UC Law SF International Law Review


The purpose of this research is to explore how an international framework could be developed in order to safeguard large dams against sabotage by nonstate actors, such as terrorist organizations or hostile civilians. The necessity of an international security agreement to manage dams as a global security threat will be clearly substantiated via an analysis of three determinants: the possible magnitude of dam failure, the inadequacies of international law to regulate asymmetric warfare, and the evolving threat of dam sabotage in the developing world. Subsequently, various legal components and regulatory mechanisms from an existing international agreement will be considered with regard to their adaption in a hypothetical security resolution. Specifically, I will argue that the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 serves as an exemplary model for an international security agreement to safeguard potentially dangerous dams from sabotage. This assertion will be conveyed through a detailed analysis of the resolution’s background, design, binding nature, role in existing legal regime, political buy-in, state-level implementation, and compliance scheme. Furthermore, certain limitations and criticisms of this argument will be intermittently addressed as they pertain to the aforementioned elements and theoretical international agreement on dam security.