Legal Protection of the Environment in Armed Conflicts with Emphasis on the Second Gulf War

Document Type : Original Article


1 - PhD Student of Environmental Law, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 - Assistant Professor of Environmental Law, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

3 - Full Professor of Political Sciences, Tehran University, Tehran, Iran

4 - Full Professor of International Law, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran


War as an inevitable fact in international relations that has always imposed itself without limitation to governments in conflict, has its own consequences, and by occurring war, valid regulations in the time of peace may lose their legitimacy and rights of war has been replaced with it, except  regulations which are considered as jus cogens simultaneously in peacetime and wartime. Therefore, since international law cannot prevent the outbreak of war, it strives to establish a safe world by formulating regulations. Meanwhile, environment protection in war and peace is one of the issues that has been noticed in international law, because human understand that human life depends on environment and planet earth is the only habitable planet. Hence, international community considers the importance of environment, and considers war as an inevitable fact and tries to decrease damages that are inflicted to environment among wars by law regulation.     
The research methodology adopted is descriptive – analytic method and data gathering procedure is library research in legal principles and practices based on the extraction of resources from international documents, conclusions and legal analysis of international conflicts, in particular regional conflicts, which provides to reach to accurate results about Persian Gulf.
Results and discussion
The international community terrible ordeals in wars have promoted the place of environment in the law of armed conflicts, in a way that its norms can be placed in customary international law and jus cogens with erga omnes effects. Therefore, because governments duties are recognized in environment protection in armed conflicts in the frame of customary international law and jus cogens with erga omnes, we hope if a war happens in Persian Gulf region or in other place, the negative environment effects of war is reduced by following the mentioned regulations. 
With regard to the strategic status of the Persian Gulf and previous experiences of two wars in the region, in particular, the Second Gulf War (1990-1991), and its environmental effects, and evaluation of the current regulations in the course of the Second War, this study attempts to reach a new legal approach to reduce environmental damages of armed war in Persian Gulf region and in other regions.
By developing environmental issues in recent years beside of the necessity of having healthy and immune environment (Principle 1 of Stockholm Declaration, 1972) which is expounded as one of the principles in third-generation human rights and which is in the frame of jus cogens the necessity of protecting environment in war time has been emphasized.    


Volume 9, Issue 31
September 2013
Pages 195-222
  • Receive Date: 23 November 2012
  • Revise Date: 22 January 2013
  • Accept Date: 16 May 2013
  • First Publish Date: 23 September 2013