Workshop – Exploring a legal framework for Toxic Remnants of War – click for more information and registration

Posted by on Feb 28, 2012 in Events | 3 Comments
Workshop – Exploring a legal framework for Toxic Remnants of War – click for more information and registration

THIS EVENT HAS NOW PASSED: A full report including copies of presentations made can be found at this link.

Growing awareness of the potential for military activities to damage the environment has triggered an ongoing discussion directed at increasing the protection of the environment during armed conflict. This has been informed by International Humanitarian Law (IHL), Environmental and Human Rights Law and domestic environmental norms.

Civil society concern over the long-term health and environmental impact of toxic or hazardous substances released during military activities has now led to the launch of the Toxic Remnants of War Project. The project will analyse the role and impact of toxic military materials and seek to assess whether the concept could provide a framework for the synthesis of existing law.

Could an approach be inspired by CCW Protocol V on explosive remnants of war, with particular focus on state obligations for the post-conflict management of contamination? Could specific military materials or activities be more tightly regulated, and if so how? Should attention focus only on contamination or environmental damage that is incidental, rather than deliberate? Is there a role for the Precautionary Principle and how could domestic environmental norms inform a TRW process? Finally, how could a TRW approach fit into the existing understanding of the consequences of war, peace building and jus post bellum?


The primary aim of the workshop is to examine the potential for phrasing a legal approach on TRW. A TRW approach would seek to consider the use, health impact and environmental behaviour of a range of substances, including heavy metals, chemical obscurants, explosives and propellants, fuels and other conflict residues.

Work is underway on a definition of TRW but much remains to be done on documenting both the range of toxics that could be considered as TRW and their potential civilian and environmental impact. Nevertheless, there is merit in running a parallel exploration of the feasibility of a legal approach to the issue. The breadth and novelty of the subject has encouraged us to aim for an interdisciplinary workshop, starting with IHL and reaching out to domestic environmental law and we hope that the event will offer an opportunity for informal brainstorming. The TRW Project is grateful for the financial support of the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Session I – Introduction 10 -12:00
Prof. Manfred Mohr TRW Legal Project, Berlin – Welcome and opening.
Prof. Michael Bothe Emeritus, Goethe University, Frankfurt a. Main – Protection of the environment in and after armed conflict: overview and trends.
Doug Weir TRW Project, Manchester –  Introducing the TRW Project.
Chair: Robin Borrmann International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA)

Session II – Framework and general standards 13 -14:30
Mohamed Ghalaieny TRW Project, Manchester – Defining toxic remnants of war: sources, properties and examples.
Dr. Robert Heinsch
University of Leiden – Toxic remnants of war and the prohibition to cause excessive collateral damage to the environment.
Dr. Karen Hulme Essex University – IHL standards for toxic remnants of war?
Chair:  Dr. Gerhard Ahlbrecht, European Organisation of Military Associations (EUROMIL)

Session III – Scenarios and perspectives 15 -16:30
Dr. Wybe Douma
T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague – The Precautionary Principle’s relevance to toxic remnants of war.
Lisa Goldman
Environmental Law Institute, Washington, DC – Natural resources, toxic remnants of war and post-conflict peace building.
Prof. Manfred Mohr
TRW Legal Project – A legal definition and the regulation of toxic remnants of war.
Chair: Dr. Heike Spieker German Red Cross (Berlin)

Session IV – Concluding Panel: TRW as a legal and political concept 16.30-17.30
Prof. Michael Bothe

Dr. Karen Hulme
Lisa Goldman

Prof. Manfred Mohr
Chair: Arjen Vermeer Netherlands Red Cross, (The Hague)

17:30 – drinks and refreshments


To register for the event please complete and submit the online form below. Registration is open until June 15th, but can still take place when arriving at the workshop. The registration fee is EUR20 / EUR10 (students), to be paid upon arrival.

Papers and other (written) contributions as well as proposals for topics or other suggestions can be submitted until June 4th. The organisers can recommend local accommodation options. Lunch and coffee are provided.

The workshop will take place in the Senate Assembly Hall (Akademischer Senatssaal): 1st Floor Henry-Ford-Building, Freie Universität Berlin, Garystraße 35, 14195 Berlin Dahlem.


TRW legal workshop registration

To register for the Exploring a Legal Framework for Toxic Remnants of War Workshop, please complete and submit the form below.
  • Thank you for registering for the Berlin workshop, if you have further questions or require any more information please contact Alex Stocker at
  • Your organisation or institution
  • If you require recommendations on local accommodation, have dietary requirements or accessibility needs please make a note here.


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