International law for
Legality of nuclear weapons
case, ICJ ADV OP, 1996
Concerning paragraph 29, this case was an advisory opinion. Paragraph 29
of this case recognizes the environment as an important aspect for
international law to address. And also under the second paragraph of paragraph
29, it also addresses the general obligations of states to ensure that their activities
within their jurisdiction and control, respect the environment of other states
(basically, respect the environment!). This is more general and not specific, unlike principle 2 of
the rio declaration which provides a specific interpretation. Paragraph 29 is
the most significant paragraph to take away.
we can argue that the legality of nuclear weapons case, paragraph 29
does not actually specifies interpretation of the law much further, what it is
doing is that it is building a set of legal authorities, we can use this
because it is not going against the principle but it it interpreting it in a
much general term.
For paragraph 33, we can disagree with the views of the ICJ because here
it is suggesting that nuclear weapons can be used without some harm go environment
and all human life species.
International law has provided a substantial element of the obligation
that now a state has the primary obligation to ensure that their activities
does cause harm to the environment. There must be a significant
harm/damage for there to be a breach of the obligation.
Lac Lanoux (Fr v Sp)
What is required from a state (what are their obligations) when they know
that there is some activity. They have the obligation to notify, inform and
In the lac lanoux case it involved how far the French government wanted
to infuse a hydro-electric power station. How far they could do this in the
lake they shared with Spain. How far France had to consult Spain before they
could commence the construction. However, note that it was not a dam and it was
not a huge construction, it was small but it was going to take away some part
of the water of the lake. And Spain were saying that the water they shared was
theirs too and they were taking it away without consulting them. The tribunal stated
that they should halt the construction of the hydro station, and they held that
the Spain claim was going too far. And they held that the French government
have fulfilled their duty of consultation, the tribunal accepted that there was
a duty of consultation which is important and they felt that French had fulfilled
this duty, because they provided sufficient notice to Spain. They also found
that the water that the French government were taking from the lake was not
sufficient enough to amount to significant harm to Spain’s interest. Despite the
fact that Spain were claiming that they hadn’t told them and they were going to
take the water, that claim was insufficient.
Here we can see that there is a requirement for consultation but again
we can also see that what Spain was claiming did not fulfill the requirement
for significant harm.
The idea of ‘good faith’ is also involved in the duty of consultations
and good faith is a general principle of international law because it influences
every aspect of public international law from the formation of treaties to the
duty of consultation.
Legal status of the Rio
It is not a treaty and it is not binding, yet since we have the accumulation
of states policies and legislations, then we can make a big argument in arguing
that it Is a form of customary international law.
Each of the rio declaration principles have to be accessed independently
regardless of the fact that each declaration composes of customary
Development of (other)
principles of international environment law
The important principles are principle 4 which is the integration of environmental
considerations into socio-economic development. (see slides for the remaining
important list of principles)