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Argentina's Request for Provisional Measures and the Precautionary Principle in the Pulp Mills Dispute at the International Court of Justice Open Access

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For several years Argentina and Uruguay fought at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) regarding the construction of pulp mills in Uruguayan territory on the banks of the River Uruguay. Argentina unsuccessfully asked the Court for provisional (interim) measures to avoid imminent environmental damages it believed stemmed from the factories' construction and operation. This thesis analyzes that request under the precautionary principle of international environmental law. It sketches the evolution and status of the precautionary principle; discusses relevant decisions of international bodies and tribunals; and analyzes written submissions and oral arguments at the provisional measures phase, as well as the Court's Order and Judge Vinuesa's Dissenting Opinion. It concludes that Argentina's arguments on imminent damage and the precautionary principle should have been better conceived and executed. Also the Court should have clarified the importance of environmental protection and the status and application of the principle of precaution in international law.

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