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Volume :21 Issue : 81 1996      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

LEGAL BASIS FOR KUWAIT ENVIRONMENTAL CLAIMS

Auther : By: Dr. Badria Al-Awadi

The paper is divided into three sections. The introduction deals with the concept of responsibility in international law and when the State will be held responsible for illegal action. Section one of the paper deals with general rules defining the State liability for environmental destruction. This section outlines that the state is liable for environmental damage as stated in the Universal Declaration relating to environment as well as international environmental conventions which deal with protection of environment in time of armed conflict. Section one also focuses on principles 24, 25 and 26 of the Rio Declaration, 1992, which have given special attention to protection of environment in time of armed conflict. Principle 24 of this Declaration specified the strong link between war and destruction of environment, and asked Member States of the international community to observe rules of international law relating to protection of environment during armed conflict. As well as to cooperate among themselves to develop these principles for the purpose of protection of the environment in time of war. This section also deals with international conventions in time of armed conflict, such as the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocol of 1977. Article 35 of this Protocol stated clearly that occupying states are prohibited from destruction of any property in community, which has no military relevance. Also, Article 55 clearly prevents all states from using any weapons, which might cause severe and long-term destruction of the natural environment as well as affect the health of human beings.

Section two deals with the UN Security Council relating to Iraq’s liability for destruction of the environment during its occupation of Kuwait. More than 28 decisions passed by Security Council from August 1990 to 1992, in particular decision No. 687 of 1991, stated clearly the responsibility of Iraq for the destruction of the environment and that Iraq should pay compensation for the damage.

Section three is devoted for the five (5) Kuwaiti Claims submitted to the United Nations Compensation Committee. The claims relate to damage to underground water, fisheries resources; the coastal area; terrestrial damage and damage to human health.

The paper highlights Iraq’s international responsibility for environmental aggression which calls for the application of the concept of wide international responsibility in order that compensation should cover all the environmental damage in a very equal, just and comprehensive manner for the present and the future.

In conclusion, emphasis is given to the international legal principle that “Polluter Pays” for damage of environment, specifically for damage resulting from armed conflict.

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