Practice Relating to Rule 86. Blinding Laser Weapons

Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons
Article 1 of the 1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons provides:
It is prohibited to employ laser weapons specifically designed, as their sole combat function or as one of their combat functions, to cause permanent blindness to unenhanced vision, that is to the naked eye or to the eye with corrective eyesight devices. The High Contracting Parties shall not transfer such weapons to any State or non-State entity. 
Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons, to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects, Vienna, 13 October 1995, Article 1.
Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons
Article 4 of the 1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons states:
For the purpose of this protocol “permanent blindness” means irreversible and uncorrectable loss of vision which is seriously disabling with no prospect of recovery. Serious disability is equivalent to visual acuity of less than 20/200 Snellen measured using both eyes. 
Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons, to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects, Vienna, 13 October 1995, Article 4.
Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons
The 1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons was adopted by consensus, although a number of States would have preferred a stronger text that included a prohibition of blinding as a method of warfare and indicated this orally during negotiations and at the final plenary session. 
Austria, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Islamic Republic of Iran, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Sweden.
Discussions on the prohibited weapon in Article 1, which refers to “laser weapons specifically designed as their sole combat function or as one of their combat functions to cause permanent blindness to unenhanced vision”, turned on whether it was enough to indicate “specifically designed”, and one State, the United Kingdom, would have preferred “primarily designed”. The issue was that the laser systems concerned could easily be designed to aim at both electro-optical systems and human eyes, and therefore alternative formulations were abandoned in favour of the explicit description finally adopted in Article 1 that would cover dual use systems. 
See Louise Doswald-Beck, “New Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons”, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 312, 1996, p. 272, at 288-289; W. Hays Parks, “Travaux Preparatoires and Legal Analysis of Blinding Laser Weapons Protocol”, The Army Lawyer, June 1997, p. 33, at 37.
Amended Article 1 to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons
In 2001, States Parties to the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons decided to amend Article 1 of the Convention, governing its scope. This amendment states:
1. This Convention and its annexed Protocols shall apply in the situations referred to in Article 2 common to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 for the Protection of War Victims, including any situation described in paragraph 4 of Article 1 of Additional Protocol I to these Conventions.
2. This Convention and its annexed Protocols shall also apply, in addition to situations referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article, to situations referred to in Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949. This Convention and its annexed Protocols shall not apply to situations of internal disturbances and tensions, such as riots, isolated and sporadic acts of violence, and other acts of a similar nature, as not being armed conflicts.
3. In case of armed conflicts not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each party to the conflict shall be bound to apply the prohibitions and restrictions of this Convention and its annexed Protocols. 
Amendment to Article 1 of the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons), Geneva, 21 December 2001.
No data.
Australia
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) states: “Under the 1995 Protocol IV of the CCW [1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons] …, laser weapons are prohibited from use where they are specifically designed to cause permanent blindness.” 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, § 4.12.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Military Instructions (1992) states: “It is prohibited to use … ‘blinding’ weapons.” 
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Instructions on the Implementation of the International Law of War in the Armed Forces of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Official Gazette of ABiH, No. 2/92, 5 December 1992, Item 11, § 1.
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (2006) states:
According to Article 1 of Protocol IV [to the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons], it is prohibited to employ laser weapons specifically designed, as their sole combat function or as one of their combat functions, to cause permanent blindness to unenhanced vision, that is to the naked eye or to an eye with corrective eyesight devices. 
Cameroon, Droit des conflits armés et droit international humanitaire, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les forces de défense, Ministère de la Défense, Présidence de la République, Etat-major des Armées, 2006, p. 271, § 631.
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) states: “Laser weapons specifically designed, as their sole combat function or one of their combat functions, to cause permanent blindness to unenhanced vision (i.e., the naked eye or to the eye with corrective eyesight devices) are prohibited.” 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 5-3, § 28.
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001) states in its chapter entitled “Restrictions on the use of weapons”:
1. Laser weapons specifically designed, as their sole combat function or as one of their combat functions, to cause permanent blindness to unenhanced vision (that is, to the naked eye or to the eye with corrective eyesight devices) are prohibited.
2. “Permanent blindness” means irreversible and uncorrectable loss of vision that is seriously disabling with no prospect of recovery. Serious disability is equivalent to visual acuity of less than 20/200 vision. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 519.1–2.
Chad
Chad’s Instructor’s Manual (2006) prohibits the use of “laser weapons”. 
Chad, Droit international humanitaire, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les forces armées et de sécurité, Ministère de la Défense, Présidence de la République, Etat-major des Armées, 2006, p. 79.
Côte d’Ivoire
Côte d’Ivoire’s Teaching Manual (2007) provides in Book IV (Instruction of heads of division and company commanders):
II.1.10. Laser weapons
Laser weapons which are designed, as their sole combat function or as one of their combat functions, to cause permanent blindness or to diminish vision (i.e. to the naked eye or to the eye with corrective eyesight devices) are prohibited. 
Côte d’Ivoire, Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre IV: Instruction du chef de section et du commandant de compagnie, Manuel de l’élève, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, p. 54.
France
France’s LOAC Teaching Note (2000) includes blinding laser weapons in the list of weapons that “are totally prohibited by the law of armed conflict” because of their inhuman and indiscriminate character. 
France, Fiche didactique relative au droit des conflits armés, Directive of the Ministry of Defence, 4 January 2000, annexed to the Directive No. 147 of the Ministry of Defence of 4 January 2000, p. 6.
France
France’s LOAC Manual (2001) incorporates the content of Article 1 of the 1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. 
France, Manuel de droit des conflits armés, Ministère de la Défense, Direction des Affaires Juridiques, Sous-Direction du droit international humanitaire et du droit européen, Bureau du droit des conflits armés, 2001, p. 80.
The manual also includes blinding laser weapons in the list of weapons that “are totally prohibited by the law of armed conflict” because of their inhuman and indiscriminate character. 
France, Manuel de droit des conflits armés, Ministère de la Défense, Direction des Affaires Juridiques, Sous-Direction du droit international humanitaire et du droit européen, Bureau du droit des conflits armés, 2001, p. 54.
Germany
Germany’s IHL Manual (1996) states:
New weapon developments may also violate a specific prohibition or general principles of international humanitarian law, e.g. the use of laser weapons which are specifically intended to cause permanent blindness to the adversary. 
Germany, ZDv 15/1, Humanitäres Völkerrecht in bewaffneten Konflikten – Grundsätze, DSK VV230120023, Bundesministerium der Verteidigung, June 1996, § 302.
Israel
According to Israel’s Manual on the Laws of War (1998), the 1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons “states that it is forbidden to employ weapons that use laser beams for the operational objective of causing blindness to an unprotected eye”. 
Israel, Laws of War in the Battlefield, Manual, Military Advocate General Headquarters, Military School, 1998, pp. 16–17.
Israel
Israel’s Manual on the Rules of Warfare (2006) states:
Blinding laser weapons. Laser technology today has progressed as far as making it possible to attack small targets and burn them, such as the human eye, a long way away from the laser operator. This Protocol, which dates from 1996, determines that it is forbidden to use weaponry that uses laser beams for the purpose of permanently blinding the enemy. 
Israel, Rules of Warfare on the Battlefield, Military Advocate-General’s Corps Command, IDF School of Military Law, Second Edition, 2006, p. 16.
The Manual on the Rules of Warfare (2006) is a second edition of the Manual on the Laws of War (1998).
Netherlands
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states: “It is prohibited to use laser weapons specially designed to cause permanent blindness. This means that lasers intended to blind personnel temporarily, known as dazzle lasers, are permitted.” 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0471.
The manual further states that “[t]he question whether a non-lethal weapon can be used as a form of warfare will primarily depend on whether such a weapon”, inter alia, “is not prohibited under other regulations such as the permanently blinding weapons mentioned above”. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0477.
In its chapter on non-international armed conflict, the manual states: “It is prohibited to use weapons causing unnecessary suffering or excessive injury, or that are indiscriminate. This means that … blinding laser weapons … are forbidden.” 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 1038.
Peru
Peru’s IHL Manual (2004) states that “blinding laser weapons” are prohibited weapons. 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial Nº 1394-2004-DE/CCFFAA/CDIH-FFAA, Lima, 1 December 2004, § 31.b.(2).(i).
Peru
Peru’s IHL and Human Rights Manual (2010) states that “blinding laser weapons” are prohibited weapons. 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario y Derechos Humanos para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial No. 049-2010/DE/VPD, Lima, 21 May 2010, § 32(b)(2)(i), p. 248.
Russian Federation
The Russian Federation’s Regulations on the Application of IHL (2001) states: “The following shall be prohibited to use in the course of combat operations: … laser weapons specifically designed to cause permanent blindness to unenhanced vision.” 
Russian Federation, Regulations on the Application of International Humanitarian Law by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, Moscow, 8 August 2001, § 9.
South Africa
South Africa’s Revised Civic Education Manual (2004) states:
iv. Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW Convention). This convention was adopted on 21 Dec 2001 and endeavours to prohibit or restrict the use of certain conventional weapons which may be deemed to be excessively injurious or to have indiscriminate effects. The Convention is a collection of four Protocols:
(4) Protocol 4: Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons. It is prohibited to employ laser weapons specifically designed, as their sole combat function or as one of their combat functions, to cause permanent blindness to unenhanced vision, that is to the naked eye or to the eye with corrective eyesight devices. 
South Africa, Revised Civic Education Manual, South African National Defence Force, 2004, Chapter 4, § 56(f)(iv).
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states that there is an absolute prohibition on the use of certain weapons, including “[b]linding laser weapons”. 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Tomo 1, Publicación OR7–004, (Edición Segunda), Mando de Adiestramiento y Doctrina, Dirección de Doctrina, Orgánica y Materiales, 2 November 2007, § 3.2.b.
Switzerland
Switzerland’s Regulation on Legal Bases for Conduct during an Engagement (2005) states:
16.1 Prohibited means of warfare
228 Prohibited are:
4 blinding lasers;*
(* = Convention not yet ratified by all States)
229 The production, stockpiling, import, export, transit and use of such means of combat are notably prohibited. 
Switzerland, Bases légales du comportement à l’engagement (BCE), Règlement 51.007/IVf, Swiss Army, issued based on Article 10 of the Ordinance on the Organization of the Federal Department for Defence, Civil Protection and Sports of 7 March 2003, entry into force on 1 July 2005, §§ 228(4) and 229.
Ukraine
Ukraine’s IHL Manual (2004) states that the following means of warfare is prohibited: “laser weapons specifically designed to cause permanent blindness to the organs of vision of a person who does not use optical devices”. 
Ukraine, Manual on the Application of IHL Rules, Ministry of Defence, 11 September 2004, § 1.3.3.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states:
“It is prohibited to employ laser weapons specifically designed, as their sole combat function or as one of their combat functions, to cause permanent blindness to unenhanced vision”. These weapons must not be transferred to other states or non-State entities. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 6.15.
In its chapter on air operations, the manual states:
12.54. It is prohibited “to employ laser weapons specifically designed, as their sole combat function or as one of their combat functions, to cause permanent blindness to unenhanced vision.”
12.54.1. Systems which use lasers for range-finding, missile guidance and target laying, not being so designed as above, are unaffected. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, §§ 12.54–12.54.1.
United States of America
The US Naval Handbook (1995) states:
Directed energy devices, which include laser … are not proscribed by the law of armed conflict. Lasers may be employed as a range finder or for target acquisition with the possibility of ancillary injury to enemy personnel, or directly against combatants as an anti-personnel weapon. Their use does not violate the prohibition against the infliction of unnecessary suffering. 
United States, The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations, NWP 1-14M/MCWP 5-2.1/COMDTPUB P5800.7, issued by the Department of the Navy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and Headquarters, US Marine Corps, and Department of Transportation, US Coast Guard, October 1995 (formerly NWP 9 (Rev. A)/FMFM 1-10, October 1989), pp. 452–454, § 9.8.
United States of America
The Annotated Supplement to the US Naval Handbook (1997) states that the position defined in the Naval Handbook
is no longer completely accurate with respect to antipersonnel weapons. There have been various efforts over the years to prohibit the use of lasers as antipersonnel weapons … [The 1995] Protocol IV [to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons] prohibits the use or transfer of laser weapons specifically designed to cause blindness to unenhanced vision. 
United States, Annotated Supplement to the Naval Handbook, 1997, § 9.8, footnote 45.
United States of America
The US Naval Handbook (2007) states: “U.S. military forces will not employ laser weapons specifically designed to cause permanent blindness.” 
United States, The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations, NWP 1-14M/MCWP 5-12.1/COMDTPUB P5800.7, issued by the Department of the Navy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and Headquarters, US Marine Corps, and Department of Homeland Security, US Coast Guard, July 2007, § 9.8.
Austria
Austria’s Law on the Prohibition of Blinding Laser Weapons (1998) states: “The acquisition, possession, development, transportation, production, trade and arrangement of acquisition and sale of blinding laser weapons and specific parts of them are prohibited.” It punishes “whoever, and even if only by negligence, contravenes the prohibition of § 2 of this Federal Law”. 
Austria, Law on the Prohibition of Blinding Laser Weapons, 1998, §§ 2(1) and 3.
Belgium
Belgium’s Law Regulating Economic and Individual Activities with Weapons (2006) provides:
For the purposes of the present law and its implementing decrees, a “blinding laser weapon” is considered as … : [any] weapon designed or adapted, as its sole function or as one of its functions, to cause permanent blindness by means of laser technology. 
Belgium, Law Regulating Economic and Individual Activities with Weapons, 2006, Article 2(5).
The Law further provides: “[The following] arms shall be considered as prohibited: … blinding laser weapons”. 
Belgium, Law Regulating Economic and Individual Activities with Weapons, 2006, Article 3(1)(1).
Denmark
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (1973), as amended in 1978, provides:
Any person who uses war instruments or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or the general rules of international law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. a fine, lenient imprisonment or up to 12 years’ imprisonment]. 
Denmark, Military Criminal Code, 1973, as amended in 1978, § 25(1).
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (2005) provides:
Any person who deliberately uses war means [“krigsmiddel”] or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or international customary law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. imprisonment up to life imprisonment]. 
Denmark, Military Criminal Code, 2005, § 36(2).
Hungary
Under Hungary’s Criminal Code (1978), as amended in 1998, employing “blinding laser weapons” as defined in the 1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons is a war crime. 
Hungary, Criminal Code, 1978, as amended in 1998, Section 160/A(3)(b)(4).
Luxembourg
Luxembourg’s Blinding Laser Weapons Act (1999) prohibits the use and the transfer of blinding laser weapons to another State or an entity other than a State. 
Luxembourg, Blinding Laser Weapons Act, 1999, Article 3.
Switzerland
Switzerland’s Military Criminal Code (1927), taking into account amendments entered into force up to 2011, states in a chapter entitled “War crimes”:
Art. 110
Articles 112–114 apply in the context of international armed conflicts, including in situations of occupation, and, if the nature of the offence does not exclude it, in the context of non-international armed conflicts.
Art. 112d
1 The penalty shall be a custodial sentence of not less than three years for any person who, in the context of an armed conflict:
e. employs laser weapons whose primary effect is to cause permanent blindness. 
Switzerland, Military Criminal Code, 1927, taking into account amendments entered into force up to 2011, Articles 110 and 112d (1)(e).
Switzerland
Switzerland’s Penal Code (1937), taking into account amendments entered into force up to 2011, states under the title “War crimes”:
Art. 264b
Articles 264d–264j apply in the context of international armed conflicts, including in situations of occupation, and, if the nature of the offence does not exclude it, in the context of non-international armed conflicts.
Art. 264h
1 The penalty shall be a custodial sentence of not less than three years for any person who, in the context of an armed conflict:
e. employs laser weapons whose primary effect is to cause permanent blindness. 
Switzerland, Penal Code, 1937, taking into account amendments entered into force up to 2011, Articles 264b and 264h (1)(e).
No data.
Australia
Upon acceptance of the 1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, Australia stated: “The provisions of Protocol IV shall apply in all circumstances.” 
Australia, Declaration made upon acceptance of Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, 22 August 1997.
Australia
In 1997, in its response to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, the Australian Government stated:
There is no evidence of any actual use of blinding laser weapons. Against this background, constructing and implementing arduous verification mechanisms was not regarded as a vital element of Protocol IV to the [Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons]. Should future developments indicate a need for verification and compliance measures, the Australian government would consider the options accordingly … In the face of the global community’s overwhelming support for the achievements of Protocol IV and the absence of any consensus on a need to tighten its provisions, the Australian Government considers the text to be essentially adequate in dealing with the limited problem at hand. However, should persuasive evidence of any substantive weaknesses emerge, the Government will, through official review processes including the Review Conference in 2001, explore options for ensuring that effect is given to the intent behind Protocol IV.  
Australia, Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, Restrictions on the Use of Blinding Laser Weapons and Landmines, Government Response, Canberra, August 1997.
Austria
Upon acceptance of the 1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, Austria stated: “The provisions of … Protocol [IV] which by their contents or nature may also be applied in peacetime, shall be observed at all times.” 
Austria, Declaration made upon acceptance of Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, 27 July 1998.
Belgium
Upon acceptance of the 1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, Belgium stated: “The provisions of … Protocol [IV] which by their contents or nature may also be applied in peacetime, shall be observed at all times.” 
Belgium, Declaration made upon acceptance of Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, 10 March 1999.
Burkina Faso
In 1995, during a debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, Burkina Faso called for “the halting of the use of laser weapons, particularly those which lead to irreversible blindness”. 
Burkina Faso, Statement before the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, UN Doc. A/C.1/50/PV.8, 20 October 1995, p. 10.
Canada
Upon acceptance of the 1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, Canada stated: “The provisions of … Protocol [IV] which by their contents or nature may also be applied in peacetime, shall be observed at all times.” 
Canada, Declaration made upon acceptance of Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, 25 June 1998.
Chile
In 1995, during a debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, Chile called the 1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons imperfect. 
Chile, Statement before the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, UN Doc. A/C.1/50/ PV.10, 26 October 1995, p. 22.
China
At the First Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (Second Session) in 1996, China made the following statement:
The Chinese delegation positively appraises the important results achieved by this conference. We adopted a new Protocol banning the use and transfer of blinding laser weapons which are specially designed to cause permanent blindness to naked eyes. This is the first time in human history that a kind of inhumane weapon is declared illegal and prohibited before it is actually used. This is significant. 
China, Statement at the First Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (Second Session), Geneva, 3 May 1996, p. 1.
France
In 1995, in reply to questions in Parliament, the French President stated: “It should be stressed that France also subscribes to the objective of a prohibition on the deliberate blinding of persons as a method of warfare.” 
France, Reply to written questions from Members of Parliament, SIRPA Actualité, No. 30, 9 September 1995, quoted in Louise Doswald-Beck, “New Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons”, IRRC, No. 312, 1996, p. 291, footnote 80.
Germany
In 1995, the German Government expressed its support for a prohibition on the use and production of blinding laser weapons. 
Germany, Lower House of Parliament, Reply by the government to a question, Konferenz zur Überprüfung des VN-Waffenübereinkommens in Wien (25 September bis 13 Oktober 1995), BT-Drucksache 13/2998, 14 November 1995, p. 2.
In August 1995, in answer to questions in Parliament, a minister of state noted that the government knew of no German companies that were involved in the development or testing of blinding laser weapons. He added that blinding laser weapons were not part of NATO planning, that the German Department of Defence had never placed an order for the development or purchasing of such weapons and that it did not intend to do so in the future. 
Germany, Lower House of Parliament, Reply by a Minister of State to a written question, BT-Drucksache 13/2140, 11 August 1995, pp. 3–4.
Germany
At the First Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (First Session) in 1995, Germany stated: “While the review of Protocol II was the top priority of the Conference, other conventional weapons which were excessively injurious or might have indiscriminate effects should not be ignored.” Therefore Germany was strongly in favour of prohibiting blinding laser weapons. 
Germany, Statement at the First Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (First Session), UN Doc. CCW/Conf.I/SR.2, 29 September 1995, p. 10, § 50.
Germany
Upon acceptance of the 1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, Germany declared that “it will apply the provisions of Protocol IV under all circumstances and at all times”. 
Germany, Declaration made upon acceptance of Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, 27 June 1997.
Greece
Upon acceptance of the 1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, Greece stated: “The provisions of … Protocol [IV] which by their contents or nature may also be applied in peacetime, shall be observed at all times.” 
Greece, Declaration made upon acceptance of Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, 5 August 1997.
India
At the Third Preparatory Committee for the Second Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in 2001, India stated that it “fully supported the idea of expanding the scope of the [Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons] to cover armed internal conflicts”. 
India, Statement of 24 September 2001 at the Third Preparatory Committee for the Second Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, Geneva, 24–28 September 2001.
Indonesia
The Report on the Practice of Indonesia states that Indonesia has prohibited the use of blinding laser weapons. 
Report on the Practice of Indonesia, 1997, Chapter 3.4.
Ireland
In 1991, during a debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, Ireland stated that it might support the proposal to ban blinding laser weapons. 
Ireland, Statement before the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, UN Doc. A/C.1/46/PV.31, 7 November 1991, p. 37.
Ireland
Upon acceptance of the 1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, Ireland stated: “The provisions of … Protocol [IV] which by their contents or nature may also be applied in peacetime, shall be observed at all times.” 
Ireland, Declaration made upon acceptance of Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, 27 March 1997.
Israel
Upon acceptance of the 1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, Israel declared:
With reference to the scope of application defined in Article 1 of the Convention, the Government of the State of Israel will apply the provisions of the Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons as well as the Convention and those annexed Protocols to which Israel has agreed to become bound, to all armed conflicts involving regular armed forces of States referred to in article 2 common to the Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949, as well as to all armed conflicts referred to in Article 3 common to the Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949. 
Israel, Declaration upon acceptance of Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, 30 October 2000.
Italy
Upon acceptance of the 1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, Italy stated: “The provisions of … Protocol [IV] which by their contents or nature may also be applied in peacetime, shall be observed at all times.” 
Italy, Declaration made upon acceptance of Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, 13 January 1999.
Jordan
According to the Report on the Practice of Jordan, Jordan does not use, manufacture or stockpile anti-personnel lasers and it does not plan to do so in the future.  
Report on the Practice of Jordan, 1997, Chapter 3.4.
Liechtenstein
Upon acceptance of the 1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, Liechtenstein stated: “The provisions of … Protocol [IV] which by their contents or nature may also be applied in peacetime, shall be observed at all times.” 
Liechtenstein, Declaration made upon acceptance of Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, 19 November 1997.
Netherlands
In 1992, during a debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, the Netherlands implied that universal adherence to the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons would give it effect in internal conflicts. 
Netherlands, Statement before the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, UN Doc. A/C.1/47/PV.26, 4 December 1992, p. 21.
Netherlands
Upon acceptance of the 1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the Netherlands declared: “The provisions of Protocol IV which, given their content or nature, can also be applied in peacetime must be observed in all circumstances.” 
Netherlands, Declaration made upon acceptance of Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, 25 March 1999.
Netherlands
A working paper submitted by the Netherlands to the First Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (First Session) in 1995 evaluated existing customary law relating to the use of blinding lasers prior to the negotiation and adoption of Protocol IV. It stated that the “use of antipersonnel lasers whose sole purpose is to cause permanent blindness in military personnel is … illegal under the current laws of armed conflicts”. It noted, however, one possible exception to this under the then existing law, namely:
One exception might be cases in which blinding an opponent with a highly discriminate weapon such as a laser would be more humane than using a different method or means. This instance could occur if, for example, a sniper were to hide himself in a civilian environment. In this case other, more conventional methods of disabling the sniper can be expected to cause a large number of civilian casualties that could be prevented through the use of a laser. 
Netherlands, Working paper submitted to the First Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (First Session), UN Doc. CCW/CONF.I/MCIII/WP.1, 26 September 1995, p. 9.
South Africa
Upon acceptance of the 1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, South Africa stated: “The provisions of … Protocol [IV] which by their contents or nature may also be applied in peacetime, shall be observed at all times.” 
South Africa, Declaration made upon acceptance of Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, 26 June 1998.
Sweden
In the Ad Hoc Committee on Conventional Weapons of the CDDH, Sweden stated:
It might be thought that the mere suspicion that a new or improved type of weapon might cause greater suffering or have more indiscriminate effects than its predecessor would constitute a basis for serious negotiations on the prohibition of such weapons on humanitarian grounds. It might be argued, for instance, that because laser weapons, if used against personnel, were likely to cause permanent damage to, or a complete loss of eyesight, they should be considered unnecessarily cruel. His delegation was inclined to that opinion and accordingly urged the great Powers to desist from further work in that direction and to agree on rules prohibiting the use of such weapons. If that were not possible, because some countries might consider that laser weapons would prove to be of considerable military value, for instance, in combating attacking missiles, it might still prove possible to negotiate an agreement prohibiting their use against any target other than a military target. It was possible that laser weapons would never be used against personnel because of their relative complexity and high cost, but there could be no certainty of that. It would therefore be worth while prohibiting such use. 
Sweden, Statement at the CDDH, Official Records, Vol. XVI, CDDH/IV/SR.33, 2 June 1976, p. 339, § 6.
Sweden
At the 25th International Conference of the Red Cross in 1986, Sweden and Switzerland submitted a draft resolution which stated:
The development of laser technology for military use includes a risk that laser equipment of armed forces can be specifically used for antipersonnel purposes on the battlefield, such as causing permanent blindness of human beings, and that such use may be considered already prohibited under existing international law. 
25th International Conference of the Red Cross, Geneva, 23–31 October 1986, Commission I, CI/2.6/PR3, Item 2.6, quoted in Louise Doswald-Beck, “New Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons”, IRRC, No. 312, 1996, p. 273.
This wording was not retained, and the resolution adopted instead stated that the Conference noted “that some governments have voiced their concern about the development of new weapons technologies the use of which, in certain circumstances, could be prohibited under existing international law”. 
25th International Conference of the Red Cross, Geneva, 23–31 October 1986, Res. VII, § B(6).
Sweden
In 1987, during debates in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, Sweden stated: “The use of blinding laser weapons designed to cause permanent blindness would be in clear contravention of fundamental principles of the law of warfare.” It also stated: “The International Community should consider a ban on the use of laser weapons for such purposes.” 
Sweden, Statement before the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, UN Doc. A/C.1/42/PV.3, 12 October 1987, p. 55; Statement before the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, UN Doc. A/C.1/42/PV.34, 12 October 1987, p. 6.
Sweden
In 1991, during a debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, Sweden stated that it would seek consensus on a resolution on the prohibition of blinding laser weapons at the International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent to be held in 1991 in Budapest (but eventually cancelled). 
Sweden, Statement before the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, UN Doc. A/C.1/46/PV.8, 18 October 1991, p. 28.
Sweden
In 1992, during a debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, Sweden advocated prohibitions or restrictions on blinding laser weapons. 
Sweden, Statement before the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, UN Doc. A/C.1/47/PV.26, 4 December 1992, p. 19.
Sweden
In 1994, in a working paper submitted to the Group of Governmental Experts to prepare the First Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, Sweden proposed the following provision: “It is prohibited to use laser beams as an anti-personnel method of warfare, with the intention or expected result of seriously damaging the eyesight of persons.” 
Sweden, Working paper submitted to the Group of Government Experts to prepare the First Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, UN Doc. CCW/CONF.I/GE/CRP.3, 16 May 1994.
Sweden
In 1995, during a debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, Sweden stated that for ten years it had been calling for a ban on blinding laser weapons. 
Sweden, Statement before the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, UN Doc. A/C.1/50/PV.17, 9 October 1995, p. 2.
Sweden
Upon acceptance of the 1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, Sweden stated:
Sweden intends to apply the Protocol to all types of armed conflict …
Sweden has since long strived for explicit prohibition of the use of blinding lasers which would risk causing permanent blindness to soldiers. Such an effect, in Sweden’s view is contrary to the principle of international law prohibiting means and methods of warfare which cause unnecessary suffering. 
Sweden, Declaration made upon acceptance of Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, 15 January 1997.
Sweden
At the 25th International Conference of the Red Cross in 1986, Sweden and Switzerland submitted a draft resolution which stated:
The development of laser technology for military use includes a risk that laser equipment of armed forces can be specifically used for antipersonnel purposes on the battlefield, such as causing permanent blindness of human beings, and that such use may be considered already prohibited under existing international law. 
25th International Conference of the Red Cross, Geneva, 23–31 October 1986, Commission I, CI/2.6/PR3, Item 2.6, quoted in Louise Doswald-Beck, “New Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons”, IRRC, No. 312, 1996, p. 273.
This wording was not retained, and the resolution adopted instead stated that the Conference noted “that some governments have voiced their concern about the development of new weapons technologies the use of which, in certain circumstances, could be prohibited under existing international law”.  
25th International Conference of the Red Cross, Geneva, 23–31 October 1986, Res. VII, § B(6).
Switzerland
Upon acceptance of the 1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, Switzerland stated: “The provisions of Protocol IV shall apply in all circumstances.” 
Switzerland, Declaration made upon acceptance of Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, 24 March 1998.
Switzerland
Switzerland’s ABC of International Humanitarian Law (2009) states:
Weapons
International humanitarian law imposes limitations, in some cases a total ban, on the use of weapons whose impact goes beyond the permissible purpose of weakening the enemy. Weapons are prohibited on the basis of three fundamental criteria: if their use inevitably leads to death; if they cause disproportionate injury or Unnecessary suffering; if they strike indiscriminately. On the basis of these three criteria a number of specific weapons have been explicitly prohibited by international conventions, including … blinding laser weapons … Some of these bans are part of Customary international law. 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, ABC of International Humanitarian Law, 2009, pp. 9, 40 and 41.
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
In 1987, during a debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, the USSR stated that it had no objection to a ban on anti-personnel laser weapons. 
USSR, Statement before the UN General Assembly, UN Doc. A/C.1/42/PV.5, 14 October 1987, p. 34–35.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Upon acceptance of the 1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the United Kingdom stated: “The application of its provisions will not be limited to the situations set out in Article 1 of the [1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons].” 
United Kingdom, Declaration made upon acceptance of Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, 11 February 1999.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 1998, in a letter to the ICRC President, the UK Secretary of Defence stated:
The UK’s Armed Forces have never planned to use weapons intended to cause permanent blindness. The capabilities of weapons systems under development which employ lasers, and the concepts of operation for their use, are already consistent with the [1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons]. 
United Kingdom, Letter from the Secretary of Defence to the ICRC President, 23 March 1998.
United States of America
Prior to the adoption of the 1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the United States was developing a number of laser systems intended to blind either personnel and/or optical systems. An evaluation in 1988 by the Office of the Judge Advocate General concluded that such weapons would not cause unnecessary suffering and therefore would not be illegal. 
United States, Department of the Army, Office of the Judge Advocate General, Memorandum on Use of Lasers as Antipersonnel Weapons, Doc. DA PAM 27-50-191, 29 September 1988, reprinted in The Army Lawyer, November 1988, p. 3.
During the meetings of governmental experts preparatory to the Review Conference, the United States opposed the adoption of a Protocol on the subject. The system that was closest to deployment was the “Laser Countermeasure System” (LCMS also referred to as the PLQ-5), mounted on an M16 rifle, for which the army hoped to have government approval for manufacture in June 1995. This system was described as having “the primary objective to detect, jam and suppress threat fire control, optical and electro-optical systems”. 
Lockheed-Sanders Fact Sheet, Laser Countermeasure System (LCMS), Doc. AN/PLQ-5, 1994.
It certainly had the capacity to blind at considerable distances and its use for this purpose was not excluded. 
United States, Department of the Army, Office of the Judge Advocate General, Memorandum on the subject AN/PLQ-5 Laser Countermeasure System, Law of War Review, 16 September 1994.
Congress decided to delay its decision on whether to give approval for manufacture. 
Human Rights Watch Arms Project, US Blinding Laser Weapons, 21 May 1995, New York/Washington D.C., Vol. 7, No. 5, pp. 2 and 9; Inside the Pentagon, 13 July 1995, p. 9.
As a result of pressure from a number of Congressmen, 
United States, Letter to the Secretary of Defense from 48 US Senators and Congressmen, 31 July 1995.
the Department of Defense reconsidered its policy. In September 1995, the Secretary of Defense announced that “the Department of Defense prohibits the use of lasers specifically designed to cause permanent blindness of unenhanced vision and supports negotiations prohibiting the use of such weapons”. 
United States, Defenselink News Release No. 482-95, 1 September 1995. (The US Secretary of Defense repeated the same statement on 17 January 1997, SECDEF Memo U00888/97, DoD Policy on Blinding Lasers.)
A Department of Defense News Briefing in October 1995 stated:
With lasers, we have an opportunity to stop a proliferation of a new and dangerous weapon, we hope. We are now engaged in discussions at the Conference on Conventional Weapons in Vienna to do just that. Secretary Perry felt strongly that we should take a lead role in that by swearing off the development and use of lasers intentionally designed to blind people. 
United States, Defenselink Transcript, DoD News Briefing, Mr. Kenneth H. Bacon, ASTD (PA), 12 October 1995.
United States of America
A controversial analysis of the 1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons by the Judge Advocate General of the US Department of the Army in 1995 stated that the Protocol was only applicable in international armed conflict, and not in operations such as “non-combatant evacuation, peacekeeping or counter terrorism missions, or in internal conflicts”. It also stated that the “State Parties that negotiated and adopted (by consensus) the laser Protocol did not conclude that use of a laser to blind an enemy combatant causes unnecessary suffering, or that use of a laser to blind an individual enemy combatant was illegal”. 
United States, Department of the Army, Office of the Judge Advocate General, Memorandum on Effect of Laser Protocol on U.S. Army Programs, 1 November 1995, US Airforce Operations Law Deskbook, Vol. II, 1996, p. IX-14, §§ 4(d) and 5.
Further to concern expressed at this interpretation by a US Senator, 
United States, Letter from Senator Patrick Leahy to the Secretary of Defense, 18 April 1996.
the Secretary of Defense replied:
Regretting any confusion created by the internal November 1995 memo, I would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm the Department’s policy. As you know, it is US policy to prohibit the use of weapons specifically designed to permanently blind … It was not the intent of the States Parties to Protocol IV to prohibit only mass blinding … As you note, there is no prohibition in [the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons] on research, development or production. Nevertheless, the Department has no intent to spend money developing weapons we are prohibited from using. We certainly would not want to encourage other countries to loosely interpret the treaty’s prohibitions, by implying that we want to develop or produce weapons we are prohibited from using … On the question of individual blinding, your interpretation is correct. Under both [the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons] and [Department of Defense] policy, laser weapons designed specifically to cause permanent blindness may not be used against an individual enemy combatant. 
United States, Letter from the Secretary of Defense to Senator Patrick Leahy, 8 May 1996.
United States of America
On 5 October 1995, namely after the adoption of new policy and during the final negotiations of Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the US army cancelled the Laser Countermeasure System (LCMS) programme. 
Bradley Graham, “Army Laser Weapon Becomes First Casualty of New Policy”, Washington Post, 13 October 1995; “Army finalizing LCMS termination plan”, Inside the Pentagon, 19 October 1995.
United States of America
During the final plenary session of the First Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (Second Session) in 1996, the United States stated that it “supported expansion of the scope of Protocol IV and it is the policy of the US to refrain from the use of laser weapons prohibited by Protocol IV at all times”. 
United States, Statement at the First Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (Second Session), 3 May 1996, reprinted in W. Hays Parks, “Memorandum of Law: Travaux préparatoires and legal analysis of blinding laser weapons protocol”, The Army Lawyer, June 1997, p. 41.
United States of America
The guidelines on blinding laser weapons issued in 1997 by the US Secretary of Defense state:
The Department of Defense prohibits the use of lasers specifically designed to cause permanent blindness and supports negotiations to prohibit the use of such weapons. However, laser systems are absolutely vital to our modern military. Among other things, they are currently used for detection, targeting, range-finding, communications and target destruction. They provide a critical technological edge to US forces and allow our forces to fight, win and survive on an increasingly lethal battlefield. In addition, lasers provide significant humanitarian benefits. They allow weapon systems to be increasingly discriminate, thereby reducing collateral damage to civilian lives and property. The Department of Defense recognizes that accidental or incidental eye injuries may occur on the battlefield as the result of the use of lasers not specifically designed to cause permanent blindness. Therefore, we continue to strive, through training and doctrine, to minimize these injuries. 
United States, Secretary of Defence, DOD Policy on Blinding Lasers, SECDEF Memo U00888/97, 17 January 1997, reprinted in Annotated Supplement to the Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations, prepared by the Oceans Law and Policy Department, Center for Naval Warfare Studies, Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, November 1997, § 9.8, footnote 45.
United States of America
In 1997, in his message to the US Senate transmitting the 1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons for consent to ratification, the US President stated: “These blinding lasers are not needed by our military forces. They are potential weapons of the future, and the US is committed to preventing their emergence and use.” Regarding the scope of the Protocol, whilst recognizing that it was officially that of international armed conflicts, the same message indicated that “it is US policy to apply the Protocol to all such conflicts, however they may be characterized, and in peacetime”. 
United States, Message from the US President transmitting Protocols II, III and IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons to the Senate for consent to ratification, Treaty Doc. 105-1, Washington D.C., 1997, Letter of Transmittal, p. IV and Tab.(C), p. 4.
Zimbabwe
According to the Report on the Practice of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe is opposed to the use of laser weapons. 
Report on the Practice of Zimbabwe, 1998, Chapter 3.1.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 1995 on the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the UN General Assembly:
Particularly welcoming the adoption on 13 October 1995 of the Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons (Protocol IV) annexed to the Convention [on Certain Conventional Weapons],
3. Urgently calls upon all States that have not yet done so to take all measures to become parties, as soon as possible, to the Convention [on Certain Conventional Weapons] and its Protocols and upon successor States to take appropriate measures so that ultimately access to these instruments will be universal;
6. Commends the Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons (Protocol IV) to all States, with a view to achieving the widest possible adherence to this instrument at an early date. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 50/74, 12 December 1995, preamble and §§ 3 and 6, adopted without a vote.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 1996 on the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the UN General Assembly:
3. Urgently calls upon all States that have not yet done so to take all measures to become parties, as soon as possible, to the Convention [on Certain Conventional Weapons] and its Protocols, and upon successor States to take appropriate measures so that ultimately adherence to these instruments will be universal;
7. Again commends the Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons (Protocol IV) to all States, with a view to achieving the widest possible adherence to this instrument at an early date, and calls, in particular, on the States parties to express their consent to be bound by the Protocol with a view to its entry into force as soon as possible. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 51/49, 10 December 1996, §§ 3 and 7, adopted without a vote.
UN General Assembly
In a resolutions adopted in 1997 on the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the UN General Assembly:
2. Urgently calls upon all States that have not yet done so to take all measures to become parties, as soon as possible, to the Convention [on Certain Conventional Weapons] and the Protocols thereto, and in particular to amended Protocol II, with a view to achieving the widest possible adherence to this instrument at an early date, and calls upon successor States to take appropriate measures so that ultimately adherence to these instruments will be universal;
4. Commends the Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons (Protocol IV) to all States, with a view to achieving the widest possible adherence to this instrument at an early date and calls, in particular, upon the States parties to express their consent to be bound by the Protocol with a view to its entry into force as soon as possible. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 52/42, 9 December 1997, §§ 2 and 4, adopted without a vote.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 1998 on the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the UN General Assembly:
1. Expresses satisfaction that the Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons (Protocol IV) entered into force on 30 July 1998, commends it to all States, with a view to achieving the widest possible adherence to this instrument at an early date, and calls, in particular, on all States parties to the Convention [on Certain Conventional Weapons] that have not yet done so to express their consent to be bound by the Protocol;
5. Urgently calls upon all States that have not yet done so to take all measures to become parties, as soon as possible, to the Convention [on Certain Conventional Weapons] and the Protocols thereto, and particularly to amended Protocol II, with a view to achieving the widest possible adherence to this instrument at an early date, and calls upon successor States to take appropriate measures so that ultimately adherence to these instruments will be universal. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 53/81, 4 December 1998, §§ 1 and 5, adopted without a vote.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 1999 on the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the UN General Assembly:
I 1. Expresses its satisfaction that the Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons (Protocol IV) entered into force on 30 July 1998, commends it to all States with a view to achieving the widest possible adherence to this instrument at an early date and calls, in particular, upon all States parties to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects that have not yet done so to express their consent to be bound by the Protocol;
II 1. Calls upon all States parties that have not yet done so to notify the Secretary-General, in his capacity as depositary of the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects and the Protocols thereto, of their consent to be bound by the Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons (Protocol IV), and by the amended Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby Traps and Other Devices (Protocol II);
III 3. Urgently calls upon all States that have not yet done so to take all measures to become parties, as soon as possible, to the Convention [on Certain Conventional Weapons] and the Protocols thereto, and in particular to the amended Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby Traps and Other Devices (Protocol II), with a view to achieving the widest possible adherence to this instrument at an early date, and calls upon successor States to take appropriate measures so that ultimately adherence to these instruments will be universal. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 54/58, 1 December 1999, §§ I(1), II(1) and III(3), adopted without a vote.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2003 on the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the UN General Assembly recalled with satisfaction “the decision by the Second Review Conference, on 21 December 2001, to extend the scope of the Convention and the Protocols thereto to include armed conflicts of a non- international character”. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 58/69, 8 December 2003, preamble, adopted without a vote.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2004 on the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the UN General Assembly:
1. Calls upon all States that have not yet done so to take all measures to become parties, as soon as possible, to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects and the Protocols thereto, as amended, with a view to achieving the widest possible adherence to these instruments at an early date, and so as to ultimately achieve their universality;
2. Calls upon all States parties to the Convention that have not yet done so to express their consent to be bound by the Protocols to the Convention and the amendment extending the scope of the Convention and the Protocols thereto to include armed conflicts of a non-international character. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 59/107, 3 December 2004, §§ 1–2, adopted without a vote.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2005 on the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the UN General Assembly:
1. Calls upon all States that have not yet done so to take all measures to become parties, as soon as possible, to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects and the Protocols thereto, as amended, with a view to achieving the widest possible adherence to these instruments at an early date, and so as to ultimately achieve their universality;
2. Calls upon all States parties to the Convention that have not yet done so to express their consent to be bound by the Protocols to the Convention and the amendment extending the scope of the Convention and the Protocols thereto to include armed conflicts of a non-international character. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 60/93, 8 December 2005, §§ 1–2, adopted without a vote.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2006 on the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the UN General Assembly:
Recalling with satisfaction the adoption and the entry into force of the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects, and its amended article 1, and the Protocol on Non-Detectable Fragments (Protocol I), the Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby Traps and Other Devices (Protocol II) and its amended version, the Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Incendiary Weapons (Protocol III) and the Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons (Protocol IV),
1. Calls upon all States that have not yet done so to take all measures to become parties, as soon as possible, to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects and the Protocols thereto, as amended, with a view to achieving the widest possible adherence to these instruments at an early date, and so as to ultimately achieve their universality;
2. Calls upon all States parties to the Convention that have not yet done so to express their consent to be bound by the Protocols to the Convention and the amendment extending the scope of the Convention and the Protocols thereto to include armed conflicts of a non-international character. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 61/100, 6 December 2006, preamble and §§ 1–2, adopted without a vote.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2007 on the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the UN General Assembly:
Recalling with satisfaction the adoption and the entry into force of the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects, and its amended article 1, and the Protocol on Non-Detectable Fragments (Protocol I), the Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby Traps and Other Devices (Protocol II) and its amended version, the Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Incendiary Weapons (Protocol III), the Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons (Protocol IV), and the Protocol on Explosive Remnants of War (Protocol V),
1. Calls upon all States that have not yet done so to take all measures to become parties, as soon as possible, to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects and the Protocols thereto, as amended, with a view to achieving the widest possible adherence to these instruments at an early date, and so as to ultimately achieve their universality;
2. Calls upon all States parties to the Convention that have not yet done so to express their consent to be bound by the Protocols to the Convention and the amendment extending the scope of the Convention and the Protocols thereto to include armed conflicts of a non-international character. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 62/57, 5 December 2007, preamble and §§ 1–2, adopted without a vote.
UN Development Program
During the negotiation of Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in Vienna in 1995, the UNDP representative stated that he was speaking “on behalf of the International Initiative Against Avoidable Disability promoted by UNDP, WHO and UNICEF”. He held that “the laser weapons had now been designed specially to blind personnel” and believed that “the use of such a weapon is abhorrent to the conscience of humanity”. 
UNDP, Statement at the First Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (First Session), UN Doc. CCW/CONF.I/SR5, 27 September 1995, pp. 10–11, §§ 49 and 50.
ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly
In a resolution on anti-personnel mines adopted in 1996, the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly called upon the European Council to adopt a new joint action before the final session of the Review Conference of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, stipulating that all EU members should ratify the 1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, ban the development and production of blinding laser weapons and proceed to the destruction of the existing stocks of blinding laser weapons. 
ACP-EU, Joint Assembly, Resolution on anti-personnel mines, 22 March 1996, Official Journal of the European Community, No. C 254, 1996, Item 4, § 2(c), (e) and (f).
Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 1996, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly emphasized that it appreciated the ICRC’s “diplomatic efforts to secure the banning of certain particularly cruel weapons, such as … laser weapons that blind victims. In this connection, it welcomes the recent adoption of the [1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons].” 
Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly, Res. 1085, 24 April 1996, § 6.
The Parliamentary Assembly also invited,
in particular, the governments of the member states of the Council of Europe, of the states whose parliaments enjoy or have applied for special guest status with the Assembly, of the states whose parliaments enjoy observer status, namely Israel, and of all other states to:
b. ratify, if they have not done so, … the United Nations Convention of 1980 on the prohibitions or restrictions on the use of certain conventional weapons and its protocols …
j.promote extension of the aforesaid United Nations Convention of 1980 to non-international armed conflicts, and inclusion in its provisions of effective procedures for verification and regular inspection. 
Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly, Res. 1085, 24 April 1996, § 8(b) and (j).
European Parliament
In a resolution adopted in 1995 on the failure of the international conference on anti-personnel mines and laser weapons, the European Parliament:
G. welcoming the announcement of the US Government that they are abandoning the development of some blinding laser weapons, but regretting that they did not abandon the development of all types of these weapons,
H. welcoming the agreement on a Protocol to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons to restrict the use and transfer of blinding laser weapons, but regretting that the Protocol fails to ban the production of blinding laser weapons and provides loopholes for the production, use and transfer of some blinding laser weapons, including those that target optical systems,
I. believing that deliberate blinding as a method of warfare is abhorrent and in contravention of established custom, the principles of humanity and the dictates of the public conscience,
2. Urges Member States to ratify the laser weapon Protocol without delays or reservations;
3. Welcomes the decision to convene a follow-up conference in the beginning of next year and calls on all Member States to use this opportunity to promote a comprehensive ban on anti-personnel mines and on all blinding laser weapons. 
European Parliament, Resolution on the failure of the international conference on anti-personnel mines and laser weapons, 29 June 1995.
EU Council of Ministers
In 1995, the EU Council of Ministers adopted a common position stating that the Member States shall “actively promote” the adoption of a protocol on blinding laser weapons. 
EU, Council of Ministers, Common Position concerning blinding laser weapons defined by the Council on the basis of Article J.2 of the Treaty on European Union, concerning blinding laser weapons, 18 September 1995, Doc. 95/379/CFSP, Official Journal of the European Community, No. L 227, 1995, p. 3.
European Commission
In 1995, in answer to a question from the European Parliament, the European Commission stated that it was “fully associated with the common position of the Member States”. 
European Commission, Answer to Written Question E-2490/95 from the European Parliament, Official Journal of the European Community, No. C 340, 1995, Item 82, 9 October 1995.
EU Council of Ministers
In 1995, in answer to a question from the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers explained the EU common position and stated: “Certain of the Union’s partners have adopted similar positions to that of the Union”. 
EU, Council of Ministers, Answer to Written Question E2489/95 from the European Parliament, Official Journal of the European Community, No. C 56, 1996, Item 38, 21 December 1995.
OAU Council of Ministers
In a resolution adopted in 1995, the OAU Council of Ministers urged all Member States to accede to the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons and expressed its support for the adoption of “a Protocol banning laser blinding weapons”. 
OAU, Council of Ministers, Res. 1593 (LXII), 21–23 June 1995, §§ 3 and 7.
OAU Council of Ministers
In a resolution adopted in 1996, the OAU Council of Ministers expressed “satisfaction with the adoption of a Protocol banning blinding laser weapons by the Review Conference” and called upon “all Member States to consider adhering to it”.  
OAU, Council of Ministers, Res. 1628 (LXIII), 26–28 February 1996, § 9.
OAS General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 1996 on respect for IHL, the OAS General Assembly urged member States to accede to the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. 
OAS, General Assembly, Res. 1408 (XXVI-O/96), 7 June 1996, § 1.
Conference of Government Experts on Weapons which may Cause Unnecessary Suffering or have Indiscriminate Effects
The expert report prepared for the Conference of Government Experts on Weapons which may Cause Unnecessary Suffering or have Indiscriminate Effects held in Lucerne in 1974 stated: “Use of lasers as anti-personnel devices is unlikely due to low cost-effectiveness for this purpose. Laser could, of course, have antipersonnel effects in addition to primary antimatériel purposes.” 
Weapons that may Cause Unnecessary Suffering or have Indiscriminate Effects, Report on the Work of Experts, ICRC, Geneva, 1973, p. 69, § 240.
Conference of Government Experts on Weapons which may Cause Unnecessary Suffering or have Indiscriminate Effects
A report on the discussion concerning laser weapons which took place at the Conference of Government Experts on Weapons which may Cause Unnecessary Suffering or have Indiscriminate Effects held in Lucerne in 1974 states:
261. Experts noted that lasers had already found military application in certain range-finding, guidance and communication systems. The opinion was expressed by one expert that certain laser weapons were feasible and might appear rather soon. Other experts, however, stated their doubts about the military practicability of such weapons, citing the high level of complexity and running costs likely to be involved if anything but the most specialized applications were envisaged. With regard to such specialized applications, there was some discussion of the potential of laser radiation weapons in an anti-aircraft or anti-missile role; the view was expressed that, having regard to energy requirements and to the transmissivity of the atmosphere at different altitudes to possible wavelengths of laser radiation, laser weapons of this type, if they were feasible at all, would probably only be usable from large aircraft.
262. With regard to the effects on the human body of laser radiation, two types of likely injury were cited. The first was burn injury. The second was ocular injury, already a well recognized hazard to users of existing laser devices, and one which stems from the natural capacity of the ocular lens to focus incident light, thereby concentrating its power, and hence its effect, on the retina. The resultant damage may lead to partial or total blindness. One expert observed that the degree of laser damage to human tissue depended on the wavelength of the incident radiation, and he stated that the most powerful forms of laser currently available did not in fact operate at the most damaging wavelengths.
Evaluation
277. Some experts were of the opinion that, because the effects of potential future weapons could have important humanitarian implications, it was necessary to keep a close watch in order to develop any prohibitions or limitations that might seem necessary before the weapon in question had become widely accepted. 
Conference of Government Experts on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons, Lucerne, 24 September–18 October 1974, Report, ICRC, Geneva, 1975, §§ 261–262 and 277.
Conference of Government Experts on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons
At the Conference of Government Experts on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons held in Lugano in 1976, one expert stated:
Laser weapons would appear at the beginning of the eighties, and this expectation would necessitate a watch to be kept on the military use of the laser beam, especially in an anti-personnel capacity, so as to prevent its causing a greater incidence of casualties among combatants. 
Conference of Government Experts on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons, Second Session, Lugano, 28 January–26 February 1976, Report, ICRC, Geneva, 1976, p. 19, § 54.
Conference of Government Experts on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons
At the Conference of Government Experts on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons held in Lugano in 1976, one expert read out paragraph 277 of the report of the Conference of Government Experts on Weapons which may Cause Unnecessary Suffering or have Indiscriminate Effects held in Lucerne in 1974 (see supra) and pointed out that it was a text with which most experts could agree. He further stated:
In view of the fact that the laser beam could cause blindness, its use as an anti-personnel weapon would have very grave consequences even if the combatants aimed at had protective equipment. To completely forbid its use against people was therefore desirable and also possible, but its unqualified prohibition was impossible, as it might be extremely useful against strategically important targets. 
Conference of Government Experts on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons, Second Session, Lugano, 28 January–26 February 1976, Report, ICRC, Geneva, 1976, pp. 80–81, § 5.
Inter-Parliamentary Conference (1999)
In a resolution adopted in 1995 on the challenges posed by calamities arising from armed conflict, the 93rd Inter-Parliamentary Conference called on States “to ban blinding laser weapons in an additional Protocol”. 
93rd Inter-Parliamentary Conference, Madrid, 27 March–1 April 1995, Resolution on the international community in the face of the challenges posed by calamities arising from armed conflicts and by natural or man-made disasters: the need for a coherent and effective response through political and humanitarian assistance means and mechanisms adapted to the situation, § 16(e).
First Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons
At the First Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in 1995, a consensus emerged during the negotiations that blinding laser weapons must not be used in any armed conflict. A number of States supported the Austrian proposal that would have applied the Protocol “in all circumstances including armed conflict and times of peace”. 
First Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (First Session), UN Doc. CCW/CONF.I/ MCIII/WP.2, 26 September 1995, Article 1(2).
The proposal retained was that the scope of the Protocol should be the same as that agreed on for the new 1980 Protocol II to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons also in the process of being negotiated in another Committee. 
First Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (First Session), UN Doc. CCW/CONF.I/4, 12 October 1995, § 5. (The report of the Main Committee (III) stated that “during the course of negotiations on the draft text, the Committee decided to leave the question of scope, as referred to in Article 1, to the decision of the Drafting Committee of the Review Conference, pending the agreed text on scope negotiated in Main Committee II”.)
The lack of agreement on the 1996 Amended Protocol II to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (for reasons other than its scope) meant that that Protocol could not be adopted at the Vienna session of the Conference. States decided to go ahead and adopt Protocol IV nonetheless, even though the extension of the scope of application to non-international armed conflict could not be included. At the final session of the First Review Conference, in May 1996, the suggestion was made to return to Protocol IV and add the same scope of application clause that was finally agreed on for the amended Protocol II. All States were in favour, with the sole exception of one State, which declared that it opposed this alteration purely because of its principled opposition to extending IHL instruments to non-international armed conflict. At the same time, however, that State declared that it was opposed to the production and use of blinding laser weapons and that it had no intention of using these weapons in any type of armed conflict. 
ICRC archive document.
International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (1996)
The 26th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in 1996 welcomed the adoption of the 1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons “as an important step in the development of international humanitarian law” and emphasized “the prohibition on the use or transfer of laser weapons specifically designed to cause permanent blindness”. The Conference further welcomed “the general agreement achieved at the Review Conference that the scope of application of this Protocol should apply not only to international armed conflicts”. 
26th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, Geneva, 3–7 December 1995, Res. II, § H(c), (d) and (f).
First Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons
The Final Declaration of the First Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (Second Session) in 1996 contained the following statement in relation to blinding laser weapons:
Welcoming the adoption of Protocol IV on Blinding Laser Weapons as a codification and progressive development of the rules of international law,
Noting that a number of issues could be considered in the future, for example at a review conference, taking into account scientific and technological developments, including the questions of proliferation on the production, stockpiling and transfer of blinding laser weapons and the question of compliance with regard to such weapons, as well as other pertinent issues, such as the definition of “permanent blindness”, including the concept of field of vision.
The High Contracting Parties solemnly declare:
Their satisfaction at the adoption of the Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons (Protocol IV) to the Convention,
Their conviction of the importance of the earliest possible entry into force of Protocol IV,
Their desire that all States, pending the entry into force, respect and ensure respect of the substantive provisions of Protocol IV to the fullest extent possible,
Their recognition of the need for achieving the total prohibition of blinding laser weapons, the use and transfer of which are prohibited in Protocol IV,
Their wish to keep the issue of the blinding effects related to the use of laser systems under consideration. 
First Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (Second Session), UN Doc. CCW/ CONF.I/16, Final Declaration, 22 April to 3 May 1996, §§ 14–20.
Second Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons
In the Final Declaration of the Second Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in 2001, States Parties expressed their determination “to encourage all States to become Parties to the Protocol [on blinding laser weapons] as soon as possible”. States Parties also reaffirmed “the recognition by the First Review Conference of the need for the total prohibition of blinding laser weapons, the use and transfer of which are prohibited in Protocol IV”. 
Second Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, Geneva, 11–21 December 2001, UN Doc. CCW/CONF.II/2, Final Declaration, 25 January 2002, p. 11.
No data.
ICRC
Research, analysis and discussion on blinding laser weapons that helped lead to the adoption of the 1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons took place largely in the context of a series of expert meetings on this subject convened by the ICRC. 
Louise Doswald-Beck (ed.), Blinding Weapons: Reports of the meetings of experts convened by the International Committee of the Red Cross on Battlefield Laser Weapons 1989–1991, ICRC, Geneva, 1993, 371 pp.
ICRC
At the Group of Governmental Experts to prepare the First Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in 1994, the ICRC made a proposal to the effect that:
1. Blinding as a method of warfare is prohibited.
2. Laser weapons may not be used against the eyesight of persons. 
ICRC, Working paper submitted to the Group of Government Experts to prepare the First Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, UN Doc. CCW/CONF.I/GE/CRP.28, 12 August 1994.
ICRC
In 1994, in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, the ICRC addressed the issue of blinding laser weapons in the following terms:
The ICRC is very pleased that a large number of States have either formally or informally indicated their support for a Protocol on the subject of blinding weapons … This preventive step will save the world from the horrifying prospect of large numbers of persons being suddenly blinded for life by certain laser weapons that could soon be both inexpensive and easily available. 
ICRC, Statement before the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, UN Doc. A/C.1/49/PV.10, 24 October 1994, p. 11.
ICRC
In 1996, at the close of the session of the First Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons that adopted Protocol IV, the head of the ICRC delegation made the following formal statement:
The adoption of the Protocol on blinding laser weapons represents a victory for civilization over barbarity. Above and beyond the text of the Protocol, what we will remember about the decision taken today, and what the people of the world will understand, is that States do not accept the idea that men might deliberately blind other men, in any circumstances whatsoever. 
Louise Doswald-Beck, “New Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons”, IRRC, No. 312, 1996, p. 297.
ICRC
In 1995, in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, the ICRC made the following statement:
The adoption, on 13 October 1995, of Protocol IV, on blinding laser weapons, is a major achievement. To our knowledge, this is the first time since 1868 that a weapon has been prohibited before it could be used on the battlefield. Thus, humanity has been spared the horror that such blinding weapons would have created. Quite apart from the actual wording of the instrument, the effect of its adoption is a strong message that States will not tolerate the deliberate blinding of people in any circumstances. Thus, it is a triumph of civilization over barbarity. It is also a major achievement that this Protocol includes a prohibition on the transfer of blinding laser weapons. The ICRC sincerely hopes that States will adhere to it as quickly as possible and will take all appropriate measures to ensure respect for its provisions. 
ICRC, Statement before the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, UN Doc. A/C.1/50/PV.11, 26 October 1995, pp. 25–26.
Jane’s Defence Weekly
Jane’s Defence Weekly alleged that the United Kingdom had deployed prototypes of blinding laser weapons in the war in the South Atlantic. 
Fermin Gallego and Mark Daly, “Laser Weapons in Royal Navy Service”, Jane’s Defence Weekly, 13 January 1990, pp. 48–49. See also Simon O’Dwyer-Russell, “Navy’s top secret laser was tried out in Falklands”, Sunday Telegraph, 7 January 1990.
Human Rights Watch Arms Project
According to the Human Rights Watch Arms Project, “two Stingray prototypes were deployed [by the United States], but not used, in the Gulf War”. 
Human Rights Watch Arms Project, US Blinding Laser Weapons, Washington D.C., May 1995, p. 1.
Human Rights Watch Arms Project
Prior to the adoption of Protocol IV, there were a number of programmes developing blinding laser weapons. The extent of these is not known, not all of them having been confirmed. Some research on the extent of such developments was undertaken by the Human Rights Watch Arms Project, which published a report in 1995 in which it indicated that such weapons were being researched or developed in China, France, Germany, Israel, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, Ukraine and the United States. 
Human Rights Watch Arms Project, Blinding Laser Weapons: The Need to Ban a Cruel and Inhumane Weapon, Washington, D.C., September 1995; Nick Cook, “Chinese laser ‘blinder’ weapon for export”, Jane’s Defence Weekly, 27 May 1995.
Jane’s Intelligence Review
There were reports that a Chinese company NORINCO had developed a portable blinding laser weapon that was displayed in March 1995 at defence exhibitions in Manila and Abu Dhabi. According to Jane’s Intelligence Review, the Chinese ZM-87 was the first openly offensive laser to be marketed. 
Sebastian Gorka and Richard Sullivan, “Assuming the offensive: The laser threat on the 21st century battlefield”, Jane’s Intelligence Review, February 1998, pp. 45–46; see also Jane’s Defence Weekly, 27 May 1995, p. 3 and International Defense Review, May 1995, pp. 19–21.
In October 1995, China ratified the 1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.
World Medical Association
In a public statement in April 1995, the World Medical Association stated: “The development of antipersonnel lasers as blinding weapons represent[s] one of the biggest public health issues facing the world today. The World Medical Association fully supports the ICRC in its efforts to combat this growing menace.” 
World Medical Association, Public statement, 24 April 1995.
Human Rights Watch
In two press releases in 1995, Human Rights Watch condemned the use of blinding laser weapons. In the first, it stated: “Blinding laser weapons are cruel and inhumane weapons that would cause unnecessary suffering to countless soldiers and possibly civilians.” 
Human Rights Watch Arms Project, Press Release, 24 September 1995.
In the second, it emphasized its belief that “blinding laser weapons are an excessively cruel weapon, and that the use of blinding laser weapons is repugnant to the public conscience and should therefore be banned”. 
Human Rights Watch Arms Project, Press Release, 21 May 1995.
These statements were based on a Human Rights Watch report, “Blinding Laser Weapons, the Need to Ban a Cruel and Inhuman Weapon”, in which it stated:
Given the long-term effects on a country of permanently blinding large numbers of soldiers, the intentional blinding by lasers or any other weapon cannot justify whatever minimal military utility might be gained in the short run. Tactical lasers, including weapons that are often referred to as anti-material or anti-sensor such as LCMS [Laser Countermeasure System], have the capacity for directly causing blindness and in some cases are intended to cause blindness. This characteristic renders them essentially antipersonnel and requires that they be banned.  
Human Rights Watch Arms Project, Blinding Laser Weapons: the Need to Ban a Cruel and Inhumane Weapon, Vol. 7, No. 1, Washington, D.C., September 1995.
World Blind Union
At the First Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in 1995, the World Blind Union supported a ban on blinding laser weapons. 
World Blind Union, Statement at the First Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (First Session), Vienna, 28 September 1995, UN Doc. CCW/CONF.I/SR.6, 5 October 1995, p. 12, § 56; see also Louise Doswald-Beck, “New Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons”, IRRC, No. 312, 1996, p. 276.
World Veterans Association
At the First Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in 1995, the World Veterans Association supported a ban on blinding laser weapons. 
World Veterans Federation, Statement at the First Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (First Session), Vienna, 28 September 1995, UN Doc. CCW/CONF.I/SR.6, 5 October 1995, p. 17, § 82; see also Louise Doswald-Beck, “New Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons”, IRRC, No. 312, 1996, p. 276.
Cristoffel-Blindenmission
At the First Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in 1995, the Cristoffel-Blindenmission of Germany stated that it considered laser weapons to be an “inhumane weapon system”. It therefore made an urgent appeal
to ban any use of laser beams against other people within international conflicts and civil wars; to forbid the development, production, storage, trading and use of such weapons; and to provide for implementation and verification of the Protocol, including sanctions if necessary. 
Cristoffel-Blindenmission, Statement at the First Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (First Session), Vienna, 28 September 1995, UN Doc. CCW/CONF.I/SR.6, 5 October 1995, p. 11, § 50.
Blinded Veterans Association
In a resolution adopted in 1995, the Blinded Veterans Association of the United States stated:
Laser weapons with the potential to blind are cruel and inhumane weapons, and we as a society must not accept blinding as a method of warfare … The Blinded Veterans Association actively supports efforts to seek an international prohibition on the use of lasers for the purpose of blinding as a method of warfare. 
Blinded Veterans Association, National Convention, Resolution 26-95, 26 August 1995.
Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons
Articles 2 and 3 of the 1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons provide:
In the employment of laser systems, the High Contracting Parties shall take all feasible precautions to avoid the incidence of permanent blindness to unenhanced vision. Such precautions shall include training of their armed forces and other practical measures.
Blinding as an incidental or collateral effect of the legitimate military employment of laser systems, including laser systems used against optical equipment, is not covered by the prohibition of this Protocol. 
Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons, to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects, Vienna, 13 October 1995, Articles 2 and 3.
No data.
Australia
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) states:
Under the 1995 Protocol IV of the CCW [1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons] (CCW P. IV), laser weapons are prohibited from use where they are specifically designed to cause permanent blindness. While CCW P. IV does not prohibit use of lasers for other purposes, precautions must be taken when using laser systems for other purposes in order to avoid causing permanent blindness. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, § 4.12.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (2006) states: “Article 3 [of the 1980 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons] permits the use of lasers on the battlefield if blinding occurs incidentally or as a collateral effect.” 
Cameroon, Droit des conflits armés et droit international humanitaire, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les forces de défense, Ministère de la Défense, Présidence de la République, Etat-major des Armées, 2006, p. 271, § 631.
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) states:
Blinding as an incidental or collateral effect of the legitimate military employment of laser systems is not covered by the prohibition [on blinding laser weapons]. For example, the legitimate use of a laser targeting system in a tank is lawful even if one of its collateral effects may be to cause blindness. However, such a laser targeting system could not be deliberately used to blind enemy combatants. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 5-3, § 30.
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001) states in its chapter entitled “Restrictions on the use of weapons”:
Blinding as an incidental or collateral effect of the legitimate military employment of laser systems is not covered by the prohibition [on blinding laser weapons]. For example, the legitimate use of a laser targeting system in a tank is lawful even if one of its collateral effects may be to cause blindness. However, such a laser targeting system could not be deliberately used to blind enemy combatants. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 519.3.
Côte d’Ivoire
Côte d’Ivoire’s Teaching Manual (2007) provides in Book IV (Instruction of heads of division and company commanders):
II.1.10. Laser weapons
Laser weapons which are designed, as their sole combat function or as one of their combat functions, to cause permanent blindness or to diminish vision (i.e. to the naked eye or to the eye with corrective eyesight devices) are prohibited.
Blinding as an incidental or collateral effect of the legitimate military employment of laser systems is not covered by this prohibition. Thus, the legitimate use of a laser targeting system in a tank is lawful, even if one of its collateral effects can be that it leads to blindness. However, this laser targeting system should not be deliberately used to blind enemy combatants. 
Côte d’Ivoire, Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre IV: Instruction du chef de section et du commandant de compagnie, Manuel de l’élève, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, p. 54.
Israel
Israel’s Manual on the Laws of War (1998) states:
In the employment of arms applying laser technology for purposes other than causing blindness (i.e. for ranging purposes), it is incumbent on the states to take all precautionary measures to prevent unintentional blinding. 
Israel, Laws of War in the Battlefield, Manual, Military Advocate General Headquarters, Military School, 1998, p. 17.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states:
It is prohibited to use laser weapons specially designed to cause permanent blindness. This means that lasers intended to blind personnel temporarily, known as dazzle lasers, are permitted. Guidance mechanisms such as target designation or ranging lasers are not prohibited, nor are directed-energy lasers, say, to disable. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0471.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states:
6.15. “It is prohibited to employ laser weapons specifically designed, as their sole combat function or as one of their combat functions, to cause permanent blindness to unenhanced vision”. These weapons must not be transferred to other states or non-State entities.
6.15.1. Other laser systems may be employed against military objectives, for example, against military optical equipment even though this may cause incidental effects, including blindness, to the users of that equipment.
6.15.2. “In the employment of laser systems, … all feasible precautions” must be taken “to avoid the incidence of permanent blindness to unenhanced vision.” 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, §§ 6.15–6.15.2.
United States of America
The Annotated Supplement to the US Naval Handbook (1997) states:
While blinding as an incidental effect of “legitimate military employment” of range finding or target acquisition lasers is not prohibited by [the 1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons], parties thereto are obligated “to take all feasible precautions” to avoid such injuries. 
United States, Annotated Supplement to the Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations, prepared by the Oceans Law and Policy Department, Center for Naval Warfare Studies, Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, November 1997, § 9.8, footnote 45.
United States of America
The US Naval Handbook (2007) states:
Directed-energy devices, such as laser … are not proscribed by the law of armed conflict. Lasers may be employed as a rangefinder or for target acquisition, despite the possibility of incidental injury to enemy personnel. Laser “dazzlers” designed to temporarily disorient may also be employed. 
United States, The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations, NWP 1-14M/MCWP 5-12.1/COMDTPUB P5800.7, issued by the Department of the Navy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and Headquarters, US Marine Corps, and Department of Homeland Security, US Coast Guard, July 2007, § 9.8.
Uruguay
Uruguay’s Law on Cooperation with the ICC (2006) states:
26.2. Persons and objects affected by the war crimes set out in the present provision are persons and objects which international law protects in international or internal armed conflict.
26.3. The following are war crimes:
46. Using laser weapons that may cause permanent blindness. 
Uruguay, Law on Cooperation with the ICC, 2006, Article 26.2 and 26.3.46.
No data.
Australia
In 1997, in its response to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, the Australian Government stated:
Efforts are under way to increase the safety of these [laser] systems. For example, the Defence Department’s Defence Science and Technology Organization has a program aimed at making laser range-finders safer through the development and use of lasers which can be operated in the eye-safe region of the electromagnetic spectrum. 
Australia, Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, Restrictions on the Use of Blinding Laser Weapons and Landmines, Government Response, Canberra, August 1997.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 1998, in a letter to the ICRC President, the UK Secretary of Defence stated: “The capabilities of weapons systems under development which employ lasers, and the concepts of operation for their use, are already consistent with the [1995 Protocol IV to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons].” 
United Kingdom, Letter from the Secretary of Defence to the ICRC President, 23 March 1998.
United States of America
In 1995, in a US Department of Defense policy statement on blinding lasers, the need for some restrictions, aside from the prohibition of deliberate blinding, was explained thus:
Laser systems are absolutely vital to our modern military. Among other things, they are currently used for detection, targeting, range-finding, communications and target destruction. They provide a critical technological edge to US forces and allow our forces to fight, win and survive on an increasingly lethal battlefield. In addition, lasers provide significant humanitarian benefits. They allow weapons systems to be increasingly discriminate, thereby reducing collateral damage to civilian lives and property. The Department of Defense recognizes that accidental or incidental eye injuries may occur on the battlefield as the result of the use of legitimate laser systems. Therefore we continue to strive, through training and doctrine, to minimize these injuries. 
United States, Defenselink News Release, Reference Number: 482-95, 1 September 1995.
No data.
No data.
First Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons
The Final Declaration of the First Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in 1996 stated:
Welcoming the adoption of Protocol IV on Blinding Laser Weapons as a codification and progressive development of the rules of international law …
The High Contracting Parties solemnly declare:
Their conviction of the importance of the earliest possible entry into force of Protocol IV,
Their desire that all States, pending the entry into force, respect and ensure respect of the substantive provisions of Protocol IV to the fullest extent possible,
Their wish to keep the issue of the blinding effects related to the use of laser systems under consideration. 
First Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (Second Session), Final Declaration, UN Doc. CCW/CONF.I/16, 22 April–3 May 1996, §§ 14 and 17–19.
No data.
No data.
Human Rights Watch
In 1995, in its report on blinding laser weapons, Human Rights Watch stated:
Laser target designators and range finders are of great military utility and may reduce the number of casualties or ensure more precise attacks on military targets. Still, experts believe that because they can cause significant injury and permanent blindness, combatants remain under a legal obligation to weigh the human consequences of even these instruments. Perhaps the most important consideration is to ensure that laser range finders and target designators are not abused and used intentionally against the eyesight of individuals and outside their missions. Government officials have expressed the fear that personnel using such lasers might be charged with war crimes if an individual is blinded. However, soldiers and their commanders always are required to know the legitimate and illegitimate, unacceptable uses of weapons. 
Human Rights Watch, Blinding Laser Weapons: the Need to Ban a Cruel and Inhumane Weapon, September 1995, Vol. 7, No. 1, p. 37.