The Banning of Anti-Personnel Landmines: The Legal Contribution of the International Committee of the Red Cross

By Louis Maresca; Stuart Maslen | Go to book overview

5
Meetings of governmental experts to prepare the
Review Conference 1994–1995

Four meetings of governmental experts were convened in preparation for the Review Conference of the 1980 Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May be Deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (1980 CCW). The ICRC was asked to prepare a report on the issues it believed States needed to address with respect to weapons, particularly mines, within the context of the 1980 Convention. In its formal report submitted to the first meeting of the group of governmental experts, the ICRC set out the issues. Giving the example of the general respect for the prohibition of the use of chemical weapons, the ICRC pointed out that merely restricting the use of the weapon would be less effective than prohibiting it entirely.

Addressing the need for a total ban on anti-personnel mines, the ICRC warned States that a careful definition of anti-personnel mines was essential. Sadly, the issue of the definition of the weapon would become a point of contention in the subsequent negotiations. Short of a total ban, a series of possible options were outlined for consideration by States Parties, including making all mines detectable and self-destructing or self-neutralizing. Yet even these relatively modest measures would not be acceptable to all States Parties. Finally, the ICRC stressed the importance of incorporating implementation mechanisms in the 1980 Convention.

During the later meetings, the ICRC made several specific proposals. Most notable are its calls for a prohibition on the use of anti-personnel mines and a ban on the manufacture, stockpiling and transfer of antipersonnel mines and non-detectable anti-vehicle mines. An obligation to destroy stockpiles, and requirements upon parties to a conflict to take certain action for the safety of humanitarian workers and activities were also submitted.

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