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Advancing the Legal Protection of the Environment in Relation to Armed Conflict: Protocol I’s Threshold of Impermissible Environmental Damage and Alternatives

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents both conceptual and practical considerations for increasing the level of environmental protection in wartime within the legal context created by Articles 35 and 55 of Protocol I. Articles 35(3) and 55 represent a point of agreement between States parties that there is a threshold beyond which environmental damage is prohibited regardless of the military situation. These provisions bifurcate the legal protection of the environment in armed conflicts. The chapter proposes legal and strategic frameworks to be addressed to military decision-makers considering environmentally harmful actions. It argues that the principle of military necessity that underlies the laws of armed conflicts can be found compatible with enhanced environmental protections. The ultimate goal is not only to develop operational guidelines for military decision-makers, but also to avoid the false dilemma between environmental harm, and failing to achieve war aims and risking soldiers.

Keywords: armed conflict; Article 35 of Protocol I; Article 55 of Protocol I; environmental protections; legal protection; military decision-makers



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