Addressing the Intentional Destruction of the Environment during Warfare under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

By Steven Freeland

Through the ages, acts perpetrated during the course of warfare have led to significant environmental destruction. These have included situations where the natural environment has intentionally been targeted as a 'victim' or has somehow been manipulated to serve as a 'weapon' of warfare. Until recently, such acts were generally regarded as an unfortunate but unavoidable element of armed conflict, despite their potentially disastrous impacts. The existing international rules have largely been ineffective and inappropriate, and, in practical terms, have done little to deter deliberate environmental destruction, particularly when measured against perceived military advantages. However, as the significance of the environment has come to be more widely understood and recognized, this is no longer acceptable, particularly given the ongoing development of weapons capable of widespread and significant damage. This book therefore examines the current international legal regime relevant to the intentional destruction of the environment during warfare. It argues that such acts should, in appropriate circumstances, be recognized as an international crime and should be subject to more effective rules giving rise to international criminal responsibility. The book also suggests a framework within the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as to how this might be achieved. *** "The purpose of international law has developed far beyond regulating relations between States, and has increasingly extended to prohibit conduct or activities with very harmful effects to the international community as a whole, and on individuals. One such prohibited conduct is the intentional and wanton destruction to the natural environment during armed conflict. Professor Freeland, in this book, has painstakingly and in a sophisticated manner recommends how individuals committing such a crime could be brought within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court in The Hague. It is highly recommended." -- Abdul G. Koroma, former Judge, International Court of Justice *** "Whilst international law has made significant strides in regulating the conduct of armed conflict, there is increasing concern about the environmental impacts of warfare. Deliberate environmental destruction can have devastating effects on present and future generations; yet, in terms of international criminal law, there has been relatively little by way of progress to deter such acts. This book is therefore extremely timely and presents a comprehensive and thought-provoking perspective as to why and how this concern could be addressed. With its insightful analysis, the book will undoubtedly stimulate further debate in this area, and is highly recommended to all those concerned with the impact of armed conflict on the natural environment." -- Erkki Kourula, Judge International Criminal Court (Appeals Chamber) *** "Steven Freeland argues in favor of adding crimes against the environment to international law and to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. His writing is pragmatic, skillful, and also full of heart. His is the most convincing argument for a proposition well ahead of its time. His book is a must-read. Freeland's research is compendious, his view clear-eyed, and his style gifted. Freeland's book, however, transcends environmental protection. He is among the fore-runners when it comes to thinking creatively about the sources of violence, insecurity, and instability in the international order. Yet, all the while, he retains the wisdom not to posit law as rapture saving us from collective rupture." -- Mark A. Drumbl, Class of 1975 Alumni Professor of Law and Director of the Transnational Law Institute, Washington and Lee University (Series: Supranational Criminal Law: Capita Selecta - Vol. 18) [Subject: International Law, Criminal Law, Environmental Law]


Publication Date: 6/10/2015
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781780683140