Revitalizing the Antique War Crime of Pillage: The Potential and Pitfalls of Using International Criminal Law to Address Illegal Resource Exploitation During Armed Conflict

36 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2012

See all articles by Larissa van den Herik

Larissa van den Herik

Leiden University

Daniëlla Dam

Leiden University - Leiden Law School

Date Written: January, 22 2012

Abstract

This article explores the potential of international criminal law in 
addressing the problem of illegal exploitation of natural resources in conflict areas, 
with a specific focus on the war crime of pillage and the prospective role of the 
International Criminal Court (ICC). It discusses whether the war crime of pillage can 
adequately capture the phenomenon of illegal exploitation of natural resources 
during armed conflict, or whether alternative tools or crime definitions might be 
more useful to address this negative phenomenon. The article examines the practice 
of international courts in relation to pillage charges and explores their role in 
prosecuting the illegal exploitation of natural resources. It concludes with some 
thoughts on whether the revival of the crime of pillage should be perceived as the 
panacea to the problem of ‘‘resource conflicts’’ or whether it is rather an empty shell.

Keywords: International Law, International Criminal Law, Pillage, Natural Resources, Illegal Exploitation, Armed Conflict, War Crimes

Suggested Citation

van den Herik, Larissa and Dam, Daniëlla, Revitalizing the Antique War Crime of Pillage: The Potential and Pitfalls of Using International Criminal Law to Address Illegal Resource Exploitation During Armed Conflict (January, 22 2012). Criminal Law Forum, Vol. 22, No. 3, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1989827

Larissa Van den Herik (Contact Author)

Leiden University ( email )

Postbus 9500
Leiden, Zuid Holland 2300 RA
Netherlands

Daniëlla Dam

Leiden University - Leiden Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 9520
2300 RA Leiden, NL-2300RA
Netherlands

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