Criminal Accountability or Civil Liability: Which Approach Most Effectively Redresses the Negative Environmental Consequences of Armed Conflict?

INTERNATIONAL LAW AND ARMED CONFLICT: CHALLENGES IN THE 21ST CENTURY, pp. 95-114, Noelle Quenivet, Shilan Shah-Davis, eds., T.M.C. Asser Press, 2010

20 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2011 Last revised: 15 Nov 2011

Tara Smith

Law Reform Commission of Ireland; Irish Aid, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Bangor Law School; Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway

Date Written: September 7, 2009

Abstract

This chapter evaluates the feasibility of two potential options for redressing the environmental damage caused during armed conflict. The first possible option leads down the path of criminal sanctions for those people most responsible for causing the environmental damage in the first place. The second choice consists of civil compensation arrangements through which those most affected by the armed conflict may directly repair the environmental damage as quickly as possible. At first blush, this seems like a completely arbitrary distinction to make: what prevents both approaches from working together simultaneously to provide the most comprehensive scheme of redress possible? Quite simply, it is because the relevant civil and criminal provisions, in their current incarnation, are mutually incompatible. As will become evident, to show a preference for criminal sanctions would render civil remedies useless; to first apply civil solutions would completely rule out future recourse to criminal penalties.

Keywords: law of armed conflict, environmental protection, criminal accountability, civil liability, united nations compensation commission

Suggested Citation

Smith, Tara, Criminal Accountability or Civil Liability: Which Approach Most Effectively Redresses the Negative Environmental Consequences of Armed Conflict? (September 7, 2009). INTERNATIONAL LAW AND ARMED CONFLICT: CHALLENGES IN THE 21ST CENTURY, pp. 95-114, Noelle Quenivet, Shilan Shah-Davis, eds., T.M.C. Asser Press, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1957639

Tara Smith (Contact Author)

Law Reform Commission of Ireland ( email )

35-39 Shelbourne Road
Ballsbridge
Dublin, D4
Ireland

Irish Aid, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade ( email )

Limerick City
Ireland

Bangor Law School ( email )

Bangor, Gwynedd, Wales LL57 2DG
United Kingdom

Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway ( email )

Galway
Ireland

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