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2nd Review Conference of the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons ends - Convention framework amended

21-12-2001

The Conference amended the framework Convention to make all existing protocols applicable to non-international armed conflict. Geneva, 11-21 December 2001.

 

 

 In brief  

The second Review Conference of the CCW ended Friday 21 December 2001 after two weeks of negotiations. 66 States Parties, in addition to observer States and the ICRC, participated in the work of the Conference.

 The ICRC urged States Parties to extend the scope of application of the Convention and its Protocols to non-international armed conflicts. It also r eminded States Parties about the urgent humanitarian nature of the problems caused by ERW and the need for States to adopt appropriate measures to address these problems.

The Conference achieved an important development of international humanitarian law by amending the framework Convention to make all existing protocols applicable to non-international armed conflict. It also established a group of governmental experts to discuss ways and means to address the issue of " explosive remnants of war " .

 
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 Background  

The second Review Conference of the CCW ended today after two weeks of negotiations (11-21 December). 66 States Parties, in addition to observer States and the ICRC, participated in the work of the Conference.

The ICRC promoted priorities of the Movement as agreed in Resolution CD 2001/PR 8.2/1 of the recent Council of Delegates. In particular, the ICRC urged States Parties to extend the scope of application of the Convention and its Protocols to non-international armed conflicts. It also reminded States Parties about the urgent humanitarian nature of the problems caused by ERW and the need for States to adopt appropriate measures to address these problems. President Kellenberger delivered a statement to the Conference on Tuesday 11 December.

 
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 Extension of the scope of the Convention  

The Conference amended the framework Convention to make all existing protocols applicable to non-international armed conflict. Previously, only amended Protocol II (on the use of mines, booby-traps and similar devices) applied to internal armed conflicts. Protocol I (which prohibits weapons injuring by means of fragments not detectable by X-rays ), Protocol III (which restricts the use of incendiary weapons) and Protocol IV (which prohibits the use and transfer of blinding laser weapons) applied only in situations of international armed conflict.

 
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 Explosive remnants of war  

The Conference also established a group of governmental experts to discuss ways and means to address the issue of " explosive remnants of war " (ERW). This expert group will begin its work in May 2002 and will discuss, among other th ings:

1. the factors and types of munitions that could cause humanitarian problems after a conflict;

2. technical improvements and other measures for relevant types of munitions, including submunitions, which could reduce the risks of such munitions from becoming ERW;

3. the adequacy of existing international humanitarian law in minimising post-conflict risks of ERW, both to civilians and the military; and

4. warning to the civilian population in or close to ERW affected areas, clearance of ERW, the rapid provision of information to facilitate early and safe clearance of ERW, assistance and co-operation, and associated issues and responsibilities.

This expert group will consist of representatives from States Parties and observer States and organizations, including the ICRC, and will meet for five weeks in 2002. The recommendations of the expert group will be submitted for consideration by States Parties, possibly in December 2002, which may then decide on whether to proceed with negotiating a legally binding instrument on ERW.

The Conference also decided on the establishment of an expert group to consider tighter restrictions on anti-vehicle mines.

 
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 Other issues  

In response to proposals by Sweden and the ICRC, the Conference urged States which do not already do so to conduct reviews, such as that provided for in Arti cle 36 of Protocol I additional to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, of new weapons, means or methods of warfare to ensure that they are in conformity with the rules of international humanitarian law or other applicable rules of international law.

The Conference also noted the report of the ICRC on " Ensuring respect for the 1868 St. Petersburg Declaration prohibiting the use of certain explosive projectiles " which highlights the threat to this norm caused by the production and proliferation of certain explosive " multi-purpose " bullets. It invited States to consider this report and other relevant information and take appropriate national action in response to the issues raised.