Practice Relating to Rule 43. Application of General Principles on the Conduct of Hostilities to the Natural Environment
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states: “It is also forbidden to use methods or means which cause extensive, long-lasting and serious damage to the natural environment, or which may be expected to cause such damage.”
In its chapter on non-international armed conflict, the manual states:
The natural environment
Areas (of land or sea) may be attacked only if they are a military objective and may be occupied or used for military purposes only if a military need for this exists. Where this occurs, or other military objectives are attacked, damage to the natural environment must be limited.
Under the International Crimes Act (2003) of the Netherlands, “intentionally launching an attack in the knowledge that such an attack will cause … widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment which would be clearly excessive in relation to the concrete and direct overall military advantage anticipated” is a crime, when committed in an international armed conflict.