Legal Remedies for Transboundary Pollution
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Michael Faure and Song Ying
Michael Faure and Song Ying 1 INTERNATIONAL LAW The chapters dealing with the role of international law as a remedy against transboundary pollution pay a lot of attention to the various sources of international law. Many of the chapters in Part I (which explicitly addresses the role of international law in transboundary pollution incidents) show the number and variety of treaties that could theoretically be applied to cases of transboundary environmental pollution. However, notwithstanding this theoretical possibility, many contributions equally show that in practice it is not always that easy to ﬁnd a speciﬁc treaty with clear obligations that could lead to the establishment of state responsibility for a breach of international law. The extensive discussion of the pulp mill litigation between Uruguay and Argentina by Harrison shows that even when there is a particular treaty dealing with the relationship between both countries as far as the quality of a speciﬁc river is concerned (in casu the 1975 Statute on the River Uruguay) the speciﬁc wording is not always clear enough so that one could easily argue over whether or not an upstream country breached the particular conditions. Harrison rightly warns that even though the task of a judicial authority (like the International Court of Justice (ICJ)) is undoubtedly to interpret the text of a treaty, interpretation cannot be used as a pretext for rewriting the text of the treaty. The availability of treaties as such is, moreover, not always a guarantee that the wordings of the...
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