Practice Relating to the Prohibition of Certain Types of Landmines
Fiji’s Anti-Personnel Mines Decree (2011) states:
In exercise of the power vested in me as the President of the Republic of Fiji and the Commander in Chief of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces by virtue of the Executive Authority of Fiji Decree 2009, I hereby make the following Decree –
TO GIVE EFFECT TO THE CONVENTION ON THE PROHIBITION OF THE USE, STOCKPILING, PRODUCTION AND TRANSFER OF ANTI-PERSONNEL MINES AND ON THEIR DESTRUCTION IN FIJI.
PART 1 – PRELIMINARY
2. In this Decree unless the context otherwise requires –
“anti-handling device” includes a device intended to protect a mine and which is part of, linked to, attached to or placed under the mine and which activates when an attempt is made to tamper with or otherwise intentionally disturb the mine;
“anti-personnel mine” includes a mine designed to be exploded by the presence, proximity or contact of a person and that will impede, incapacitate, injure or kill one or more persons. Mines designed to be detonated by the presence, proximity or contact of a vehicle as opposed to a person, that are equipped with anti-handling devices, are not considered anti-personnel mines as a result of being so equipped;
“Convention” means the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, 18 September 1997, set out in the Schedule to this Decree, as amended from time to time in accordance with Article 13 of the Convention;
“mine” includes a munition designed to be placed under, on or near the ground or other surface area and to be exploded by the presence, proximity or contact of a person or a vehicle;
“mined area” includes an area which is dangerous due to the presence or suspected presence of mines;
“Minister” means the Minister responsible for Defence, National Security and Immigration;
“transfer” involves, in addition to the physical movement of anti-personnel mines into or from national territory, the transfer of title to and control over the mines, but does not involve the transfer of territory containing emplaced anti-personnel mines.
PART 4 – DESTRUCTION OF ANTI-PERSONNEL MINES
Delivery or notification of Anti-Personnel Mines
19. – (1) Any person who knowingly possesses an anti-personnel mine otherwise than in accordance with section 26, must, without delay, deliver it or notify the Republic of Fiji Military Forces and make arrangements for the anti-personnel mines collection and destruction.
(2) If an anti-personnel mine is delivered to a member of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, or a police officer, in accordance to section 19(1), the member or the officer, as the case may be, must ensure the destruction or permanent deactivation of the mine.
Destruction of Anti-Personnel Mines
20. – (1) Subject to section 22, the Minister shall ensure the destruction of all –
(a) stockpiled anti-personnel mines owned or possessed by Fiji or under its jurisdiction or control;
(b) anti-personnel mines in mined areas under the jurisdiction or control of Fiji; and
(c) anti-personnel mines notified or delivered for destruction under section 19.
Permission to retain or transfer
22. The Minister may, in writing, grant permission for a specified number of anti-personnel mines to be in the custody of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces –
(a) to be placed under, on or near the ground or other surface area, or
(b) be possessed; or
(c) be produce[d] or otherwise acquired; or
(d) be physically moved, or for the purpose of development of, and training in any or all of the following –
(i) mine detection techniques;
(ii) mine clearance techniques;
(iii) mine destruction techniques; and/or
(iv) mine deactivation techniques.
PART 5 – PROHIBITIONS AND OFFENCES
23. – (1) Subject to section 22, no person shall –
(a) use an anti-personnel mine;
(b) develop or produce an anti-personnel mine;
(c) acquire an anti-personnel mine;
(d) possess, retain or stockpile an anti-personnel mine; and/or
(e) transfer to anyone, either directly or indirectly, an anti-personnel mine.
(2) Subject to section 26, no person shall assist, encourage or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in conduct referred to in subsection (1) above.
Offences and Penalties
24. – (1) A person is guilty of an offence if the person –
(a) places an anti-personnel mine under, on or near the ground or other surface area; or
(b) knowingly is in the possession of an anti-personnel mine; or
(c) develops, produces, or otherwise acquires an anti-personnel mine; or
(d) stockpiles anti-personnel mines; or
(e) transfer[s] ownership or control of an anti-personnel mine; whether directly or indirectly, to another person.
(2) Any person who contravenes section 24 shall be guilty of an offence and liable upon conviction to –
(a) in the case of an individual, imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years, and
(b) in the case of a body corporate, a fine not exceeding 500 penalty units.
25. Section 24 extends to conduct outside the territory of Fiji, the citizens of Fiji and bodies corporate incorporated or registered under the laws of Fiji.
Exceptions: conduct which is permitted
26. Section 23 does not apply to –
(a) the placement, possession, retention or transfer of an anti-personnel mine in accordance with a permission in force under section 22;
(b) the possession, retention or transfer of an anti-personnel mine by a member of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, a police officer, a court official, a customs official or any other such person appointed by the Minister by notice in writing in the course of that person’s duties for the purpose of –
(i) the conduct of criminal proceedings;
(ii) rendering an anti-personnel mine harmless;
(iii) retaining an anti-personnel mine for future destruction; and
(iv) delivering [an] anti-personnel mine to [an] appropriate armed forces unit for destruction.
Fiji endorsed the Final Declaration of the Brussels Conference on Anti-personnel Landmines in June 1997. It also voted in favour of the UN General Assembly resolutions in support of a ban on anti-personnel landmines in 1996, 1997 and 1998.
In 2011, in a statement submitted during the 11th Meeting of the States Parties to the Ottawa Convention on Anti-Personnel Mines, the head of the Fiji delegation stated:
[I]t must be noted that the global realization of suffering, permanent scars and disability caused by land mines for victims in most countries have created an environment of discrimination against employment, privileges and amenities freely enjoyed by us today. … [I]t is imperative that [a] comprehensive and holistic approach is embarked [upon], not only to fulfill the aspiration of the Convention and impose [a] ban on AP [anti-personnel] land mines but to eradicate any forms of discrimination for victims at all levels. …
Mr President, the Government of Fiji, being a signatory to this Convention is committed to put in place [a] supportive framework and pertinent regulatory measures that enable us to fulfill the minimum requirements of the Convention. Recently, the Fiji Government has enacted a Decree on Anti-Personnel-Mine[s], Decree No 19 of 2011. The Decree categorically outlines the various regulatory measures, legislative requirements, penalties and other pertinent matters that dovetail the aspiration of the Convention. Even though the context of the Convention may not be directly relevant to our situation … our support for the implementation and the universality of the Convention within the Pacific is enviable.