Practice Relating to Rule 83. Removal or Neutralization of Landmines
Australia’s Commanders’ Guide (1994) states: “The location of minefields … is to be recorded.”
As regards remotely delivered mines, the Guide states:
Either the location of minefields containing remotely delivered mines must be accurately recorded or the mines themselves must be equipped with an effective neutralising mechanism which destroy or renders them harmless after a period of time.
Australia’s Defence Force Manual (1994) states:
The location of all pre-planned minefields and areas in which there has been large scale and pre-planned use of booby-traps must be recorded. A record should also be kept of all other minefields, mines and booby traps so that they may be disarmed when they are no longer required.
The manual further states:
Remotely delivered mines can only be used within the area of a military objective if their location can be accurately recorded and they can be neutralised when they no longer serve the military purpose for which they were placed in position. Either each mine must have an effective self neutralising or destroying mechanism or a remotely controlled mechanism designed to render the mine harmless or destroy it.
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) states:
4.25 The use of anti-vehicle landmines is permitted so long as … they are either cleared, removed, destroyed, or appropriately maintained after cessation of active hostilities.
4.28 Self-deactivation. It is prohibited to use remotely delivered anti-vehicle mines “unless, to the extent feasible, they are equipped with an effective self-destruction or self-neutralisation mechanism and have a back-up self-deactivation feature, which is designed so that the mine will no longer function as a mine when the mine no longer serves the military purpose for which it was placed in position”. [Article 6 of the 1996 Amended Protocol II to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons]
Landmines, booby traps and other devices
4.40 Remotely delivered landmines can only be used within the area of a military objective if their location can be accurately recorded and they can be neutralised when they no longer serve the military purpose for which they were placed in position. Either each mine must have an effective self neutralising or destroying mechanism or a remotely controlled mechanism designed to render the mine harmless or destroy it.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
In 2008, in a ministerial statement on Iraq before the House of Representatives, Australia’s Prime Minister stated: “Australia will remain a friend to the Iraqi people for the long term in the postwar reconstruction of their country. … We will continue to support the clearance of landmines and unexploded ordnance.”
In 2009, in a ministerial statement on Sri Lanka before the House of Representatives, Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs stated:
[A] prerequisite for the revival of northern Sri Lanka is the de-mining of former conflict areas. It is the case that the demining challenge will affect the resettlement of displaced people from the camps. That is why in June, Australia provided over $1 million to non-government organisations for de-mining and why we responded in August to a further request by the government of Sri Lanka by providing a further $1 million through the International Organisation for Migration for de-mining efforts.
In 2009, in a statement before a meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, Australia’s ambassador for disarmament and permanent representative to the United Nations stated:
Australia’s Mine Action Strategy … has assisted in reducing the humanitarian suffering and socio-economic impact of landmines and other explosive remnants of war principally through clearance, risk education and survivor assistance. We have delivered support to countries across the Asia-Pacific, and in the Middle East and Africa.