Practice Relating to Rule 81. Restrictions on the Use of Landmines
Belgium’s Law of War Manual (1983) states, with reference to Article 3 of the 1980 Protocol II to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, that mines can only be used against military objectives. It also states, with reference to Article 5 of the Convention, that remotely delivered minefields are only permitted if the location of the mines is mapped and if the mines are fitted with self-neutralizing devices. The manual adds that the civilian population must be warned in advance of the emplacement of remotely delivered mines unless circumstances do not permit.
Upon acceptance of the 1996 Amended Protocol II to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, Belgium stated:
It is the understanding of the Government of the Kingdom of Belgium that the provisions of Protocol II as amended which by their contents or nature may be applied also in peacetime, shall be observed at all times.
It is the understanding of the Government of the Kingdom of Belgium that the word “primarily” is included in article 2, paragraph 3 of amended Protocol II to clarify that mines designed to be detonated by the presence, proximity or contact of a vehicle as opposed to a person, that are equipped with anti-handling devices, are not considered anti-personnel mines as a result of being so equipped.
In 2007, in his introductory remarks at the “New Perspectives for a World without Landmines” conference, the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs stated:
Belgium’s campaign to ban landmines sets out both to ensure that victims are cared for and to prevent human suffering. We are committed to promoting – and achieving – a world free of landmines … , the humanitarian consequences of which are simply unacceptable.