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    The Prohibition of Transboundary Environmental Harm

    An Analysis of the Contribution of the International Court of Justice to the Development of the No-harm Rule

    Candidate number: 213

    Submission deadline: 10 April 2014

    Number of words: 39 877

  • i

    Table of contents

    1 INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................................... 1

    1.1 Problem for discussion ................................................................................................ 1

    1.2 Background and actuality ............................................................................................ 2

    1.3 Definitions and delimitations ....................................................................................... 4

    1.3.1 Defining transboundary harm ........................................................................ 4

    1.3.2 Delimitations .................................................................................................. 5

    1.4 Methodology and sources of law ................................................................................. 6

    1.4.1 Traditional sources of international law in an environmental context ........... 6

    1.4.2 The development of international environmental law by the ICJ .................. 9

    1.4.3 Methodological challenges ........................................................................... 12

    1.5 Structure ..................................................................................................................... 13

    2 OVERVIEW OF THE EVOLUTION OF THE NO-HARM RULE .................. 16

    2.1 Conceptual origins: state sovereignty ........................................................................ 16

    2.1.1 Territorial sovereignty and the PSNR principle ........................................... 17

    2.1.2 Territorial integrity and the responsibility not to cause transboundary harm

    ...................................................................................................................... 19

    2.2 Early case law ............................................................................................................ 21

    2.2.1 Trail Smelter ................................................................................................. 21

    2.2.2 Corfu Channel .............................................................................................. 22

    2.2.3 Lac Lanoux ................................................................................................... 23

    2.2.4 Combined importance of early case law ...................................................... 24

    2.3 Soft law and multilateral treaties ............................................................................... 25

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    2.4 Case law post-Stockholm .......................................................................................... 29

    2.4.1 Nuclear Tests I ............................................................................................. 29

    2.4.2 Nuclear Tests II ............................................................................................ 33

    2.4.3 The advisory opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear

    Weapons ....................................................................................................... 36

    2.4.4 Gabčíkovo-Nagymaros ................................................................................ 39

    2.4.5 Pulp Mills ..................................................................................................... 42

    2.4.6 Summary ...................................................................................................... 44

    2.5 The ILC Articles on Prevention ................................................................................. 46

    3 SUBSTANTIVE OBLIGATIONS .......................................................................... 49

    3.1 Environmental harm further defined ......................................................................... 49

    3.2 The threshold of harm ................................................................................................ 51

    3.2.1 Establishing the threshold criterion .............................................................. 51

    3.2.2 What is “significant” harm? ......................................................................... 53

    3.3 Prevention and control of harm ................................................................................. 55

    3.4 Standard of care ......................................................................................................... 58

    3.4.1 The required level of prevention .................................................................. 58

    3.4.2 The approach taken by the ICJ ..................................................................... 63

    3.5 The due diligence standard ........................................................................................ 65

    3.5.1 General ......................................................................................................... 65

    3.5.2 Contributions of jurisprudence ..................................................................... 66

    3.6 Relationship to other environmental principles ......................................................... 70

    3.6.1 Common but differentiated responsibility ................................................... 70

    3.6.2 Sustainable development .............................................................................. 71

    3.6.3 The precautionary principle ......................................................................... 72

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    4 PROCEDURAL OBLIGATIONS .......................................................................... 76

    4.1 Environmental impact assessment ............................................................................. 76

    4.1.1 General ......................................................................................................... 76

    4.1.2 Contributions of jurisprudence ..................................................................... 78

    4.1.3 Summary ...................................................................................................... 87

    4.2 Cooperation, prior notification, consultation and negotiation ................................... 88

    4.2.1 General ......................................................................................................... 88

    4.2.2 Jurisprudence ................................................................................................ 89

    4.2.3 Summary ...................................................................................................... 92

    4.3 The relationship between substantive and procedural obligations ............................ 93

    4.3.1 Procedural duties of prevention and due diligence ...................................... 93

    4.3.2 Why procedure? ........................................................................................... 96

    5 CONCLUSIONS AND OBSERVATIONS ........................................................... 98

    5.1 The no-harm rule lex lata ........................................................................................... 98

    5.1.1 Legal status ................................................................................................... 98

    5.1.2 Legal content ................................................................................................ 99

    5.1.3 Appraisal .................................................................................................... 101

    5.2 The role of the ICJ ................................................................................................... 103

    5.3 Prospects for future contributions ............................................................................ 106

    5.3.1 Aerial Herbicide Spraying .......................................................................... 107

    5.3.2 Two pending cases between Nicaragua and Costa Rica ............................ 109

    6 FUTURE CHALLENGES .................................................................................... 112

    6.1 Application of the no-harm rule in a climate change context .................................. 112

    6.2 Legal standing and erga omnes ............................................................................... 116

  • iv

    BIBLIOGRAPHY ............................................................................................................ 120

    TREATY LAW ................................................................................................................ 130

    DOMESTIC LAW ........................................................................................................... 133

    CASE LAW ...................................................................................................................... 134

    DECLARATIONS, RESOLUTIONS, REPORTS ETC. ............................................. 142

    WEB PAGES .................................................................................................................... 145

  • 1

    1 Introduction

    1.1 Prob

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