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The Global Community Yearbook of International Law and Jurisprudence 2014Volume I$
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Giuliana Ziccardi Capaldo

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190270513

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190270513.001.0001

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Defending Nature: The Evolution of the International Legal Restriction of Military Ecocide

Defending Nature: The Evolution of the International Legal Restriction of Military Ecocide

Chapter:
(p.137) Defending Nature: The Evolution of the International Legal Restriction of Military Ecocide
Source:
The Global Community Yearbook of International Law and Jurisprudence 2014
Author(s):

Peter Hough

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190270513.003.0006

Military ecocide—the wanton destruction of the environment in the course of warfare—emerged as a term in the early 1970s in the wake of the United States’ infamous jungle defoliation campaign Operation Ranch Hand. International moral outrage at the campaign allied to the general rise of ecological consciousness soon prompted the codification of international laws criminalizing such strategies. Implementation of these provisions, though, has been very limited owing to their ambiguity, which still permits military necessity to be cited in defence of environmental damage. However, in spite of this, the moral tide has turned against ecocide and there is reason to believe that assaults on the environment as brazen as Operation Ranch Hand are unlikely to be seen again with the emergence of a clearer global consensus on the immorality of such acts and greater governmental awareness of the reputational costs of ignoring this.

Keywords:   Agent Orange, chemical warfare, ecocide, environment, pollution, scorched earth, war

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