Acts perpetrated during the course of warfare have, through the ages, led to significant environmental destruction. These have included situations where the natural environment and natural resources have intentionally been targeted as a ‘victim’ of warfare. Until recently, such acts were generally regarded as an unfortunate but unavoidable element of armed conflict, despite their potentially disastrous impacts. The existing international rules have largely been ineffective and inappropriate, and have in practical terms done little to deter deliberate environmental destruction, particularly when measured against perceived military advantages. However, as the significance of the environment and the need for access to natural resources have come to be more widely recognised, this is no longer acceptable, particularly given the ongoing development of weapons capable of widespread and significant damage. This chapter discusses the current international legal regime relevant to the intentional destruction of the environment during warfare, and argues that such acts should, in appropriate circumstances, be recognised as an international crime and should be subject to more effective rules giving rise to international criminal responsibility.
|Title of host publication||Natural Resources and International Law – Developments and Challenges|
|Subtitle of host publication||A Liber Amicorum in Honour of Stephan Hobe|
|Editors||Michael Lysander Fremuth, Jorn Griebel, Robert Heinsch|
|Publication status||Published - 16 Dec 2021|