IRRC No. 879

Law-making at the intersection of international environmental, humanitarian, and criminal law: the issue of damage to the environment in international armed conflict

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The relationship between international environmental law and international humanitarian law, like relationships between many other subsystems of contemporary international law, has not yet been articulated. The problem of environmental damage in international armed conflict lies at the intersection of these two branches and thus provides an ideal opportunity to investigate this relationship. Rather than simply evaluating the applicable international law rules in their context, we break them into elements that we separately assess from both (international) environmental law and international humanitarian/international criminal law perspectives. By doing so, we identify how international law rules for cross-sectoral problems may appropriately combine the existing expertise and institutional strengths of simultaneously applicable branches of international law, and also discover how an evaluation of the ultimate appropriateness of the cross-sectoral rules adopted may be substantially affected by the different frames of reference that are used by those working within the different fields.

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