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The Protection of the Environment in Armed Conflict: Legal Obligations in the Absence of Specific Rules

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Chapter Summary

This chapter shows that while only minor legal progress has been achieved in the past two decades, a number of problems and processes of international law creation in this area have become much clearer. A defined body of customary rules applicable in international and non-international armed conflicts is now in existence, although further clarifications and a careful consideration of critical approaches to existing rules and their implementation in practice are still required. The chapter examines the natural environment as a civilian object, the legal conditions for and consequences of its use as military objective, and the exact contents of lex lata, before turning to an attempt to provide realistic proposals for developments de lege ferenda. The reach of legal protections deriving from peacetime rules that continue to apply during armed conflict is evaluated. Finally, ways of enhancing environmental protection by reaffirming existing rules and developing new ones is addressed.

Keywords: civilian object; environmental protection; international armed conflicts; international law creation; legal conditions; military objective; minor legal progress; non-international armed conflicts; peacetime rules



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