Al-Haq welcomes the International Law Commission adoption of Draft Principles on the Protection of the Environment in Relation to Armed Conflicts on 8 July 2019. These Draft Principles reflect Al-Haq's previous advocacy, which sought to ensure the principles specifically covered the use of natural resources during occupations and corporate accountability for the exploitation of the environment in situations of armed conflict. As adopted, the Draft Principles address directly the responsibility of Occupying Powers for environmental harms and use of natural resources. In particular, Draft Principles 10 and 11, are laudable in recognising that the most egregious environmental harms caused during belligerent occupation, in particular prolonged belligerent occupations like Israel's occupation of the OPT, are often orchestrated by corporations acting under leases awarded by the Occupying Power, for substantial commercial gain.
Al-Haq's analysis suggests the Draft Principles provide new pathways for advocacy on these issues, importantly for Al-Haq's work in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and especially on business and human rights and corporate accountability. However, there remain some areas which could be improved. Civil society must remain engaged to push for progressive changes now that the Draft Principles have moved from consideration by the Drafting Committee into the final stage of negotiation at the higher level of the ILC plenary. Further, the finalisation of associated commentary will be an important part of these principles' efficacy in re-stating, and modernising, the toolbox of international humanitarian law. Al-Haq will remain committed to constructively engaging in the ILC drafting process to ensure the Draft Principles reflect international humanitarian law and the realities of occupation.
Please find Al-Haq's Explainer on the Draft Articles on the Protection of the Environment in Relation to Armed Conflicts here