Practice Relating to Rule 80. Booby-Traps
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands cites the prohibitions contained in Article 6 of the 1980 Protocol II to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states:
0434. A “booby-trap” is a device or substance designed, made or applied to kill or to injure. It functions unexpectedly when a person disturbs or approaches an apparently harmless object, or performs an apparently safe act. An example of an apparently safe act is opening a booby-trapped door.
0435. As the suffix “trap” would suggest, a booby-trap by definition is not necessarily explosive. For example, a pitfall trap with vertical bamboo spikes set in the ground also fits the definition of a booby-trap.
0436. Such a booby-trap is also prohibited on the principle of unnecessary suffering. “Other devices” means munitions placed by hand and devices designed to kill, injure or damage and triggered by remote control, or automatically after a certain time lapse.
0443. The use of booby-traps in the form of an apparently harmless portable object, specially designed to contain explosives and to explode when touched or approached, is forbidden. This means prefabricated booby-traps. It is also forbidden to use booby-traps in conjunction with:
- internationally recognized protected emblems (the red cross emblem, for example);
- the sick, wounded or dead;
- burial grounds, crematoria or graves;
- medical facilities, equipment, stocks or vehicles;
- toys or other items specially intended for children;
- food or drink;
- kitchen ware (except that in military installations);
- items of clear religious significance;
- historical monuments, etc.;
- live or dead animals.
0448. Furthermore, use of booby-traps and other devices is prohibited in any city, town, village or other territory where civilians are concentrated, in which combat between ground forces is not taking place, or does not appear to be imminent. This prohibition does not apply if booby-traps and other devices are placed on, or in the immediate vicinity of, a military objective, or if measures are taken to protect civilians from their effects, for example by setting up barriers.
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 … anti-personnel mines and booby traps … are forbidden.
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.
Upon acceptance of the 1996 Amended Protocol II to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the Netherlands declared: “[T]he provisions of the Protocol which, given their content or nature, can also be applied in peacetime, must be observed in all circumstances.”
The Report on the Practice of the Netherlands states that the Netherlands is of the opinion that the use of “booby traps connected with the emblem of the Red Cross, wounded or dead persons, medical goods or children’s toys is prohibited”.