Practice Relating to Rule 85. The Use of Incendiary Weapons against Combatants
In 1973, in response to Resolution 2932 A (XXVII) in which the UN General Assembly asked States to comment on the report of the UN Secretary-General on napalm and other incendiary weapons and all aspects of their possible use, Sweden stated: “If total prohibition of use were attained as regards some or all incendiary weapons the question of a ban on production, development and stockpiling, etc. could subsequently be taken up.”
In 1977, during a debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, Sweden stated that it, “together with many others”, was convinced that incendiary weapons could be restricted and partially banned without “upsetting any military balance”.
At the Preparatory Conference for the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in 1979, Sweden stated: “No category of conventional weapons had evoked greater public revulsion than incendiary weapons, including napalm.” It also stated that, given the difficulty of applying partial bans on incendiary weapons, it was of the view that a “complete prohibition was the preferable course”.
In 1987, during a debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, Sweden stated that further restrictions on incendiary weapons should be enacted.
Sweden reiterated this view in 1992.
Sweden’s IHL Manual (1991) states:
[The 1980] Protocol III [to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons] contains restrictions applying where incendiary weapons are used.
At the same time it must be noted that it has not been possible to reach agreement on a rule that would also afford combatants protection against these weapons.
There is a need to supplement the present Protocol III so that the agreement constitutes a complete prohibition of incendiary weapons
. In this way, protection of civilians could be further enhanced, and this should be extended to cover combatants. For, in fact, the latter also experience injury from incendiary weapons as unnecessary suffering.
[emphasis in original]