government--in failing to demand of private investors a comprehensive environmental impact study as a condition for approval of the project--did not enforce national environmental laws. The CEC unanimously voted to accept a staff recommendation to conduct an investigation into these allegations. It decided that the investigation should evaluate all relevant facts, including those that had taken place before NAFTA entered into force on 1 January 1994. The CEC also decided to review the public complaint mechanisms provided for in Arts. 14 and 15 of the Side Agreement in order to "further clarify" criteria and procedures under these provisions. After concerns were raised by environmental organizations that this might lead to an amendment of Arts. 14 and 15, the CEC Executive Director promised extensive public hearings before any changes were to be made. He affirmed that the review would be restricted to "clarification and further explanation" of the procedures and criteria established by the two articles in question.
For developments concerning environmental issues before the European Court of Justice, see the Report on the European Court of Justice.
In May 1996, the International Court of Environmental Arbitration and Conciliation issued its statutes. This Court, which is a nonprofit organization, was established in Mexico City in November 1994 by 28 private lawyers from 22 different countries. Its aim is to facilitate the settlement of environmental disputes between states or natural or legal persons, submitted to it by agreement of the parties to the dispute. Moreover, it is to give advisory opinions on questions of environmental law and on legal aspects of the use or protection of elements of the environment in any case of international concern, at the request of any natural or legal person, national or international, public or private, including states and local authorities.
Thomas Michael Baier Gerhard Loibl
The ILC's special rapporteur on international liability for injurious consequences arising out of acts not prohibited by international law, Julio