CYIL vol. 11 (2020)

CYIL 11 (2020) THE NEW TREND OF INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW … limited fields and as main feature, follow application in pursuance of the particular objectives and proposals exclusively belonging to a given regime. However, it is necessary to stress that a self-contained regime it is not “hermeneutically sealed against bad weather” 19 , meaning that it could not be dissociated from the founding principles of general international law. For instance, a self-contained regime may not violate peremptory norms of international law. In the words of Math Noortmann: Regime theorists have not adhered to either one of the narrow definitions. For analysing normative and political processes within a given framework, there is no need to “hermeneutically seal [our object of research] against bad weather”. Regimes, including self-contained ones, do function in a larger system where they interact with other regimes. As social constructs, regimes can only be analysed within, and in comparison, to that larger setting 20 . It may be put forward that international environmental law falls perfectly within this conception, for every evidence of a single object and a uniform proposal qualify it as a self- contained regime. What is realized, then, is that general international law shall focus on particular interest fields (international environmental law being one), establishing as many regimes as necessary, a process which is certain to occur in a natural and unsurprisingly way. 21 3. The Development of International Environmental Law International environmental law is considered an autonomous, emergent area of general international law, one of the newest and most relevant fields of legal analysis. Detailed examination of the current context of treaties, custom and principles on the environment suggests international environmental law has become a distinct, compartmentalized field, with its particular rules and principles, but also characteristics, processes, concepts and methodologies which make for its identification among other fields of law and of international law. 22 This contextualization, however, is very distinct from the former opinion great scholars held to, as Ian Brownlie, who three decades ago even defined international environmental law as the mere application of international law to environmental problems. 23 Yet, as discussed above, the characteristics of international environmental law go way beyond such simplistic reasoning for, in the present, these clearly demonstrate the establishment of a self-contained regime, taken absolutely far from Brownlie’s perception. Nevertheless, using current sources and concepts of international law, and considering the large number of institutional and non-governmental organizations involved, an identifiable, specific regulatory environmental regime emerges, which can finally be acknowledged international environmental law . 24 19 CRAWFORD, James ,The International LawCommission’s Articles onResponsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts: A Retrospect. American Journal of International Law , 96, 4, 2002, 18. 20 NOORTMANN, Math, Enforcing International Law: from self-help to self-contained regimes (Ashgate 2005) 129. 21 Pulkowski and Simma (n 10) 504. 22 Bodansky, Brunée and Hey (n 1) 5. 23 BROWNLIE, Ian ‘Editor’s Preface’, in Brian D. Smith, State Responsibility and the Marine Environment: the rules of decision (Clarendon 1998) ix. 24 BIRNIE, Patricia, ‘International Environmental Law: Adequacy for Present and Future Needs’, in Andrew


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