S-Space College of Law/Law School (법과대학/대학원) The Law Research Institute (법학연구소) 법학 법학 Volume 45, Number 1/4 (2004)
주한미군의 환경책임과 SOFA의 후속협약
Environmental Responsibility of U.S. Army in Korea and SOFA`s Subsequent Agreement
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 법학연구소
- 법학, Vol.45 No.3, pp. 94-118
- The problem of environmental degradation resulting from U.S. armys facilities and areas may be justifiably deemed an inevitable cost to be paid by Korea that needs U.S. armys presence for its national security. It would be attractive but not wise if the Korean government would take advantage of Korean peoples recent anti-American sentiment in order to eradicate sources of the problem. The focus of discussion must be put on figuring out the way how to minimize the cost and to reasonably resolve the problem. A few options are legally thinkable. First, public international law does not seem to be a reliable source on which to resolve the problem. The content of relevant international law is ambiguous, not to mention that international law in general is characterized with its weak normative force. Furthermore, Korea depends so much on the U. S. both diplomatically and militarily that the former can hardly file a lawsuit against the latter in international courts. Second, relying on Korean domestic environmental law is so unilateral that Korea cannot choose it. On the other hand, relying on U.S. domestic environmental law is not recommendable because the prospect for a favorable decision by the U.S. courts is still dim. The final option is to build up a formal system on which two countries can resolve the problem amicably by explicitly concluding bilateral agreement. Korea and the U.S. have taken this path to successfully create modus operandi to resolve the problem of environmental degradation. In SOFAs subsequent agreements, the U.S., acknowledging the importance of environmental protection in the context of defense activities in Korea, has committed itself to implementing those agreements in a manner consistent with the protection of the natural environment and human health, and confirmed its policy to respect relevant Korean environmental laws, regulations, and standards. In addition, the agreements provide so concrete standards and procedures that they can contribute to effective environmental protection as well as speedy relief of victims. This example of cooperative efforts made by the two countries will give a lesson to be learned for a large numbers of host-nations of U.S. army around the world.