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Natural Resources in Situations of Armed Conflict: Is there a Coherent Framework for Protection?

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image of International Community Law Review

This article examines the legal regime regulating the protection of natural resources in situations of armed conflict. The first part considers the extent to which the enforceable content of jus in bello applies to natural resource use including environmental damage in armed conflict especially those of an internal character. The second part of the article examines the extent to which the concept of "permanent sovereignty" as a residual category, provides a yardstick against which resource exploitation is to be measured. It is argued that permanent sovereignty has a particular resonance beyond decolonization. It provides an international standard against which natural resource exploitation by all parties to a conflict stand to be assessed. The relevant of Security Council Resolutions in this area is also considered. These resolutions, although they have as their desiderata the maintenance of international peace and security, also play a secondary role in protecting and preserving natural resources in conflict zones. The main shortcomings of the existing legal framework is assessed and proposals for reform put forward.

Affiliations: 1: Queen Mary, University of London


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