Practice Relating to the Prohibition of Certain Types of Landmines
France’s LOAC Teaching Note (2000) includes anti-personnel mines in the list of weapons that “are totally prohibited by the law of armed conflict” because of their inhuman and indiscriminate character.
France’s LOAC Manual (2001) includes anti-personnel mines in the list of weapons that “are totally prohibited by the law of armed conflict” because of their inhuman and indiscriminate character.
The manual notes that France is a party to the 1997 Ottawa Convention on Anti-Personnel Mines and summarizes the provisions of the Convention prohibiting the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines “in or by ratifying States”.
France’s Anti-Personnel Mines Law (1998) provides: “The development, manufacture, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, sale, decant, import, export, transfer and use of antipersonnel mines are prohibited.”
France’s Code of Defence (2004) states: “The development, manufacture, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, offer, possession, import, export, transfer, and use of antipersonnel mines are prohibited.”
In February 1993, during a state visit to Cambodia, the French president, François Mitterrand, announced a moratorium on the export of anti-personnel landmines.
Not long after, France officially requested the UN secretary-general to hold a review conference to amend the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons and its Protocol II dealing with landmines. The review process, which spanned two and a half years, was the platform on which momentum was built that ultimately led to the adoption of the 1997 Ottawa Convention on Anti-Personnel Landmines.
France attended the International Strategy Conference “Towards a Global Ban on Anti-personnel Mines” in Ottawa, Canada, in October 1996 as a full participant. At the meeting, it announced new steps towards a ban stating that it would outlaw the use of anti-personnel landmines unless French soldiers were in danger. It also argued that mine ban negotiations should take place in the Conference on Disarmament.
In 2005, in a publication entitled “Fighting Proliferation, Promoting Arms Control and Disarmament: France’s Contribution”, France stated:
The anti-personnel mines issue
Two legal instruments contribute to action against landmines, adopting two distinct approaches: a total ban on anti-personnel mines under the Ottawa Convention, and regulation of certain conventional weapons under the 1980 Convention. France is extremely active on all these issues.
As the first permanent member of the Security Council to ratify the Ottawa Convention, on 23 July 1998, France has completely fulfilled its commitments. At national level, it has discharged all its obligations in full: the adoption of measures for national implementation (including the law of 8 July 1998); the creation of a French National Commission on the Elimination of Anti-Personnel Mines (CNEMA), whose membership brings together representatives of the French Parliament, civil society and public authorities; the appointment, in 1999, of a roving Ambassador with specific responsibility for demining and aid to victims of anti-personnel mines; and the destruction of its entire stockpile as of 20 December 1999.
Internationally, France’s commitment has been reflected in its constant support for the universalization and implementation of the Ottawa Convention. In the context of the first Review Conference of the Ottawa Convention (Nairobi, 29 November–3 December 2004), France has continued to work to strengthen the effectiveness of the Convention by seeking to preserve its integrity and the scope of its application.
In areas other than anti-personnel mines, France takes part in efforts to improve and reinforce the provisions of the 1980 Convention and its protocols, including Protocol II on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby-Traps and Other Devices, as amended in May 1996 at France’s instigation.
France’s priority is to maintain the momentum in this regulatory forum which provides for the reinforcement of international humanitarian law.
After extending the scope of application of the Convention to internal armed conflicts (December 2001), the States Parties adopted a further Protocol (V) on Explosive Remnants of War (November 2003) and have committed themselves to continue to address the issue of Mines Other Than Anti-Personnel Mines (MOTAPM). France is a participant in this process.
In 2008, the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of France stated:
France [actively engages] in the field with providing assistance to the victims and contributing to the clearance of areas affected by … anti-personnel mines (within the framework of the  Ottawa Convention [on Anti-Personnel Mines]).
In 2008, France’s Secretary of State in charge of European Affairs stated:
France is fully committed to the development and strengthening of international humanitarian law and its implementation. This is evidenced by its exemplary application of the provisions of the  Ottawa Convention on the prohibition of anti-personnel mines: adoption of the texts implementing it to domestic law – law of 8 July 1998 –, establishment of the [National Commission for the Elimination of Anti-Personnel Mines] – decree of 10 May 1999 –, completion of the destruction of stocks and demining operations within the deadline specified in the convention.
In a white paper on “Defence and National Security” published in 2008, France’s Ministry of Defence stated:
France is favourable to the new obligations and restrictions justified by the will to limit the harm caused by the use of certain weapons. Thus, … the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention dated 1997 [1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction] … create[s] freely accepted restrictions regarding entire categories of weapons.
In 2009, the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of France stated:
France attaches the highest importance to action against mines … [France applies] in an exemplary manner the  Ottawa Convention on antipersonnel mines. Under another aspect of the fight against … antipersonnel mines … , in particular the economic contribution to the clearance of affected zones and to the assistance to victims, our country will continue to meet its commitments.