Practice Relating to Rule 45. Causing Serious Damage to the Natural Environment
In 1991, in a letter to the UN Secretary-General, Iraq affirmed that it was willing “to do everything to protect the environment and natural resources and not to exploit them as a weapon in times of armed conflict” and drew attention to the “appalling environmental damage caused by coalition forces in Kuwait and Iraq”.
A similar statement was made in 1991 during a debate in the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly on the environmental impact of the Gulf War.
According to the Report on the Practice of Iraq, “it is not permissible to violate the existing environmental system” and “to use it as a means of oppression”. The report concludes that “the violation of this principle is considered a war crime”.