The Status of Western Sahara as Occupied Territory Under International Humanitarian Law and the Exploitation of Natural Resources
Global Change, Peace and Security, Vol. 27, No. 3, pp. 301-322, 2015
33 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2015 Last revised: 31 Mar 2016
Date Written: September 22, 2015
Much of the international legal analysis of dealings in natural resources in Western Sahara has focused on its status as a Non-Self-Governing Territory, as well as the right of self-determination of the Sahrawi people. Surprisingly overlooked in the legal debates is a close examination of the application of the international law of occupation under international humanitarian law (IHL). This article considers whether and why Western Sahara is ‘occupied territory’ under IHL, discussing some of the unique peculiarities that complicate the legal answer. It then considers issues of state responsibility and individual criminal liability under international law for unlawful dealings with natural resources in Western Sahara by Moroccan and foreign companies.
Keywords: Western Sahara, natural resources, international humanitarian law, law of occupation, war crimes, pillage
JEL Classification: K10, K30, K32, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation