Anti-personnel Landmines: Friend or Foe?
A Study of the Military Use and Effectiveness of
Commissioned by the International Committee of the
Red Cross, March 1996
The study, commissioned by the ICRC on the military use and effectiveness of anti-personnel mines, was to become one of the key tools in the ICRC's campaign in favour of the total prohibition of anti-personnel mines, counteracting the widely held perception that landmines were essential weapons of high military value. The study was largely written by retired Brigadier-General Patrick Blagden and includes conclusions by an international group of military commanders. These military commanders concluded that 'The limited military utility of AP mines is far outweighed by the appalling humanitarian consequences of their use in actual conflicts. On this basis their prohibition and elimination should be pursued as a matter of utmost urgency by governments and the entire international community.'
The study's conclusions were adopted by consensus by a dozen military officers and have since been endorsed in a personal capacity by more than fifty senior military officers from nineteen countries. The information in the study was drawn only from open sources, as the ICRC does not have access to classified material. The ICRC continues to welcome written comments and additional information, particularly case studies, to corroborate or contradict the material presented in the study, for use in future discussions. Presented below is the executive summary of the study. The full document can be obtained through the ICRC.
It has been generally assumed that anti-personnel landmines are an indispensable weapon of war, and that their indiscriminate effects can be moderated