"War often destroys the environment – either directly when armies poison foliage as a military strategy or indirectly, when toxins leak from bombed industrial sites. In the “Toxic Crimes Project,” we examine how rights advocates—lawyers, experts, and activists—protect the environment from wartime environmental destruction, how they promote the idea that the environment has legally enforceable rights, and how they expand international legal mechanisms (at the ICC and ILC) to protect the environment during war. In this lecture, Van der Vet presents case studies from the project. Based on several pilot-interviews with lawyers and NGO activists, the lecture examines legal activism against environmental destruction during the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. The Donbas region in Eastern Ukraine is one of Europe’s most heavily industrialized areas. Before the conflict broke out, the region already coped with heavy pollution from its industry and coal sector. Some of these heavy industry sites have been unstable or fraught with safety issues. Many of these industrial sites in the Donbas region are located in the immediate vicinity of the front line of the conflict. The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has damaged many of these sites, for instance the Zasyadko coal mine and the Lysychyansk oil refinery, polluting the air and contaminating water supplies, and, as a result, damaging human health and ecosystems for years to come."
The link to register for the lecture can be found on the CREECA website here.