The Laws of Armed Conflicts: A Collection of Conventions, Resolutions, and Other Documents

By Dietrich Schindler; Jiri Toman | Go to book overview

No. 20
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

Adopted at Geneva, 10 October 1980

INTRODUCTORY NOTE:

Convention: For historical origins, see note introducing the Final Act of the United Nations Conference of 1980 (No. 19). The Convention is a pure umbrella containing general provisions but no prohibition of weapons. Prohibitions of weapons are the object of the Protocols annexed to the Convention. The Convention can be adhered to only by states, which express their consent to be bound by at least two of the Protocols (Article 4, para. 3, of the Convention). On 21 December 2001 the Second Review Conference of states parties adopted an amendment to Article 1 which extends the application of the Convention and its Protocols to non-international armed conflicts, Previously, only Protocol I as amended on 3 May 1996 applied to such situations. The new version of Article 1 has not yet entered into force (see note 4 to Article 1 on p. 185).

Protocols I-III: In 1980, three Protocols were adopted and annexed to the Convention. Protocol I (p. 190) prohibits the use of any weapon whose primary effect is to injure by fragments that in the human body escape detection by X-rays. Protocol II (pp. 191–195) contains a set of restrictions on the use of mines, booby traps and similar devices. It was replaced by an Amended Protocol in 1996. Protocol III (pp. 210–211) restricts the use of incendiary weapons. Protocol II as amended and Protocol IV were adopted at the First Review Conference, held in 1995 and 1996. Protocol 13 as amended on 3 May 1996 (pp. 196–209) replaces the original Protocol 13 in the relations between its parties. It introduces various improvements. However, no agreement could be reached on a total prohibition of the use of anti-personnel land mines. Such a prohibition was realized by the Ottawa Convention of 18 September 1997 (No. 23), concluded outside the framework of the 1980 Convention. Protocol IV on blinding laser weapons (p. 212) was adopted on 13 October 1995. Further protocols, among them one on explosive remnants of war, are in preparation.

ENTRY INTO FORCE:

Conventions and Protocols I-III: 2 December 1983. The amendment to Article 1, adopted on 21 December 2001, has not yet entered into force (see note 4 to Article 1 on p. 185). The Protocols enter into force as provided for in Article 5, paragraphs 3 and 4, of the Convention. Amendments are subject to the same rules (Article 8, para. 19(b) of the Convention).

Protocol II as amended on 3 May 1996: 3 December 1998.

Protocol IV: 30 July 1998.

AUTHENTIC TEXTS:

Convention and Protocols I-III: see indications under No. 19.

-181-

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