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

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 15/81

33 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2015 Last revised: 31 Mar 2016

See all articles by Ben Saul

Ben Saul

The University of Sydney Law School

Date Written: September 22, 2015

Abstract

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

Saul, Ben, The Status of Western Sahara as Occupied Territory Under International Humanitarian Law and the Exploitation of Natural Resources (September 22, 2015). Global Change, Peace and Security, Vol. 27, No. 3, pp. 301-322, 2015; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 15/81. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2663843

Ben Saul (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://https://sydney.edu.au/law/about/people/profiles/ben.saul.php

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