chapter  22
19 Pages

The protection of the environment

WithRoberta Arnold

The birth of modern international environmental law (IEL) can be traced back to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries,1 with the adoption of the first public health measures and industrial isation.2 Timid efforts were also undertaken to limit the negative effects of warfare on the environment, with the adoption of ‘anthropocentric’3 treaties like the 1925 Geneva Gas Protocol.4 Recognition that the environment itself requires protection from the effects of armed conflicts, however, coincides with the Vietnam War (1955-1970),5 during which new techniques and methods of warfare were employed – such as the use of ‘cloud-seeding’, napalm and chemical defoliants – which have resulted in long-term contamination and significant destruction of forests and wildlife.6 On 16 December 1969, the UN General

1 Cf Peter H Sand, The History and Origin of International Environmental Law (Edward Elgar 2015) 2 Philippe Sands and Jacqueline Peel, Principles of International Environmental Law (3rd edn, CUP 2012)

23-25; Karen Hulme, War Torn Environment: Interpreting the Legal Threshold (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 2004) 6; Jessica C Lawrence and Kevin Jon Heller, ‘The Limits of Article 8(2)(b)(iv) of the Rome Statute, the First Ecocentric Environmental War Crime’ (2007) 20 Georgetown International Environmental Law Review 61, 63 et seq.