A Clear and Comprehensive Ban on Antipersonnel Landmines
A public stockpile destruction event (Colombia, 2004.) Colombia has completed the destruction of its stockpiles of antipersonnel mines in 2004. Photo: C. Serna
We closely monitor respect of the Mine Ban Treaty's prohibitions
States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty must not use, develop, produce, acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer antipersonnel mines. The ICBL, through its Landmine Monitor initiative, closely monitors the respect of these prohibitions. Over 10 years after the adoption of the Mine Ban Treaty, only a handful of states (not party to the treaty) and non-state armed groups continue to use antipersonnel landmines. A dozen states not party to the treaty still produce antipersonnel landmines or have reserved the right to do so. Trade has come to a virtual halt.
Under Article 4 of the Mine Ban Treaty, each State Party is obligated to destroy all stockpiled antipersonnel mines it owns or possesses, or that are under its jurisdiction or control, as soon as possible but no later than four years after the entry into force of the treaty for that State Party.
Mines Retained – What Are They Used For?
The Mine Ban Treaty allows States Parties to keep or transfer antipersonnel mines for training and research in mine clearance (Article 3). The number of mines retained should “not exceed the minimum number absolutely necessary”. In fact, we encourage States Parties to keep none at all, since training and research do not necessarily depend on using live mines. States retaining mines should declare the intended purposes and actual uses of these mines. States that retain antipersonnel mines and do not use them for permitted purposes abuse the exception permitted by Article 3.
Definition of Antipersonnel Mines
The ICBL asks States Parties to reconfirm that according to the definitions in the treaty (Article 2), any mine equipped with a fuze that causes the mine to explode from an unintentional or innocent act of a person is considered to be an antipersonnel mine and therefore banned by the treaty. Several States Parties have done so, but a small handful does not share this view.
Joint Operations and Transit
The ICBL asks States Parties to come to a common understanding of what acts are and are not permitted under Article 1(c), under which each State Party undertakes never under any circumstances to assist, encourage or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party. In particular, we urge States Parties to clarify their views on the legality of joint operations with an armed force that may use antipersonnel mines, as well as on foreign stockpiling and transit of antipersonnel mines. These acts should be considered prohibited by the Mine Ban Treaty.