Tag Archives: treaty 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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Applying Human Rights Norms to Climate Change: The Elusive Remedy (P. Stephens)

Author

Pamela Stephens

Keywords

climate change, human rights, international human rights, jurisdiction, current and future generations, treaty law, customary international law, SU national courts, Alien Tort Statute

Excerpt

I. Introduction
 
Much has been written about the growing impact of Global Climate Change on human rights as diverse as life, health, property and culture. 2 This article addresses the broad question of the extent to which international human rights norms may be asserted to protect current and future generations from the effects of global climate change. Part II of the article will consider potentially applicable norms in both treaty law and customary international law. Part III will explore the procedures for asserting these rights in the United States’ national courts and the substantive and procedural hurdles for doing so. The principal focus of this exploration will be claims in federal court under the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”) 3 and under the general federal question statutory grant. 4 The possibility of raising these international human rights norms in state courts will also be considered. Finally, Part IV will discuss raising such claims in a regional or international forum, in particular the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (“IACHR”), addressing again the substantive and procedural hurdles for doing so.

The article concludes that while such claims may not be entirely foreclosed, they are unlikely to succeed until the international norms are clearer and more universally accepted. Standing and other justiciability issues will prove difficult to overcome in some of these cases; however, the main obstacles to overcome will be subject matter jurisdiction, the related issue of failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted in national courts, …

Citation

(2010) 21 Colorado Journal of International Environmental Law and Policy 49

Paper

Applying Human Rights Norms to Climate Change: The Elusive Remedy

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