Numerous studies have proven in recent years that warlike conflicts not only bring fatal consequences for the human population, but also have an extremely negative impact on the environment. So it comes regularly to massive environmental pollution.
The most famous example in this context:
In 1991, Iraqi troops set fire to entire oil fields in order not to leave them to the soldiers of the international coalition. These environmental pollutions also have long-term consequences. For example, it has been shown in Iraq that the effects of the war in 2003 until today increase the number of cancers. The animals also suffer from armed conflicts, even if they are not directly hit by bombs or rifles. For example, the number of elephants in some crisis areas in Africa fell by up to 90 percent.
So far, the Geneva Convention only protects people
The reasons for this are diverse. For one thing, armed groups in such cases often invade otherwise uninhabited areas. This reduces the habitat of the animals. In addition, in the case of conflict, the proliferation of weapons – which also brings with it the possibility of illegal hunting.
The government, in turn, usually no longer has the resources to protect the animals in such cases. All in all, it can therefore be said that animals and plants suffer from wars as do humans. The Geneva Convention, however, does not reflect this. For there are regulations for the protection of civilians, wounded and prisoners of war – there is no talk of nature. However, 24 renowned researchers now want to change that.
The UN is discussing better environmental protection
They demanded in an open letter to brand the destruction of nature as a war crime. The occasion is a meeting of the United Nations International Law Commission. There should be talked about how the environment can be better protected in the event of armed conflict. The world community has already agreed on 28 principles in principle.
However, it is still unclear what will happen if conflict parties violate it. If the protection of nature were included in the Geneva Convention, generals and politicians could subsequently be charged with the destruction of nature at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.