International law and resource plunder : the protection of natural resources during armed conflict
Daniëlla Dam-de Jong
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Yearbook of international environmental law, Vol. 19, 2008, p. 27-57
This article examines the international legal framework for the protection and management of natural wealth and resources during armed conflict. It focuses in particular on the rules that relate to the exploitation and plundering of natural resources by parties to an armed conflict. For this purpose, the article first takes a closer look at the principle of permanent sovereignty over natural resources and its implications for the situation of armed conflict. A contemporary interpretation of this principle regards it as a rights and duties-based concept, which lays the foundation for the sustainable management of natural resources in a country, both in times of peace as well as during armed conflict. Furthermore, this article assesses the protection of natural wealth and resources under international humanitarian law. Since this field of law is the lex specialis for the situation of armed conflict, it is relevant to examine how and to what extent it lays down rules for parties to an armed conflict with regard to the protection and management of natural wealth and resources. Finally, this article identifies existing lacunae in the international humanitarian law framework and analyzes the role of international environmental law and human rights law in strengthening the protection of natural wealth and resources during armed conflict.
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