Mines have been used in wars since the middle of the 19th century. Their extensive use in the Russo-Japanese War in 1904-1905 made an international regulation desirable both to protect neutral commerce and to uphold the principle of immunity of enemy merchantmen from attack without warning. Based on preparatory work by the Institute of International Law and the International Law Association, the present Convention was concluded at the Second Hague Peace Conference. The Powers were unable to reach complete agreement on the matter. The result of the deliberation was a compromise. Only Articles 1 and 5 contain clear and unequivocal regulations. Article 2, which forbids the laying of contact mines off the coast and the ports of the enemy, with the sole object of intercepting commercial shipping, is of limited value, for a belligerent has only to allege that mines were laid for a purpose other than merely intercepting commercial navigation.
D.Schindler and J.Toman, The Laws of Armed Conflicts, Martinus Nijhoff Publisher, 1988, pp.804-807.