International Criminal Law

This research article discuss in detail about the punishing the one who is responsible damages caused to the environment as per Article 8 Rome Statute to International Criminal Law which deals with war crimes especially when organized as a part of a policy or plan or as part of an extensive occurrence of such crimes and especially under Article 8(2)(b)(iv) of the Rome Statute to International Criminal Law which deals with war crimes which resulted in a large-scale destruction and appropriation of property ,not justified by military necessity and unleashed wantonly and unlawfully.

This Article can be termed as the ever first ecocentric rule of its type. Article 8 Rome Statute to International Criminal Law deals with war crimes especially when organized as a part of a policy or plan or as part of an extensive occurrence of such crimes. Article 8(2)(b)(iv) of the Rome Statute to International Criminal Law deals with war crimes which resulted in a large-scale destruction and appropriation of property ,not justified by military necessity and unleashed wantonly and unlawfully. This Article can be termed as the ever first ecocentric rule of its type.

For instance, the deliberate employment of a chemical weapon to cause glaring and unwanted damage to environment would be considered as a criminal offense under international law now. Thus, such crime of causing damage to environment intentionally by military is regarded as a war crime from 2002 onwards when the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court [ICC] came in to effect. Thus, Article 8(2) (b) (iv) has become a significant milestone in International law. Before introduction of this Article, international forum like United Nations had to be approached for redressal of any damages caused to environment.

It is to be remembered that during aggression of Kuwait by Iraq , it was held by United Nations Security Council that Iraq was responsible for the damages caused to the environment and thus established a new forum namely United Nations Compensation Commission [UNCC] to award proper compensation for the damages to the environment. It is to be noted that this article does not applicable to any internal armed conflict in a nation. Further, there remain many numbers of concerns that significantly restrict the Article’s advantages in booking those who unleash war time environmental damage.

For instance, its actus reus is more or less vague, especially the requirement that damage be ‘long-term, severe and widespread. ’ Article’s men rea is distinctively subjective, thereby rendering it almost impossible to charge a perpetrator ‘knew’ her attack would be inconsistent. Further, the construction of this Article is so designed that it would pave way for the transboundary environmental damage which may result in prosecution that could jeopardize the ICC’s method of voluntary jurisdiction.

The Article declares the following action as a war crime: “Deliberately initiate an attack under the surmise that such attack will create substantial loss of life or physical injury to civilians or causing extensive damage to civilian properties or severe ,widespread and long-term injury to the environment which would be ostensibly excessive in relation to the concrete and direct overall military benefit supposed” [Article 8(2)(b)(iv)].

The specialty of this Article is that it gives equal treatment to nonhuman environment to that of protective measures to human beings. One another special feature of this Article is that it imposes individual criminal responsibility, a far major deterrent to wrongdoer in opposition to toothless state responsibility inflicted by many of the earlier conventions. The disjunctive “or” as mentioned in the above article clearly spells out that any damage to the environment shall be punishable and will be considered as equal to injury to human beings.