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  • Author: Ammar Bustami, Marie-Christine Hecken
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Institution: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: This article draws attention to the need of a reform of the environmental protection by means of international criminal law as enshrined in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. After giving a short overview of the contemporary environmental protection in war- and peacetime offered by international criminal law, it becomes clear that international criminal law fails to succeed at offering sufficient environmental protection. This paper outlines that there is no convincing reason for a differentiated approach in international criminal law to environmental damage in wartime and in peacetime, and that a shift from an anthropocentric to an ecocentric approach would positively contribute to a more effective protection of the environment. It is therefore argued for the introduction of a new integral and ecocentric international crime against the environment in the Rome Statute. The paper then elaborates on existing proposals on such a new crime against the environment before some proper observations on the exact contours of the crime are made. A focus lies on the new crime’s threshold of seriousness as well as on the necessary mens rea requirements. The insufficiency of the contemporary legal framework and the merits of a new crime against the environment are exemplified by an archetype example of peacetime environmental damage, the Chevron/Texaco oil spill scenario in Ecuador.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, International Cooperation, International Law
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Britta Sjostedt, Anne Dienelt
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Institution: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: n 2011, the UN International Law Commission (ILC) took up the topic Protection of the Environment in Relation to Armed Conflicts.1 The decision was triggered by a joint report issued by the UN Environment Programme and the Environmental Law Institute in 2009 recommending the ILC to “[...] examine the existing international law for protecting the environment during armed conflicts [...] [including] how it can be clarified, codified and expanded [...]”.2 Since the inclusion of the item on the ILC’s agenda, the Commission has published five reports3 by the two special rapporteurs, Dr. Marie Jacobsson (2011-2016) and Dr. Marja Lehto (2017-). In 2019, the plenary adopted 28 Draft Principles on first reading.4 The ILC has touched on highly controversial issues such as reprisals,5 corporate liability,6 indigenous peoples’ rights,7 among others. Nevertheless, it was clear from the beginning that the ILC would not be able to exhaustively deal with the topic for two main reasons. First, the Commission has a limited mandate that is restricted to “[...] initiate studies and make recommendations for the purpose of [...] encouraging the progressive development of international law and its codification [...]”.8 Enhanced legal protection of the environment, as one of the purposes of the Draft Principles,9 must therefore be based on existing customary international law and its progressive development. The Commission decided to also include recommendations to account for the uncertain legal status of some of the Draft Principles.10 Second, some related issues touch upon controversial and political matters, as mentioned earlier. Consequently, the ILC has been reluctant to include some of these issues in its workflow.11 Therefore, the adoption of the Draft Principles should be regarded as a starting point for shaping and developing the legal framework for environmental protection in relation to armed conflicts. As a part of that process, Hamburg University and Lund University organized an international workshop in March 2019 in Hamburg. Several members of the ILC, including two special rapporteurs, academic legal experts, and practitioners, attended the workshop to discuss the Draft Principles. The discussion also focused on some issues not covered by the ILC, such as the implications for gender and climate security. The engaging dialogue in Hamburg has inspired the publication of this Special Issue of the Goettingen Journal of International Law (GoJIL) to ensure that the outcomes and ideas of the workshop reach a wider audience. It has also contributed to maintaining the momentum of this topical area of international law by inviting contributions from researchers not present during the workshop in Hamburg.12
  • Topic: Environment, International Law, Non State Actors
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Stavros-Evdokimos Pantazopoulos
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Institution: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: The paper examines the concept of belligerent reprisals and assesses the legality of attacking the environment by way of reprisals. The law of belligerent reprisals, which is linked to the principle of reciprocity, allows one belligerent State unlawfully injured by another to react by means of what under normal circumstances would constitute a violation of the jus in bello, so as to induce the violating State to comply with the law. The instances of lawful recourse to reprisals have been considerably limited, since their application is either explicitly prohibited against certain protected persons and objects, including against the natural environment, or is subject to stringent conditions according to customary International Humanitarian Law (IHL). Despite its narrowing scope, the doctrine of reprisals remains a valid concept under the existing legal framework. For one, the state of affairs under customary international law with respect to reprisals directed at civilian objects (including against parts of the environment), subject to certain rigorous conditions, remains unclear. To complicate matters even further, any proposition on the status of reprisals in the context of a non-international armed conflict (NIAC) is shrouded in controversy, as there is no relevant treaty provision. In this regard, the present author endorses the approach espoused in the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Study on Customary IHL, namely to altogether prohibit resort to reprisals in the context of a NIAC. Turning to the status of reprisals against the natural environment under customary IHL, it is argued that a prohibition of attacks against the natural environment by way of reprisals is in the process of formation with respect to the use of weapons other than nuclear ones. All things considered, the International Law Commission (ILC) was confronted with an uncomfortable situation in the context of its work on the ‘Protection of the Environment in Relation to Armed Conflicts’. By sticking to the verbatim reproduction of Article 55(2) of Additional Protocol I, the ILC chose the proper course of action, since any other formulation would not only undercut a significant treaty provision, but might also result in the normative standard of conduct being lowered.
  • Topic: Environment, International Law, Humanitarian Intervention, Red Cross
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Karen Hulme
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Institution: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: Environmental protection is not specifically included in treaty law relating to State obligations during situations of occupation. While clearly not of the same scale as damage caused to the environment during armed conflict, damage caused during occupation is often similar in nature – largely due to those who seek to exploit any governance vacuum and a failure to restore damaged environments. What can human rights offer in helping to protect the environment during occupations? What protection can be offered by an analysis of environmental human rights law?
  • Topic: Environment, Human Rights, Governance, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michael Bothe
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Institution: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: The protection of the environment in relation to armed conflict, in particular during armed conflict is a complex problem as it involves at least two different fields of international law, the law of armed conflict (international humanitarian law) and international environmental law. Their mutual relationship is a delicate issue. International humanitarian law is not necessarily lex specialis. Three principles deserve particular attention in this connection: as to general international environmental law, the principle of prevention and the precautionary principle, as to international humanitarian law the duty to take precautions. The terms prevention and precaution are used in different contexts in environmental law (both national and international) and in the law of armed conflict. The duty, imposed by international humanitarian law, to take precautions has much in common with, but must be distinguished from, the precautionary approach of general environmental law. This paper shows what these principles mean and how they relate to each other. It answers the question to what extent the rules based on these concepts are effective in restraining environmental damage being caused by military activities. The application of these principles in peace and war serves intergenerational equity and is thus an important element of sustainable development.
  • Topic: Environment, International Law, Humanitarian Intervention, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Tomas Restrepo
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Institution: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: Nearly half of the claims brought under the Energy Charter Treaty1 raise issues related to the modification of the Renewable Energy Support Schemes (RESs), but only two decisions have been published: Charanne and Eiser. This paper evaluates these decisions in light of the existing general practice on expropriation and Fair and Equitable Treatment, as well as from a pragmatic perspective in the context of climate change. The article concludes that tribunals should recognize reinforced stability to RESs under the ECT.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, International Cooperation, International Law, Renewable Energy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus