Protection of the Natural Environment
D. Akande & B. Saul (eds.), Oxford Guide to International Humanitarian Law (Oxford University Press, 2019 Forthcoming)
54 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2019
Date Written: April 2017
International Humanitarian Law (IHL) establishes limitations on warfare to protect the natural environment from extremely serious damage and to prevent unnecessary or wanton harm. IHL protection of the environment developed from the principle of protection of civilians, and it has similar motives and goals. This chapter describes a legal regime that is undergoing development. Protection of the environment during armed conflict as a specific legal obligation is a sufficiently recent international norm that its status as binding law has been more contested than early humanitarian commitments like neutrality of medical personnel. This reflects the tension between recognition of the importance of ecological integrity to peace and the interests of States in retaining freedom in their conduct of military operations.The continuing development of international law in many specialised areas means that legal advisers will be obliged to regularly review the continuing application of the UN Charter, international security law, IHL, international criminal law, human rights law, international environmental law, international economic law, and other bodies of international law. These bodies of law must be taken into account as they may constitute binding legal obligations, norms informing special rules effective during armed conflict as stated in the Law of Armed Conflict, international standards, non-binding norms, guidelines and/or state practice, including practice integrated into rules of engagement, status of forces agreements, and military manuals, handbooks and training guides.
Keywords: United Nations Compensation Commission, UNCC, liability for environmental damages, compensation (law), war, Indemnisation
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