The Use of Nuclear Weapons and the Protection of the Environment during International Armed Conflict
By Erik Koppe
In 1996, the International Court of Justice delivered an Advisory Opinion on the legality of the use of nuclear weapons in which the Court stated that 'while the existing international law relating to the protection and safeguarding of the environment does not specifically prohibit the use of nuclear weapons it indicates important environmental factors that are properly to be taken into account in the context of the implementation of the principles and rules of the law applicable in armed conflict.' The present work analyzes this conclusion, focusing on the question as to whether or not the use of nuclear weapons during international armed conflict would violate existing norms of public international law relating to the protection and safeguarding of the environment. Although the use of weaponry during armed conflict is usually related to the protection of individuals, the rapidly emerging appreciation and intrinsic value of the natural environment as an indispensable asset for the continuation of life on this planet - both for present and future generations - warrants a thorough and extensive examination of the question of the (il)legality of the employment of nuclear weapons from the point of view of international environmental protection law. The book consists of two parts. Part I discusses the historical development and the effects of nuclear weapons. Part II discusses the protection of the environment during international armed conflict under ius in bello, ius ad bellum, and ius pacis. Only then is it possible to assess the legality of the use of nuclear weapons under this particular set of rules.
Publication Date: 4/7/2008