The 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons: A useful framework despite earlier disappointments

31-12-2001 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 844, by Robert J. Mathews


Robert J.Mathews
is Senior Fellow,Faculty of Law,University of Melbourne.The author is grateful to the Honorable Gough Whitlam (Prime Minister of Australia from 1972 until 1975),Wynford Connick (formerly DSTO)and Richard Rowe (DFAT)for providing their insights on the negotiation of the CCW, and to Todd Mercer (DFAT)and Timothy McCormack (University of Melbourne)for helpful   comments on an earlier draft of this document.    

The 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, of 10 October 1980, established the legal framework not only to ban certain particularly cruel weapons, but also and above all to restrict their use. The article retraces the history of this treaty and its development since 1980, especially the adoption of a new protocol on blinding laser weapons and a strengthening of the provisions of Protocol II (on landmines). But after the Ottawa Treaty’s total prohibition of anti-pers onnel landmines in 1997, is the approach chosen by the 1980 Convention, namely to restrict the use of landmines, still justifiable? The author considers that it is.  

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