Armed opposition groups and the right to exercise control over public natural resources : a legal analysis of the cases of Libya and Syria
Daniëlla Dam-de Jong
Host item entries:
Netherlands international law review, Vol. 62, issue 1, April 2015, p. 3-24
Photocopies. - Bibliographie : p.23-24
This article examines whether international law provides a legal basis for the exploitation of natural resources by armed opposition groups. This issue is particularly pertinent in light of the ongoing armed conflict in Syria — and the 2011 armed conflict in Libya, where third states are looking for ways to provide non-military support to the opposition movement, including by allowing it to export oil. This article examines three potential legal bases for a right for armed opposition groups to exploit natural resources: international humanitarian law, the recognition of the armed opposition group as the representative of the state and its recognition as the representative of the people. While this article concludes that current international law does not allow armed opposition groups to exploit natural resources, it argues in favour of applying the concept of usufruct from international occupation law to internal armed conflicts. On the basis of this concept, highly organised armed opposition groups would be granted a right to exploit the natural resources situated within the territory under their control for the purpose of establishing and maintaining a civilian administration.