United States of America
Practice Relating to Rule 79. Weapons Primarily Injuring by Non-Detectable Fragments
The US Air Force Pamphlet (1976) states: “Usage and practice has also determined that it is per se
illegal to use projectiles filled with glass or other materials inherently difficult to detect medically.”
The US Air Force Commander’s Handbook (1980) states: “Using clear glass as the injuring mechanism in an explosive projectile or bomb is prohibited, since glass is difficult for surgeons to detect in a wound and impedes treatment.”
The US Instructor’s Guide (1985) states that the principle of unnecessary suffering “outlawed the use of … projectiles filled with glass”.
The US Naval Handbook (1995) provides: “Using materials that are difficult to detect or undetectable by field x-ray equipment, such as glass or clear plastic, as the injuring mechanism in military ammunition is prohibited, since they unnecessarily inhibit the treatment of wounds.”
The US Naval Handbook (2007) states:
[U]sing materials that are difficult to detect or undetectable by field x-ray equipment, such as glass or clear plastic, as the injuring mechanism in military ammunition is prohibited, since they unnecessarily inhibit the treatment of wounds. Use of such materials as incidental components in ammunition, e.g., as wadding or packing, is not prohibited.
In 1979, in a legal review of the Maverick Alternate Warhead, the US Department of the Air Force stated:
It is generally accepted … that … only weapons designed to injure through non detectable fragments would be prohibited. Incidental effects arising from the use of a few plastic parts in a munition would still be considered lawful.
Upon ratification of the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the United States declared:
With reference to the scope of application defined in article 1 of the Convention, that the United States will apply the provisions of the Convention, Protocol I, and Protocol II to all armed conflicts referred to in articles 2 and 3 common to the Geneva Conventions for the Protection of War Victims of August 12, 1949 [international and non-international armed conflicts].