Practice Relating to the Prohibition of Certain Types of Landmines
Sweden’s Penal Code (1962), as amended in 1998, provides:
A person who uses, develops, manufactures, acquires, possesses or transfers anti-personnel mines [as defined in the 1997 Ottawa Convention on Anti-Personnel Mines] shall be sentenced for unlawful dealings with mines to imprisonment … unless the act is to be considered as a crime against international law.
On 2 June 1994, the Swedish Parliament decided that
Sweden in connection with the review conference [of the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons] should declare that an international prohibition against [anti-personnel land] mines is the only real solution to the humanitarian problem caused by the use of mines. Sweden should in this connection present proposals to achieve such a prohibition.
Following Parliament’s decision, the Swedish Government formally presented a proposal for an international prohibition on the production, transfer, stockpiling and use of anti-personnel landmines at a meeting of governmental experts in August 1994 preparing for the Review Conference of the States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. While this proposal made Sweden the first country during the review process to formally present a text calling for a total ban on anti-personnel landmines, the government withdrew this proposal during the Review Conference in Vienna, Austria, in October 1995.
In parallel with the review process of the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the landmine debate in Sweden continued, and by the end of 1994, the issue of a unilateral Swedish ban on anti-personnel landmines emerged. In response to a question in Parliament in October 1994, the Swedish Defence Minister declared that – while Sweden was firm in its support for an international ban on anti-personnel landmines – a unilateral Swedish ban would have no effect at all at the international level while considerably weakening the Swedish defence capability. The position of the Defence Minister was challenged by various organizations and parliamentarians and public pressure for a ban continued to build. On 13 December 1996, the Swedish Parliament imposed a unilateral ban, prohibiting the use of anti-personnel landmines and requiring the destruction of all anti-personnel landmines before the end of 2001.