5th Geneva Convention

Forensic Architecture

The transformation of the environment, whether through construction or destruction, has always been part of human conflict. What has changed since the invention of atmospheric warfare in the early twentieth century is the capacity to mobilize the environment as both a medium and an agent of violence. In the aftermath of the ecological devastation of the Gulf War, activists and scholars convened a 5th Geneva Convention to call for legal protection of the environment in times of armed conflict. Existing mechanisms only offered protection to the environment in as far as the environment would be implicated in human loss, thus failing to effectively secure the protection of ecological systems per se. the increasing legislation of the environment does not mean that nature is being pushed outside spaces of conflict, but precisely the opposite. The inscription of the environment into the codes and practices of law reveals a deeper incorporation of nature into the means by which violence and rights violations take place. In the context of anthropocenic geopolitical conflicts, intersections between contemporary military, humanitarian, legal, and scientific practices raised by the 5th Geneva Convention are more pertinent than ever.