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  • 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: Elaine (Lan Yin) Hsiao
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Institution: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: It has often been cited that major armed conflicts (>1,000 casualties) afflicted two-thirds (23) of the world’s recognized biodiversity hotspots between 1950 and 2000.1 In 2011, the International Law Commission (ILC) included in its long-term work program Protection of the Environment in Relation to Armed Conflict.2 This led to the adoption of twenty-eight Draft Principles, including designation of protected zones where attacks against the environment are prohibited during armed conflict.3 Protected zone designations apply to places of major environmental and cultural importance, requiring that they “[...] shall be protected against any attack, as long as it does not contain a military objective.”4 Most research on armed conflict and protected areas has focused on impacts to wildlife and less on how to protect these natural habitats from the ravages of armed conflict.5 This article highlights some of the gaps in the ILC Draft Principles towards protecting protected zones in bello. It uses transboundary protected areas (TBPAs) formalized through multilateral agreements to illustrate challenges on the ground. TBPAs are internationally designated “[...] protected areas that are ecologically connected across one or more international boundaries [...]” and sometimes even established for their promotion of peace (i.e., Parks for Peace).6 There is little legal research on how to design TBPA agreements for conflict resilience, conflict sensitivity, and ultimately positive peace.7 The research draws from two case studies in Africa’s Great Rift Valley: the Greater Virunga Landscape (GVL) between the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda, and Uganda, and the Kidepo Landscape, which forms part of the broader Landscapes for Peace initiative between South Sudan and Uganda. Both suffer from armed conflicts of various types and present two of the only TBPAs in the world that have incorporated environmental peacebuilding into their transboundary agreements.8 The case studies illustrate different approaches to TBPA design and the pros and cons of each modality in the context of conflict resilience and conflict sensitivity. This guides us on how to better protect protected areas in bello, ensuring that protected zones endure on the ground and not just in principle.
  • Topic: Environment, Culture, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda
  • 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
  • Author: Tim Staal
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Institution: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: Post-treaty instruments (PTIs) are informal instruments adopted by consensus of the treaty parties as follow-up decision to a particular provision in a treaty. PTIs are potentially significant instruments for advancing environmental global governance, as the treaty parties may use them to transform indeterminate treaty provisions into more specific environmental rules and decisions. While a number of PTIs are rightly characterized as exercises of authority, this article seeks to demonstrate how certain environmental PTIs with rule-setting character (‘PTRs’) amount to evasions of authority by reducing international authority over States’ environmental policies, or alleviate rather than tighten the treaty parties’ obligations, through their content or legal status. First, some PTRs avoid authoritative language, requiring little or no concrete action by the treaty parties. Some treaty-based assignments to adopt PTRs are never even acted upon. Other PTRs simply water down the obligations of the treaty parties compared to the underlying treaty provisions. Second, PTRs possess an ambiguous legal status both in legal doctrine and in the practice of domestic and EU courts. The article further argues that consensual decision-making may well be at the root of this ambivalent practice. As a broader contribution to the debate about International Public Authority (IPA), the proposition is advanced that we need to scrutinize more carefully what kind and degree of authority an instrument exercises exactly – or not. Evasions of authority and alleviations of obligations – which can be conceived as a special type of exercising authority through inaction – have important implications for what future legal frameworks of international public law must deliver in terms of effective and legitimate procedural design.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Environment, International Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Governance, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Peter H. Sand, Jonathan B. Wiener
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Institution: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: Inclusion of the topic ‘protection of the atmosphere’ in the current work programme of the UN International Law Commission (ILC) reflects the long overdue recognition of the fact that the scope of contemporary international law for the Earth’s atmosphere extends far beyond the traditional discipline of ‘air law’ as a synonym for airspace and air navigation law. Instead, the atmospheric commons are regulated by a ‘regime complex’ comprising a multitude of economic uses including global communications, pollutant emissions and diffusion, in different geographical sectors and vertical zones, in the face of different categories of risks, and addressed by a wide range of different transnational institutions. Following several earlier attempts at identifying cross- cutting legal rules and principles in this field (by, inter alia, the International Law Association, the UN Environment Programme, and the Institut de Droit International), the ILC has now embarked on a new codification/restatement project led by Special Rapporteur Shinya Murase – albeit hamstrung by a highly restrictive ‘understanding’ imposed by the Commission in 2013. This article assesses the prospects and limitations of the initial ILC reports and debates in 2014 and 2015, and potential avenues for progress in the years to come.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, International Law, United Nations, Space
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Gonzalo Aguilar Cavallo
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Institution: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: In recent decades, experience has shown that private corporations have been increasingly involved in environmental disasters and human rights abuses in all parts of the world. Many of these corporations belong to the energy, metallurgy, extraction, and mining sectors. Pascua Lama is the name of a major mining project on the border of Chile and Argentina. Since the onset of this mining project, civil society organizations have warned of the risk of serious threats to freshwater resources and indigenous rights. This Chilean case illustrates the difficulty of holding corporations accountable for environmental and indigenous rights abuses. The article suggests that interactions between three branches of public international law; namely, international human rights law, international law of indigenous peoples, and international environmental law can be helpful for individuals and communities affected to have access to an effective remedy.
  • Topic: Environment
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Derek Inman, Stefaan Smis, Dorothée Cambou
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Institution: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: Bill C-38, Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act, and Bill C-45, Jobs and Growth Act, both passed in 2012, contain numerous amendments that could affect established and potential Aboriginal rights across Canada. This unilateral action by the Government of Canada came as a great surprise to many Aboriginal people, who indicated that they were not consulted in advance of the legislation's introduction. However, this then begs the question: What is Canada's 'duty to consult'? What is the content of this 'duty'? Does this 'duty' even exist? If it does, is there a discrepancy between the established 'duty to consult' and the legislative amendments included in Bill C-38 and Bill C-45? The purpose of this article is to attempt to answer all of these questions. To do this, we will begin by examining contemporary Canadian jurisprudence on the issue, including reviewing the relevant case law in order to gain an insight into the procedural substance of the 'duty to consult'. Following this, in an attempt to enrich and deepen the discussion concerning the recent developments in Canada, we will outline the emergence of consultation norms at the international level, and highlight recent jurisprudence that takes into consideration consultation duties at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The article will conclude by juxtaposing the emergence of the international and regional norms regarding consultation duties with current events in Canada, in order to confirm the discrepancy between the recent legislative amendments and domestic jurisprudence, international law, international human rights law, and regional human rights law. Our hope is that this article will not only inform readers of current events in Canada but also enrich the current discourse on the participatory rights of indigenous peoples in the context of land and natural resource development.
  • Topic: Environment
  • Political Geography: America, Canada