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

244. It is clear from the preceding chapters that several categories of weapon tend to cause excessive suffering and particularly severe injuries or may, either by their nature or because of the way in which they are commonly used, strike civilians and combatants indiscriminately.

245. One example is provided by high-velocity ammunition for small arms. Although the use of the presently known projectiles in this category appears to offer some military advantages, these must be weighed against the fact – of which there is insufficient awareness – that they typically cause injuries much in excess of what is needed to put a combatant out of action.

246. Another example is provided by the fragmentation weapons. Weapons of this category cause the greatest number of casualties in modern armed conflicts. Hence evolution in this area of weaponry is of especial importance. It is obvious that the trend towards weapons which fragment into vast numbers of small fragments, and are susceptible of covering large areas, increases the risk of multiple injuries and the possibility that civilians will be affected.

247. Mention should next be made of incendiary weapons with the suffering they entail and the massive destruction they have sometimes brought about. Certain uses of antipersonnel mines and other time-delayed action weapons likewise can lead to indiscriminate effects and injuries far in excess of what is required to put combatants out of action.

248. The facts compiled in the report in regard to these and other weapons speak for themselves and call for intergovernmental review and action. Such action might be justified particularly in respect of two types of weapon apart from incendiaries, namely, high-velocity small arms ammunition and certain fragmentation weapons. The risks involved in their rapid proliferation and use would seem to constitute good reasons for intergovernmental discussions concerning these weapons with a view to possible restrictions upon their operational use or even prohibition. It is appreciated that the technical difficulties involved in such discussion are considerable. Nevertheless, even in this regard, it would appear that several approaches to the solution of these problems may be open.


NOTES

For technical reasons, the notes originally appearing as footnotes to the individual documents are reproduced in this volume as endnotes; the numbering of the notes will also be different from that of the original text, which may not be printed in its entirety.

1
Austria: Bundesministerium für Landesverteidigung: Grundsätze des Kriegsvölkerrechts, Anhang B der Truppenführung (TF), 1965 (pp. 253, 254); France: Décret Nº 66–749 du 1er octobre 1966 portant règlement de discipline générale

-43-

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