Practice Relating to Rule 83. Removal or Neutralization of Landmines
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) states: “The location of all pre-planned minefields … must be recorded. A record should also be kept of all other minefields [and] mines … so that they may be disarmed when they are no longer required.”
The manual also states:
Canada’s obligation to clear minefields after the cessation of hostilities will vary depending upon circumstances such as the degree of jurisdiction or control exercised over the territory, the terms of any peace accord and any other bilateral or multilateral arrangement.
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001) states in its chapter entitled “Restrictions on the use of weapons”:
Canada’s obligation to clear minefields after the cessation of hostilities will vary depending upon circumstances such as the degree of jurisdiction or control exercised over the territory, the terms of any peace accord and any other bilateral or multilateral arrangement. There is no legal obligation to clear mines simply because Canada is conducting operations in an Area of Responsibility (AOR) during peace support or any other operation.
In 1975, during discussions in the Ad Hoc Committee on Conventional Weapons established by the CDDH, Canada advocated the “automatic and compulsory marking” of remotely delivered minefields.
Upon ratification of the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, Canada stated:
With respect to Protocol II [to the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons], it is the understanding of the Government of Canada that:
(a) Any obligation to record the location of remotely delivered mines pursuant to sub-paragraph 1(a) of article 5 refers to the location of mine fields and not to the location of individual remotely delivered mines.
(b) The term “pre-planned”, as used in sub-paragraph 1(a) of article 7, means that the position of the minefield in question should have been determined in advance so that an accurate record of the location of the minefield, when laid, can be made.
(c) The phrase ‘similar functions’ used in article 8, includes the concepts of ‘peace-making’, ‘preventive peace-keeping’ and ‘peace-enforcement’ as defined in an agenda for peace (United Nations document A/47/277 of 17 June 1992).
Upon ratification of the 1996 Amended Protocol II to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, Canada stated:
It is understood that the maintenance of a minefield referred to in Article 10, in accordance with the standards on marking, monitoring and protection by fencing or other means set out in Amended Protocol II, would not be considered as a use of the mines contained therein.
In 2007, in a report to Parliament on Canada’s mission in Afghanistan, the Government of Canada stated:
As a signatory to the Ottawa anti-personnel mine ban treaty, Afghanistan has received a substantial contribution from Canada to fund the clearance of anti-personnel mines and unexploded ordnance scattered throughout the country which is helping to improve the safety of the Afghan people and to promote development.
Demining activities such as minefield survey and clearance, stockpile destruction, mine-risk education, victim assistance and capacity building are ongoing in Kandahar Province and across Afghanistan to open up more land for agriculture, pasture and housing.
In 2013, Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development issued a press release entitled “Harper Government observes the International Day for Mine Awareness”, which stated:
The Harper Government is committed to assisting with landmine clearing, education on landmine detection, and programs that work with victims of landmine accidents. …
To mark the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, here are few of the projects supported by the Harper Government to help some of the most vulnerable victims of war in some of the most dangerous parts of the world:
- The Landmine Clearing for Results project in Cambodia helped clear more than 35 km2 of land and strengthen the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority. This project saw a decrease in the number of recorded landmine casualties, from 145 in 2010 to 98 in 2011, which exceeded targets. From the recently cleared land, more than 15,000 people benefited directly from new housing and agricultural opportunities. And more than 200,000 people benefited indirectly through risk reduction and through the public use of the cleared land for a school, roads, a pagoda, and other infrastructure.
- The Support to Mine Action Program for Afghanistan
, one of the most heavily mined countries in the world, has contributed to clearing 18,027 hazardous areas, covering more than 1,522 km2. As a result, 112 districts and 1,996 communities are no longer affected by landmines.