Practice Relating to Rule 79. Weapons Primarily Injuring by Non-Detectable Fragments
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands provides:
Weapons whose primary effect is to cause wounds by means of elements (splinters or fragments) which cannot be detected by X-rays in the human body are prohibited …
The meaning of this prohibition, however, is limited. It is in fact what remains of attempts to get a prohibition for more categories of explosive ammunition, such as projectiles with pre-fragmented jacket, or filled with very small bullets (pellets) or with needle-like objects (fléchettes). These kinds of ammunition are not prohibited; in essence they do not differ from long existing and widely used high explosive shells.
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states:
Section 15 - Non-detectable fragments
0470. It is prohibited to use any weapon, the primary effect of which is to injure by small objects (fragments or shrapnel) which, in the human body, evade detection by X-rays. This prohibition also acts on the principle banning the use of weapons causing unnecessary suffering. Nevertheless, the significance of this prohibition is limited. In fact it is the sole remnant of efforts to secure a ban on more categories of explosive munitions, such as projectiles with pre-fragmented outer casing, or filled with very small shot (pellets) or finned needles (flêchettes). These types of ammunition are not prohibited: essentially they are no different from high-explosive shells, which have existed for a long time and been used everywhere.
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 … weapons which cause injury by non-detectable fragments … 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.