Prosecution of Wartime Environmental Damage by Non-State Parties at the International Criminal Court

Jessica Schaffer

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Abstract

This article presents a novel way of prosecuting wartime environmental damage committed by non-state parties to the
Rome Statute at the International Criminal Court. The current
legal framework applicable during armed conflicts has many
gaps and weaknesses, leaving the environment as a silent victim. The stringent threshold that must be met before environmental damage is prohibited under international humanitarian law has failed to offer any real protection, particularly in non-international armed conflicts, despite their growing prevalence. Furthermore, destruction of the environment has not materialised as a distinct crime in international law; rather, it is treated as a material element or underlying act of other crimes in the Rome Statute. Where states involved in armed conflicts are not party to the Rome Statute, individuals can seemingly enjoy impunity for serious environmental harm arising during the conflict. This article will illustrate how individuals from non-state parties could face criminal responsibility for environmental crimes where one
element of the crime, namely environmental damage, is
committed on the territory of a state party. This offers a novel,
albeit limited route for addressing the gaps in the current law.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-164
Number of pages14
JournalBond Law Review
Volume32
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes

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