Legal Remedies for Transboundary Pollution
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Michael Faure and Song Ying
Chapter 3: The Role of International Conventions in Solving Transboundary Pollution Disputes
James Harrison1 1 INTRODUCTION The Case Concerning the Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay is the latest dispute to come before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which raises issues of environmental protection and transboundary pollution.2 The case involves the construction of pulp mills in Uruguay which Argentina alleges will have negative eﬀects for the environment and the ecosystem of the River Uruguay. Through authorizing the pulp mills, Argentina claims that Uruguay has violated its procedural and substantive obligations under the 1975 Statute on the River Uruguay.3 It is this treaty that forms the basis of the Argentine application to the ICJ. On the face of it, the dispute concerns a single bilateral treaty between Argentina and Uruguay. However, the wider framework of international environmental law is also relevant to the settlement of the dispute. This analysis will consider the various ways in which other international instruments may be used to interpret and apply the 1975 Statute. In addition, the dispute illustrates potential problems caused by the wellknown phenomenon of the fragmentation of international law. This analysis will therefore also consider the multi-faceted nature of the dispute, 1 Thanks to Professor Alan Boyle, Professor Toru Iwama and Jill Robbie for constructive comments on a previous draft of this chapter. Any mistakes are, of course, attributable to the author. 2 Other cases which touched on environmental protection include the Icelandic Fisheries Cases (1974) ICJ Reports 3; the Nuclear Tests Cases (1974) ICJ Reports 253 and 457; the Legality of Nuclear...
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