Practice Relating to Rule 86. Blinding Laser Weapons
Section A. Laser weapons specifically designed to cause permanent blindness
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’s Prohibition or Restriction of Certain Conventional Weapons Act (2008) states:
Blinding laser weapons
8. No person may –
(a) use, possess, procure, manufacture, stockpile, transfer, deal in, import or export blinding laser weapons; or
(b) possess, procure, manufacture, stockpile, transfer, deal in, import or export a component part of weapons contemplated in paragraph (a).
The Act defines a “blinding laser weapon” as “a laser weapon specifically designed, as its sole combat function or as one of its combat functions, to cause permanent blindness to the naked eye”.
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.”