) 5 New Zealand Journal of Public International Law 175

Paper

The Contribution of Human Rights as an Additional Perspective on Climate Change Impacts in the Pacific

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Humanitarian Law, Protection of the Environment, and Human Rights (N.A.F. Popovic)

Author(s)

Neil A. F. Popovic

Keywords

Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law, Environmental Destruction, Armed Conflict

Excerpt

Notwithstanding the relevance of international human rights to wartime environmental destruction, the international community tends to deal with war-related environmental harm through the modalities of humanitarian law. Although humanitarian law extensively regulates the conduct of war, that framework has neither proven effective in dealing with the environmental impact of war, nor does it provide remedies for affected people.

This comment proposes that increased accessibility of pertinent procedures, including human rights procedures, could provide useful mechanisms for addressing the environmental impact of armed conflict. Part II of the comment discusses the nature and extent of environmental problems associated with armed conflict. Part III discusses relevant legal principles and their limitations in relieving the environmental toll of war. Part IV presents several proposals for enhancing environmental protection in armed conflict. Part V concludes that it is necessary to expand the traditional scope of procedural and substantive mechanisms in order to ensure effective dealing with the environmental impact of war and the availability of remedies for the affected people.

Citation

(1995-6) 8 Georgetown International Environmental Law Review 67-133

Paper

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