Lunch Seminar with Stavros Pantazopoulos

The Role of International Courts and Tribunals in Adjudicating Wartime Environmental Damage

While the environment has suffered reverberating effects and has been the ‘silent’ victim in times of war, remedies for wartime environmental damage are not readily available for various reasons. To begin with, the enforcement of the laws of war is inherently fraught with difficulties and in past wars violations either went unnoticed or were not dealt with for political reasons. In addition, wartime environmental damage is usually difficult to assess in the aftermath of the armed conflict, despite -and because of- its lasting impact. In the same vein, issues of causation and proof only serve to further complicate matters. Last but not least, remedying environmental damage ranks lower than other priorities at the post-conflict phase, such as addressing humanitarian needs, despite the fact that recent conflicts have showcased that the protection of the environment can act as a catalyst for a sustainable peace.

In the light of the above, the seminar purports to examine how international courts and tribunals (ICTs) have already addressed or could address environmental damage caused during an armed conflict, either of an international or of a non-international character. To this end, the provisions of ICTs’ statutes will be examined with a view to proffering interpretations that could enable them to bring within the scope of their mandate the issue of environmental protection during an armed conflict.

Furthermore, the seminar will survey the factors that enable and empower ICTs to bring within the remit of their competence wartime environmental damage, as well as to inquire how their engagement with this issue could influence their legitimacy in the eyes of their respective audiences. The main focus will be laid on the United Nations Compensation Commission, the International Criminal Court, and the International Court of Justice.

All interested are welcome to attend. Registration is not necessary.

Feel free to bring your own lunch