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Anti-personnel mines: Making a ban effective

30-04-1997 News Release 97/16

A meeting of experts met in Bonn on 24 and 25 April to discuss possible compliance measures for inclusion in a future treaty to ban anti-personnel landmines. The meeting, convened by the German government, was attended by representatives of 121 countries, together with delegates from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the United Nations, NATO and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.

While the meeting did not reach any detailed conclusions, it provided an opportunity to discuss various means of ensuring respect for any future treaty. Certain delegations argued for the inclusion of verification mechanisms similar to those used in disarmament agreements on weapons of mass destruction. However, others maintained that such mechanisms were inappropriate in relation to anti-personnel mines, and that unduly obtrusive and costly mechanisms should be avoided. Support was also expressed for drawing on compliance mechanisms already used in other fields, including a reporting system, the criminalization of violations, and the establishment of a fact-finding or implementation commission.

The ICRC and other delegations stressed the importance of establishing a total ban on anti-personnel mines as rapidly as possible, pointing out that while the effectiveness of any agreement had to be ensured, negotiations on verification should not be allowed to block agreement on a total ban. It was also important that any compliance measures should emphasize the positive aspects of any new regime - by encouraging transparency, building confidence and promoting international cooperation to deal with the existing scourge of landmines.