Practice Relating to Rule 45. Causing Serious Damage to the Natural Environment
Section A. Widespread, long-term and severe damage
In its counter memorial submitted to the ICJ in the Nuclear Weapons (WHO) case
, India stated: “The customary as well as conventional law of war prohibits the use of methods and means of warfare that may cause widespread, long-term and severe damage to the environment.”
According to the Report on the Practice of India, although Indian military and police regulations do not explicitly refer to the protection of the natural environment in times of internal conflict, the obligation to maintain public order can be interpreted as including the prevention of a serious threat to the natural environment. Furthermore, the report maintains that such an approach would be in line with an extensive interpretation of the right to life and personal freedom under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution and the relevant jurisprudence of the Indian Supreme Court.