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

1
Introduction

At the closing of the First Review Conference of the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the Canadian Ambassador announced his country's intention to convene a strategy meeting of States supporting a total prohibition of anti-personnel mines later in the year. The Canadiansponsored strategy conference, 'Towards a Global Ban on Anti-Personnel Mines', took place in Ottawa in October 1996 with the active support of fifty governments, the ICRC, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and the United Nations.

On 5 October 1996, the conference adopted the Ottawa Declaration, which committed the participants to working to ensure that a ban treaty was concluded at the earliest possible date and to carrying out a plan of action intended to increase resources for mine clearance and victim assistance. At the end of the conference, the Canadian government once again seized the initiative by inviting all governments to come to Ottawa in December 1997 to sign a treaty prohibiting the production, stockpiling, transfer and use of anti-personnel mines. The 'Ottawa process' had been officially launched.

International support for a ban on landmines continued to build. In December 1996, the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 51/45S, which called upon all countries to conclude a new international agreement totally prohibiting anti-personnel mines 'as soon as possible'. A total of 157 countries voted in favour of this resolution, none opposed it, and only 10 abstained from voting. To support the Ottawa process, the Austrian government prepared a draft text of the ban treaty and circulated it to interested governments and organizations. This draft, which was subsequently revised a number of times, was the basis of the ban treaty concluded in Oslo in September 1997.

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