Not Your Dumping Ground: Criminalization of Trafficking in Hazardous Waste in Africa

42 Pages Posted: 1 May 2018 Last revised: 22 May 2018

Date Written: April 12, 2018

Abstract

This Article examines how the African Union’s adoption of the Malabo Protocol seeks to improve upon the limitations of the international legal framework for regulating hazardous waste. The Malabo Protocol criminalizes trafficking in hazardous waste and envisions a regional forum for such prosecutions, which presents an opportunity for African states to alter the status quo in environmental protection. This Article examines how the troubling history of toxic colonialism in Africa helped to inform the attempt to criminalize the trafficking of hazardous waste and create a forum under the Malabo Protocol for combating dirty dumping.

This Article explores how the inadequate international legal framework for regulating hazardous waste led to the attempt to create a more robust regional regime under the Bamako Convention, with the Malabo Protocol serving as the vehicle for regional enforcement. It evaluates whether the Protocol furthers the punitive objectives of the Bamako regime to punish and deter trafficking in hazardous waste. It does this by analyzing whether the regional prosecution of dirty dumping is consistent with the newer theories of punishment, as well as some of the more traditional goals of punishment.

This Article also analyzes the implications of the regional prosecution of dirty dumping under the Malabo Protocol. It assesses the potential challenges that might arise in the attempt to regionally prosecute trafficking in hazardous waste and suggests ways these issues can be resolved through creative interpretation of the Malabo Protocol. Lastly, this Article concludes that the Malabo Protocol’s provision for a regional forum for the prosecutions of traffickers of hazardous waste presents another venue for African states whose domestic judiciaries and related institutions may have limited resources. If implemented, the Protocol could facilitate closing the global impunity gap for dirty dumping in Africa.

Keywords: Public International Law, International Human Rights Law, International Criminal Law, Malabo Protocol, International Environmental Law, Bamako Convention, Toxic Colonialism, Accountability, Basel Convention, Environmental Justice, Trafficking in Hazardous Waste, Dirty Dumping, Toxic Dumping, TWAIL

Suggested Citation

Sirleaf, Matiangai V. S., Not Your Dumping Ground: Criminalization of Trafficking in Hazardous Waste in Africa (April 12, 2018). Wisconsin International Law Journal, Vol. 35, No. 2, 2018; U. of Pittsburgh Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2018-10. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3161739

Matiangai V. S. Sirleaf (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh - School of Law ( email )

3900 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States
412-648-1364 (Phone)

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