Liability issues for environmental damage caused by military aggression of a terrorist country

Keywords: ecocide, environmental terrorism, environmental damage, environmental liability, compensation for environmental damage.


The article focuses on the issues of liability for environmental damage caused by the military aggression of a terrorist country. The subject matter of the study is the impact of the consequences of military aggression against Ukraine on the state of its natural resources, the legal characterisation of these consequences in terms of liability and issues related to compensation for the damage caused. The purpose of the study is to outline the problems arising in the course of legal determination of the possibility of bringing a terrorist country which deliberately destroys natural resources to legal liability, and the difficulties arising in determining the extent of environmental damage caused. The research methods used, in particular, logical-semantic and dialectical, made it possible to consider the main features of the concept of “ecocide” as a crime against humanity and its direct connection with the genocide of the Ukrainian people.

The relevance of the topic is due to the fact that the negative environmental consequences of hostilities violate the norms of both Ukrainian and international law and have all the signs of ecocide, which is currently considered a crime exclusively at the level of national legislation. It has been concluded that it is possible to ensure the responsibility of the aggressor State for environmental damage through the establishment of a special international tribunal. The factors that make it difficult to determine the amount of environmental damage caused in order to ensure its further compensation have also been identified. These factors include: a significant area of damage; species diversity of natural resources that were damaged (soils, subsoil, water bodies, atmospheric air, flora and fauna, territories and objects of the nature reserve fund); the connection of natural resources, which contributes to the spread of negative effects on the environment; the international nature of environmental damage; the long-term consequences of environmental damage; the fact that it is impossible for state authorities and civil society activists to record the full extent of the negative environmental impact of hostilities due to the existing danger.

A conclusion has been made that it is necessary to take these factors into account when developing terminology for environmental damage caused by military actions. It has also been proposed to take a number of practical measures aimed at ensuring compensation for environmental damage, in particular: to recognise the fact of environmental terrorism as part of ecocide, which is combined with genocide of the Ukrainian people, at the national and international levels; to introduce a system of continuous monitoring and recording of the damage identified; to develop methods for assessing the impact of terrorist actions on the state of each individual natural resource, taking into account the possibility, necessary means and expected timeframe for restoration to a state suitable for their intended use; to apply political and economic levers based on international law to ensure compensation for environmental damage caused by a terrorist country.


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Author Biography

I. V. Kyrieieva, Kharkiv National University of Internal Affairs

Candidate of Law, Associate Professor.
Department of Legal Support of Entrepreneurial Activity and Financial Security.


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How to Cite
Kyrieieva, I. V. (2023) “Liability issues for environmental damage caused by military aggression of a terrorist country”, Law and Safety, 90(3), pp. 179-189. doi: 10.32631/pb.2023.3.15.

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