The destruction of natural resources is a recurring feature of warfare. Indeed, throughout recorded history, environmental destruction has been used as a deliberate military strategy, and wartime actions affecting the environment constitute some of the most serious discrete instances of humanity's impact on the world's ecosystems. In this commentary, we consider the environmental consequences of warfare, with particular attention to the recent ecological disasters in Kuwait and in the former Yugoslavia. Armed conflicts are still raging worldwide, creating both immediate human tragedy and long-term ecological consequences. The authors argue that legitimizing the concept of environmental crime is an important part of establishing accountability and of providing appropriate recompense for acts of war. We propose that the principle of sustainability, and the right to environmental justice are the most pertinent basis for defining environmental crime. On this basis, we offer a core definition of the features of an environmental crime, and we call upon international leaders to assist in the establishment of legal frameworks that are adequate to address such crimes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law