A comparative examination of the African and South pacific radioactive waste management regimes

Published: Ιαν 15, 2023
Radioactive waste; toxic waste exportation and importation; Basel Convention on Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes; Bamako Convention; Waigani Convention; trafficking in radioactive waste; international crimes; transnational criminal liability.
Konstantinos D. Magliveras

The article examines and compares, from a legal/regulatory point of view, the regimes for the management of radioactive waste in Africa and the South Pacific. Due to their vastness, both regions are attractive for dumping/storing radioactive waste. Regarding Africa, the article examines the Bamako Convention (1991), as reinforced by the right to a general satisfactory environment favourable to peoples’ development, enshrined in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (1981). Regarding the South Pacific, it examines the Waigani Convention (1995). Since they both were established as regional regimes under the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (1989), the article appraises whether they exhibit similar characteristics, including their institutional set up, namely a Conference of the Parties. Moreover, the important question of transnational criminal liability for violating regional norms is addressed. Here Africa is a world pioneer: the prohibited under the Bamako Convention trafficking in hazardous waste is considered an international crime and alleged perpetrators face prosecution before the African Court of Justice and Hunan Rights. The fact that not all States in these two regions participate in the respective regimes is certainly problematic but is partly mitigated on account of the existence of other multilateral instruments which, directly or indirectly, prohibit or restrict the movement of radioactive wastes. The article concludes by suggesting which are the principal problems presently surrounding these two regimes.

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