On going into the subject in greater detail, the ICRC was led to consider three cases of so-called “delay-action” weapons. The first is that of submarine mines, the use of which is, as we know, expressly governed by the Eighth Convention of1907. Then there are the delay-action mines which are used by armies during land operations and are, for example, buried in the ground or hidden in houses, and explode after the enemy has taken possession of the terrain. Finally, there is a third category – bombs and mines which are dropped from the air and have a delayed action in the sense that they explode after a given lapse of time or when they are touched.
Since the question of submarine mines is already governed by an international Convention, there is no call to consider it here. A legal solution of the second case, that of land mines etc., raises great di fficulties and the ICRC's study of the subject is not sufficiently advanced to enable it to propose a rule concerning it. The Committee proposes to continue its study of the question, however – and would greatly appreciate any opinions expressed with regard to it – in view of the danger to which this type of mine exposes the civilian population when they reoccupy their homes, even after peace has been re-established.
The ICRC has accordingly confined itself, for the time being, to drafting a rule referring solely to the third category, that is to say, to delay-action projectiles – having more particularly in mind the missiles of this type which would be used in “strategic” bombing. It appeared difficult, however, to prohibit the use of such weapons completely, for if they are confined to the military objectives themselves, their use is really equivalent to repeating the attack on the objective, and that being so, the justice of prohibiting them in particular might be questioned. […]
the Civilian Population in Time of War
Art. 15 — Safety measures and devices
“If the Parties to the conflict make use of mines, they are bound, without prejudice to the stipulations of the VIIIth Hague Convention of 1907, to chart minefields. The chart shall be handed over, at the close of hostilities, to the adverse Party, and also to the authorities responsible for the safety of the civilian population.”
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Publication information: Book title: The Banning of Anti-Personnel Landmines: The Legal Contribution of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Contributors: Louis Maresca - Editor, Stuart Maslen - Editor. Publisher: Cambridge University Press. Place of publication: Cambridge, England. Publication year: 2000. Page number: 17.
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