Landmine Monitor 1999

International Committee of the Red Cross

Annex to Landmine Monitor 1999
March 1999

Contribution of this Annex does not necessarily imply the association of the ICRC with views or statements made in other chapters of Landmine Monitor.

1. INTRODUCTION

The International Committee of the Red Cross is an impartial, independent and neutral humanitarian organization whose mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of war and internal violence and to provide them with assistance. It has a long history of providing medical care and treatment to war victims and in the development of international humanitarian law. The ICRC is pleased to have been invited to contribute to the Landmine Monitor project. This initiative represents another chapter in the unique relationship which has developed between governments, non-governmental organizations, international institutions and private individuals in response to the global epidemic of landmine injuries. The Landmine Monitor is an important instrument both in measuring progress in addressing the landmine crisis and in identifying the challenges which remain. It will undoubtedly be a valuable resource for all those working in this area. The ICRC has prepared this annex as a complement to other information provided in Landmine Monitor. This ICRC contribution provides an overview of the institution's mine-related activities, highlights some of the constraints facing mine action in the field and raises a number of technology-related issues which need to be addressed to ensure that the purpose and objectives of the Ottawa treaty and of the broader efforts to solve the landmines problem are not undermined by new technologies.

Humanitarian diplomacy, victim assistance and mine awareness are the three main types of mine-related work that the ICRC is involved in. The institution's recent work in each field is outlined in the following sections.

2. HUMANITARIAN DIPLOMACY

In relation to landmines, humanitarian diplomacy involves promoting adherence to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on their Destruction (the Ottawa treaty) as well as amended Protocol II of the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW). It also means assisting States in treaty implementation, working with States to ensure that the above treaties are not undermined by new technologies and advocacy on behalf of victims.

With the entry into force of the Ottawa treaty (1 March 1999) and amended Protocol II of the CCW (3 December 1998) a new set of international norms governing all landmines has been constructed. The Ottawa treaty established a comprehensive prohibition on the use, development, production, stockpile and transfer of anti-personnel (AP) mines. It mandates the destruction of AP mine stockpiles, the clearing of mined areas, and the provision of victim assistance. The treaty is a complete prescription for addressing the AP mine problem. Implementing and universalizing its provisions must become a priority for the international community. Amended Protocol II must also be widely adhered to and implemented as it sets the minimum standards for the use of all types of mines, booby traps and similar devices. It must be recognized that these devices, in addition to AP mines and unexploded ordnance, have created what is known as the global "landmines" problem.

Promoting adherence and implementation

The ICRC has long been active in the development of international humanitarian law and in promoting adherence to international humanitarian law treaties. Perhaps best known are its efforts in the preparation and negotiations of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their additional protocols of 1977. The institution was also very active in the 1979-1980 preparatory meetings for the CCW and, as an expert observer, in the 1995-96 CCW Review Conference which resulted in the adoption of its amended Protocol II on landmines, booby traps and other devices and a new protocol on blinding laser weapons (Protocol IV).

At the opening of the 1994 preparatory meetings for the CCW Review Conference the ICRC called for a complete ban on APMs. In November 1995, for the first time in its history, the institution launched a public advertising campaign promoting this comprehensive prohibition. The objectives of this campaign were simple. Inform the general public of the horrific injuries caused by these weapons and their effects on communities in war-torn countries. Influencing public opinion was a key element in helping to create the political will necessary to bring a ban treaty to fruition. To this end, the ICRC employed a variety of electronic and print tools including, publications, public service announcements, videos, a traveling exhibition, kits and archive packs for press and news media and a web site. These tools and regular contact with pro-ban governments and organizations promoting a ban treaty, particularly the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), were used to supplement the ICRC's traditional legal-political efforts and helped make this advocacy campaign a ringing success. This work continues and now focuses in particular on encouraging adherence to the Ottawa treaty in regions where significant numbers of States have not yet signed or ratified the treaty.

A variety of publications have been produced for the general public and specialized audiences including medical and military personnel and policy makers. The table below indicates some of the major publications produced and distributed by the ICRC from their date of publication through March 1999.

Publication distributed
Year published
No.
     
The Silent Menace:
Landmines in Bosnia and Herzegovina (published with UNHCR)
1998
10,118
Mines Overview - 1998
1998
8,050
Campaign Leaflet
1998
60,180
Assistance to Mine Victims
ICRC physical rehabilitation programs - 1997
1998
1,050
Banning Anti-personnel Mines:
the Ottawa Treaty Explained
1997
7,613
Military Study – Publication.
Anti-personnel Landmines - Friend or Foe?
A study on the military use and effectiveness of anti-personnel mines
1996
13,355

"Ratification Kits" for the Ottawa Treaty and for the CCW's amended Protocol II were produced in seven languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish). The former kit was distributed at the signing meeting of the Ottawa treaty in December 1997 and to State representatives throughout 1998. The kits included a short summary of the relevant treaties, useful both for the public and parliamentarians as well as guidelines for State adherence and implementation.

The ICRC also commissioned a series of advertisements for both print and electronic media. According to a 1996 estimate these advertisements had reached approximately 745 million people worldwide. A total of 10 print ads were developed, many of which appeared regularly in international press such as Time, Newsweek, The Financial Times, The Economist, Asia Week as well as local and regional publications. A total of 5 television announcements were developed and were regularly shown on international media including CNN International, BBC World, Canal Plus, Discovery International and Discovery Asia. All space for the placement of the print and television ads was donated and reflected the widespread belief that AP mines had to be stigmatized. In 1996, the value of donated ad space exceeded $2 million US.

ICRC also produced in 1998 a traveling exhibition to raise public awareness about the Ottawa treaty. Using easy to understand text, photos and graphics, it highlights and explains the main obligations of the treaty and since its inauguration in November 1998 it has been used by ICRC delegations, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and other organizations at conferences and other promotional events in Geneva, Belgrade, Mexico City and Beirut. The exhibition is available in English and Spanish and will be available in Arabic from May 1999. Organizations wishing to use the exhibit at events in their countries can contact the ICRC's Mines-Arms Unit.

Apart from the public advocacy aspects of its mines campaign, the ICRC also encouraged adherence to the Ottawa treaty and the CCW through contact with governmental authorities at national and regional levels. The ICRC organized or sponsored numerous meetings and seminars for governmental representatives. The most notable of these were the Budapest Regional Conference on Anti-personnel Mines hosted by the government of Hungary in March 1998 for defence and foreign affairs officials from 19 eastern and central European States, the Asia Regional Seminar on Anti-personnel Mines held in Manila, Philippines in July 1997 for over 30 military experts from the region and a meeting held in Harare in April 1997 for experts from countries of the Southern African Development Community. ICRC personnel also participated in scores of local, regional and international meetings on the mines issue. Many such meetings were supported with substantial amounts of ICRC documentation, videos and visual materials.

3. ASSISTANCE TO MINE VICTIMS

At the core of its activities the ICRC assists war wounded including, in many conflicts, a high proportion of mine victims. In conflict zones, the ICRC often furnishes existing health facilities with medicines, training, equipment or staff, or sets up independent ICRC medical facilities. In cooperation with National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, it often helps evacuate the wounded for treatment in first-aid posts and medical facilities. In peacetime, the ICRC provides training to medical staff for the treatment and management of war wounds. The institution also sets up physical rehabilitation programs and workshops for prosthetics production. With specific regard to the treatment of mine victims, the ICRC is very active in providing both curative care and physical rehabilitation.

3.1 Curative Care

Curative care for mine victims extends from the evacuation of the wounded all the way to the discharge from hospital. Curative care, or the lack of it, is a function of the general capacity for medical care in a society torn by war or its aftermath. In many regions of the world many mine victims die before reaching any health facility.

The ICRC is supporting health facilities treating the war-wounded, including mine-injured, in Afghanistan, Angola, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Georgia, Iraq, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Support involves direct assistance to first-aid posts, hospitals and surgical facilities, evacuation of injured to and from medical facilities as well as training in the treatment of mine injuries to nurses, doctors and surgeons. A description of the institution's work in Afghanistan and Sudan, provided below, provides a good overview of the range of its activities in this area.

In view of the major humanitarian needs in Afghanistan, the ICRC entirely supports 5 major surgical facilities: the Karte Seh and the Wazir Akbar Khan hospitals in Kabul, the Jalalabad Public Health Hospital, the Mirwais hospital in Kandahar and the Ghazni Hospital. The ICRC supplies these facilities with surgical material and medicines, and covers the cost of maintenance, fuel and staff allowances. During 1998 alone, almost 40'000 surgical cases were admitted to these hospitals. More than 17'000 were war-wounded of which almost 2'000 were injured by APMs.

In the wake of fighting in northern Afghanistan during 1997, the ICRC increased its assistance to Mazar-i-Sharif and environs by, among other things, sending an expatriate medical team to assist and train local staff at the city's main surgical hospital, Ghazni hospital. ICRC also provided training for Afghan staff at Mirwais hospital in Kandahar and organized a war-surgery seminar for over 60 surgeons in the northern provinces. Seminars on amputation techniques, stump management and prosthetic/orthotics were also held in other hospitals around the country.

People injured in southern Sudan are often transported to the hospital in Lokichokio, Kenya where ICRC has concentrated its medical activities. During its 10 years of activity, the hospital has treated nearly 12'000 war casualties, many of whom are mine victims. During 1998 the facility admitted 1,901 patients, including 914 war-wounded of which 35 were mine victims.

In Juba, southern Sudan, access to proper medical care was hampered by lack of support from national health authorities and the direct consequences of the war. Upon resuming activities in Sudan after a period of absence, the ICRC began in August 1998 work on the rehabilitation of both the dispensary and the 500-bed Juba Teaching Hospital in order to provide more comprehensive surgical care to the general public and to extend the care to the war-wounded, including mine victims. At the end of August, a six-person surgical team and a laboratory technician arrived to complete the staff already working at the hospital. Ten expatriates are currently working at the hospital. The ICRC continued to supply lifesaving, essential drugs to Juba Teaching Hospital, provide food for work for medical staff. Since August, a total of 1'696 patients including 1'071 surgical cases, among them also mine victims, have been admitted to Juba Teaching Hospital.

Surgical Guidelines

The surgical management of mine-injured patients can be a challenge to even the most competent surgeon. Wounds such as these are not seen in civilian practice and they do not correspond to any of the modern surgical specialties. In fact, the treatment of wounded people in ICRC hospitals has become a specialty in its own right.

Independent ICRC hospitals have no onward referral; the patients stay until their surgical treatment is complete. There are no specialist surgeons; general surgeons work in accordance with basic surgical principles and, as a matter of policy, with a low level of technology. Defining the "standard" of care required for treating war-wounded is difficult. However, the standard attained in ICRC hospitals provides a minimum of acceptable care whatever the circumstances. Hence the concept of "standard lists" of equipment and medicines and "standard procedures" which are promoted by the ICRC.

3.2. Physical rehabilitation

Providing a prosthesis for a mine victim is a crucial element in ensuring his or her rehabilitation and reintegration into society. In early 1999, the ICRC was running 25 physical rehabilitation programs in 13 countries: Afghanistan, Angola, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Georgia, Iraq, Kenya, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan and Uganda. The table below contains an overview of the production statistics for ICRC prosthetic/orthotic programs for those clinics operating in 1997 and 1998 including statistics on the number of prothesis specifically for mine victims.

ICRC prosthetic/orthotic programs : production statistics for 1997 and 1998

Countries New Fittings

(1)

Prostheses (2) Prostheses for

Mine Victims

Orthoses

(3)

Crutches Wheelchairs
Afghanistan
4,300
8,844
6,617
6,934
13,926
1,384
Angola
1,750
3,859
1,714
44
4,381
0
Azerbaijan
509
722
151
182
1,781
0
D.R. Congo (4)
66
68
8
0
0
0
Cambodia
910
2,555
2,395
125
7,090
0
Georgia
768
1,339
302
34
753
0
Iraq
4, 449
5,265
2,898
3,215
136
0
Kenya
414
533
82
396
1,266
0
Rwanda
104
125
23
403
387
13
Tadjikistan (4)
0
0
0
0
0
0
Uganda (4)
21
21
7
14
0
0
Total
13,291
23,331
14,197
11,347
29,720
1,397

(1) A "NEW FITTING" is a new patient or a new file which is counted only once in the statistics. When a patient receives a second prosthesis, this second prosthesis is counted in the column "PROSTHESES"

(2) A "PROSTHESIS" replaces a missing limb

(3) An "ORTHOSIS" supports a weak limb

In addition to the 25 programs it runs today, the ICRC continues to assist physical rehabilitation projects formerly run by it, but which have now been handed over to local organizations, government ministries, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies or non-governmental organizations. Resources for this assistance comes from the ICRC-administered Special Fund for the Disabled (SFD). During 1998, 33 projects benefited from material, technical assistance and training from the SFD and in total they produced some 8,134 prostheses and orthoses and 4,249 pairs of crutches, the majority for war-wounded including mine victims. Benefiting from this support were clinics in Chad, Colombia, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Syria, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

A continuing ICRC objective is to set up training programs for local technicians to ensure continuity after the ICRC withdraws from a project. All these programs are run in cooperation with local partner organizations, mostly ministries of health and social welfare, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and private foundations.

4. MINE AWARENESS

The ICRC has operated mine awareness programs, since 1996, in Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. During 1998, mine awareness surveys were also carried out in Georgia, Sudan, Uganda and Afghanistan. New mine awareness programs were launched in Georgia and in the region of Nagorni Karabach in early 1999. The sections below highlight some of the institution's major programs in this field.

4.1 Azerbaijan

The ICRC's program in Azerbaijan, carried out as a project delegated to the Swedish Red Cross Society, is directed towards those living in front-line areas and in settlements for the displaced. The first phase of this program focussed on alerting the population to the danger of mines and to the mine problem in the area. Ten different relief agencies took part in the distribution of mine awareness material, and information was also handed out through the armed forces. Over 28,000 leaflets were distributed in seed kits between 1996 and 1998. More than 110,000 families received mine awareness information during spring and summer 1997. So far, 18,000 posters have been displayed in front-line villages and in settlements for displaced people.

The second phase aims at bringing more specific information and knowledge to the community. Since early autumn 1997, schoolchildren in front-line schools and in schools for the internally displaced have been targeted through mine awareness training given by their teachers. They have also received stickers, posters, timetables and exercise books bearing a mine awareness message. In late 1998 and as an additional tool for mine awareness training, an animated cartoon was produced on the subject of mine awareness So far, ICRC mine awareness officers have trained nearly 9,000 teachers in eight districts along the front-line and in areas throughout the country where internally displaced people have settled. More than 120,000 children will eventually be reached.

ICRC Mine awareness Teacher Training Presentations - Azerbaijan October 1997- December 1998

Date number of schools teachers attended  copybooks distributed
Oct. - Dec. 1997 83 1,832 30,177
Jan-March 1998 74 1,952 26,162
April-June 1998 85 1,649 25,240
July-Sept 1998 28 623 8,277
Oct. - Dec. 1998 189 2,244 23,489
Total  459 8,300 113,345

4.2 Bosnia and Herzegovina

Launched in the spring of 1996, the ICRC mine awareness program in Bosnia and Herzegovina consists of four components:

- a community-based approach which seeks to encourage local communities to initiate mine awareness activities in their areas tailored to their own needs. For example, local Red Cross volunteers have organized summer camps focusing on mine awareness and first aid, theater shows for children, etc. Today, a dozen paid staff and more than 120 volunteers are implementing activities throughout the country;

- a mass media campaign which involves the distribution of leaflets, posters and brochures, plus 11 radio spots and 6 TV spots. Supported by local media which broadcast or publish mine awareness messages, it is backed up by mass distribution of information materials in the communities at risk;

- a data-gathering component in which the ICRC - the only organization to do so - systematically gathers information on mine victims, including data on age, gender and activity at the time of injury. The data gathered should help the ICRC to improve targeting of future activities;

- a school-based program which, thanks to nearly universal school attendance, reaches the majority of children through the classroom. The ICRC has developed a school curriculum which is currently being implemented in Bosnian schools in cooperation with the Ministry of Education. In addition, it launched a nationwide drawing and essay competition in January 1997. The competition was intended to raise children's awareness of the dangers of mines and UXO and mobilize local communities, including Red Cross branches. Schools located in mine-affected areas and schools attended by children living in mine-affected villages were given priority for the competition.

The role of the two entity Red Cross organizations in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the implementation of the Program and ensuring of its sustainability in the years to come is being enhanced by the development of their structures.

ICRC Data on Mine Victims

In Sarajevo, the ICRC operates a database where it stores information about people killed or injured by landmines during and after the war. The database provides details about the date and place of mine incidents, who was involved, what they were doing at the time and the extent of the injuries sustained. By 31 December 1998 it contained information on 3'862 people. Although the database is generally considered to be the largest and most detailed record of mine victims in Bosnia and Herzegovina, this figure represents only a fraction of the total number of people affected. This is because it is difficult to comprehensively record mine casualties and, especially during the war, few hospitals kept any such records. However, as the database includes information from all parts of the country, it supplies an important overall picture of the impact of landmines on the population. As in other conflicts, civilians in Bosnia and Herzegovina have suffered heavily form the use of these devices. This information is shared with the national Mine Action Center as well as other organizations involved in victim assistance. The table below indicates the number of mine victims by month from 1992-1998. Statistics for the end of 1998 have not yet been calculated. These figures reflect an encouraging downward trend in the number of mine incidents from a peak monthly average of 64 in 1994 to 14 in the first two-thirds of 1998.

Number of MVs in B&H per month

1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998

Jan. 8 63 61 32 58 15 12

Feb. 5 22 43 30 31 17 8

Mar. 2 45 76 33 102 56 34

Apr. 9 58 83 36 99 36 23

May. 34 65 82 58 59 31 17

Jun. 69 77 89 92 56 28 9

July. 68 92 67 99 58 24 10

Aug. 142 60 60 75 48 23 15

Sep. 113 45 62 84 27 13

Oct. 80 61 53 55 31 20 2

Nov. 103 51 58 19 22 8

Dec. 77 62 37 17 22 6

TOTAL 710 701 771 630 613 277 130

AVERAGE 59.17 58.42 64.25 52.5 51.08 23.08 14.44

4.3 Croatia

The Croatian mine awareness program was jointly launched in March 1996 by the ICRC and the Croatian Red Cross (CRC). This community-based program works through the network of CRC branches to reach population groups most at risk - such as returnees, children and farmers. It specifically aims to change people's behavior in order to prevent mine and UXO-related accidents. It is planned to gradually hand the program over to the CRC, which will continue coordinating the program in all affected areas of Croatia and ensure its long-term sustainability.

In 1998, over 50'000 people were reached through mine awareness presentations. Fruitful cooperation is ongoing with the print and broadcast media, as are the production and distribution of new generations of mine awareness publications and materials. In a repeat of 1996, when 115'000 leaflets and 10,000 posters were distributed and info-spots were broadcast nationwide on television and 25 radio stations, 1998 saw the distribution of some 100,000 pocket-size leaflets on security. An illustrated brochure, calendar and fact sheet were also produced. In addition, during 1999 all ICRC personnel working in mine-affected communities will participate in workshops aimed at strengthening their communication skills, with representatives of the regional media attending as facilitators and observers.

The program is constantly evolving and adapting to changing needs. Recruitment and training programs for volunteer instructors now include modules on presentation techniques, interactive skills, community participation and cooperation with demining experts. Volunteers from the mine-affected communities are coordinated by local CRC branches. They are key to the MAP's long-term sustain ability.

5. THE ROLE OF THE RED CROSS AND RED CRESCENT MOVEMENT

The entire International Movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent has been actively involved in responding to the landmine problem. Many National Societies were engaged in the public campaign promoting the development of a comprehensive AP mine ban and continue to play an active role by encouraging and assisting their governments with treaty ratification and implementation. Some National Societies have taken over ICRC rehabilitation clinics in mine affected countries. Indeed, under the terms of the Ottawa treaty the International Movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent is recognised as having a role to play in victim assistance and mine awareness. Article 6 encourages States Parties to provide assistance for the care and rehabilitation of mine victims and for mine awareness programs through the International Committee of the Red Cross, national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies and their International Federation, as well as through non-governmental organizations and international bodies.1

The International Movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent is currently preparing a long-term Movement strategy on the various components of mine action. In short, the strategy will outline the goals of the Movement's mines-related work and propose a division of labour among the various component bodies. National Societies are well-placed to encourage adherence and implementation of the Ottawa treaty by their governments and, along with their International Federation, to conduct mine awareness and victim assistance following armed conflict. The ICRC's mandate and expertise support a special emphasis by the institution on medical care and treatment during conflict, the monitoring of treaty interpretations and new technological developments, promoting adherence on regional or international levels and the creation of training tools for the medical care of war-wounded and mine awareness. The long-term Movement strategy, currently in draft form, is to be discussed and adopted by the Movement's Council of Delegates in October 1999.

6. CONSTRAINTS AND CHALLENGES

6.1 Adequate care for mine victims

During or after a war, the treatment and rehabilitation of mine victims will in most cases reflect the general availability or lack of basic health and social services for all. Much needs to be done to reinforce these services in mine-infested countries, particularly where there are large numbers of victims, as the care of amputees places enormous demands on medical resources and often overburdens an already fragile health-care system. In other words, the treatment and rehabilitation of mine victims depend to a large degree on the state of a country's health and social sectors.

Security is another major constraint. Many organizations are not able to work in certain areas because of the security situation. Lack of cooperation from the political and administrative authorities may further hinder the work of those wanting to assist victims. The availability of donor funds may be conditional on agencies working in one area rather than another, or on treating one specific category of victims. These are just some examples of the numerous constraints that may result in mine victims receiving inadequate care, an issue that must be addressed urgently and coherently.

A further obstacle to dealing with the human and socio-economic consequences of landmines is the lack of hard data available on the severity of the mine problem. The ICRC believes that there is an urgent need to standardize and systematize the collection of data by the various players concerned (UN agencies, NGOs, the ICRC and politicaland military authorities). To this end it has proposed an integrated approach towards the analysis of data, a "Mines Information System", to allow for the planning of priorities in any country, one province and one district at a time, and enable operational programs to be implemented effectively. Addressing these constraints is also a prerequisite for implementing effective preventive measures, such as mine awareness and mine-clearance programs.

In the field of data collection, the ICRC and the World Health Organization (WHO) have prepared a joint technical paper on "Prevention, Care and Rehabilitation of Mine Victims". This paper outlines a strategy for health services needed to care for trauma victims, including those injured by APMs, during both conflict and post-conflict periods. The ICRC has also served as a technical advisor to WHO in the establishment of epidemiological surveillance tools with respect to mine victims.

6.2 Ottawa Treaty Interpretation: "Transit" of AP mines

Full and consistent application of the Ottawa treaty is an important element in maintaining political support for this treaty. Differing interpretations of the treaty's provisions should be minimized and be consistent with its object and purpose. The ICRC is concerned about any interpretation which could undermine the treaty's comprehensive prohibitions. One concern is a reading of the treaty in such a manner so as to permit non-party States to transit AP mines through the territory of a State Party. Some have expressed the view that such action is allowable since "transit" is not expressly prohibited under the terms of the treaty.

In the opinion of the ICRC, permitting the transit of AP mines through the territory of a State Party would undermine the object and purpose of the Ottawa treaty and contradict its prohibition on assisting anyone in the stockpiling and use of AP mines. While "transit" itself is not explicitly listed as a prohibited activity, Article 1(c) of the treaty provides clearly that a State Party is never under any circumstances to "assist, encourage or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Convention".2 The ICRC believes that permitting or assisting the transit of AP mines through the territory of a State Party, by provision of transport infrastructure or other means, constitutes assistance in the stockpiling of AP mines and is prohibited.

Whether or not one considers "transit" to also violate the Ottawa treaty's explicit ban on "transfer" of AP mines will also depend on whether the separate elements of the definition of transfers is understood individually or cumulatively. That is, whether under Article 2 transfer must involve both the "physical movement of anti-personnel mines into or from national territory" and " transfer of title to and control over the mines" or is rather constituted by either of these actions.

6.3 Anti-vehicle mines and anti-handling devices3

The Ottawa process and the swift entry into force of the Ottawa treaty reflect the international community's commitment to addressing the massive humanitarian costs of AP mines. However, it is widely recognized that the use of anti-vehicle (AV) mines is an important aspect of the humanitarian problem and should remain a concern. In many regions of the world these devices are used indiscriminately and kill and wound innocent civilians, hinder the delivery of humanitarian assistance and the rebuilding of war-torn areas. In short, while AV mines have been deployed in smaller numbers than AP mines they have a major humanitarian impact. Of particular concern are AV mines which can function in a similar manner to AP mines as a result of being equipped with sensitive anti-handling devices or fusing mechanisms. While AV mines are not covered by the Ottawa treaty, they are regulated by Protocol II of the 1980 UN Convention on Conventional Weapons and its amended version adopted 3 May 1996, and the general norms of international humanitarian law.

A. Anti-vehicle mines with anti-handling devices

Experts consulted by the ICRC believe that there will be increased use of anti-handling devices (AH) on AV mines now that States are prohibiting the use of AP mines by their armed forces. AP mines were often laid to prevent the lifting of AV mines by enemy forces and militaries are now likely to rely on AH devices to fulfill this function. In addition, due to improved technology and production methods, the cost of such devices is lower today than in the past. Such mines can now be deployed in massive numbers by remote delivery, making marking, mapping and fencing impossible.

The ICRC believes that increased use of certain AH devices, particularly on remotely delivered AV mines which will lie on the surface, will threaten civilian populations. Of specific concern are AH devices which will trigger the mine's detonation through the innocent passage of a person over or near the mine or through inadvertent or accidental contact with the mine itself. This threat is particularly serious with regard to remotely delivered surface laid mines. In such cases the AH device can cause the AV mine to function as an AP mine.

B. Sensitive fuses on anti-vehicle mines

Another concern is the use of AV mines which employ fusing mechanisms which are so sensitive that they can easily be triggered by individual persons. Such devices include trip wires, break wires, tilt rods and some magnetic fuses. In some cases onlya small amount of pressure is required to activate the fuse and thus the mine can be triggered by the passage of or contact with a person. Some pressure activated AV blast mines only require 50-100 kg of pressure and will explode under the weight of adult who happens to step on it.

It is the opinion of the ICRC that any AV mine which functions as an AP mine, that is which is capable of being detonated "by the presence, proximity or contact of a person", is an AP mine and is prohibited by the Ottawa treaty. This is the case irrespective of the primary purpose for which the mine is intended to be used.

C. Proposals on anti-vehicle mines

Technical experts have indicated that there are ways to avoid or lessen some of the potential hazards posed by AV mines in general, and those mentioned above specifically. These include:

1) ensuring that all AV mines are detectable and self-destruct or self neutralize within a short time period ( a proposal supported by a large number of States involved in the review process of the CCW from 1994-1996);

2) ensuring that AV mines equipped with AH devices are designed so as to minimize the likelihood of detonation resulting from innocent or inadvertent contact;

3) ensuring that tripwires, breakwires and tilt rods are not used as fusing mechanisms for AV mines;

4) ensuring that pressure activated AV mine fuses will not activate under less than 150 kilograms of pressure.

As these options are technically feasible and will significantly reduce the landmines threat for civilian populations, the ICRC urges States to review existing and planned acquisitions and deployments of AV mines to ensure that the precautions above are taken. The ICRC intends to promote acceptance of these measures at upcoming meetings of States Parties to the Ottawa treaty and to amended Protocol II of the CCW.

In addition, the ICRC calls upon all States to mark and map the location of AV mines and ensure their removal at the end of hostilities as required by amended Protocol II of the CCW.


1 Article 6 provides that "Each State Party in a position to do so shall provide assistance for the care and rehabilitation, and social and economic reintegration, of mine victims and for mine awareness programs. Such assistance may be provided,interalia, through the United Nations system, international, regional or national organizations or institutions, the International Committee of the Red Cross, national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies and their International Federation,non-governmental organizations, or on a bilateral basis." Italics added.For the purposes of this paper "anti-vehicle mines" means all land mines other then anti-personnel mines. An anti-handling device is a device which is part of, linked to, attached to or placed under a mine and which activates when an attempt is made to tamper with or otherwise intentionally disturb the mine.

2 Italics Added.

3 For the purposes of this paper “anti-vehicle mines” means all landmines other than anti-personnel mines. An anti-handling device is a device which is part of, linked to, attached to or placed under a mine and which activates when an attempt is made to tamper with or otherwise intentionally disturb the mine.