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The Protection of the Natural Environment in Armed Conflict – Existing Rules and Need for Further Legal Protection

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the specific protections provided in international humanitarian law (IHL), in particular the Convention on the prohibition of military or any hostile use of environmental modification techniques (ENMOD Convention) and Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (API). It examines the general protections under IHL, in particular the characterisation of the natural environment as a civilian object and the legal protection flowing from this characterisation - namely the general rules on the conduct of hostilities. After addressing these general rules, it briefly recalls some other relevant provisions of IHL before turning, to possible avenues to strengthen the legal protection of the environment in armed conflict by clarifying or further developing IHL in this respect, taking into account the protection provided by international human rights law and international environmental law.

Keywords: API; armed conflict; ENMOD Convention; Geneva Conventions; international human rights law; international humanitarian law (IHL); legal protection; natural environment



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