Practice Relating to Rule 44. Due Regard for the Natural Environment in Military Operations
In its written statement submitted to the ICJ in the Nuclear Weapons case
in 1995, France denied the existence in contemporary international law, either as lex lata
or as lex ferenda
, of a customary principle concerning the protection of the environment in time of armed conflict. It also indicated its view that in general none of the multilateral environmental agreements were applicable in times of armed conflict.
In its written statement submitted to the ICJ in the Nuclear Tests case (Request for an Examination of the Situation)
in 1995, France argued that it was uncertain whether the precautionary principle had become a binding rule of international law. It went on to state that France does carry out an analysis of the impact of its activities on the environment, and described all the measures it took to ensure that the tests would not have a negative effect. It described these measures as being precautions that were in keeping with its obligations under international environmental law and therefore France did exercise sufficient diligence. However, it denied that the precautionary principle could have the effect of shifting the burden of proof as New Zealand asserted.