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

22
The Entry into Force of the Ottawa Treaty
1 March 1999

On 1 March 1999, the Ottawa treaty entered into force and became binding international law. While 123 States had signed the treaty in Ottawa, Canada, in December 1997, their signature was essentially a political commitment to ratify the treaty at a later date. To enter into force and become a legally binding instrument, forty States had to notify the Secretary-General of the United Nations formally that they were ready to be bound by the treaty. Burkina Faso became the fortieth State to submit an instrument of ratification and in accordance with its provisions, the Ottawa treaty became binding upon these 40 States six months later. This marked the fastest entry into force of a multilateral arms-related treaty and established a new international norm governing anti-personnel mines. Events marking the treaty's entry into force were held throughout the world. At the United Nations in Geneva, States marked the occasion with a ceremony and met to prepare the first meeting of States Parties.


Statement of Eric Roethlisberger
Vice-President, International Committee of the Red Cross
Ceremony on the
entry into force of the treaty banning anti-personnel mines
Palais des Nations, Geneva
1 March 1999

When the torrential rains of Hurricane Mitch finally stopped pounding the Matagalpa region in northern Nicaragua four months ago, Degliz Lopez and his friend Celestin Murilto rode their bicycles to the Esquirin river to view the damage. The river had swelled to eight times its normal width; a well-known

-624-

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