Criminal Law Forum

, 22:237 | Cite as

Revitalizing the Antique War Crime of Pillage: The Potential and Pitfalls of Using International Criminal Law to Address Illegal Resource Exploitation during Armed Conflict

  • Larissa van den HerikEmail author
  • Daniëlla Dam-De Jong


This article explores the potential of international criminal law in addressing the problem of illegal exploitation of natural resources in conflict areas, with a specific focus on the war crime of pillage and the prospective role of the International Criminal Court (ICC). It discusses whether the war crime of pillage can adequately capture the phenomenon of illegal exploitation of natural resources during armed conflict, or whether alternative tools or crime definitions might be more useful to address this negative phenomenon. The article examines the practice of international courts in relation to pillage charges and explores their role in prosecuting the illegal exploitation of natural resources. It concludes with some thoughts on whether the revival of the crime of pillage should be perceived as the panacea to the problem of “resource conflicts” or whether it is rather an empty shell.


Security Council International Criminal Court Rome Statute Trial Chamber Joint Criminal Enterprise 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Public International Law, Grotius Centre for International Legal StudiesLeiden University/Campus The HagueThe HagueThe Netherlands

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