Practice Relating to Rule 86. Blinding Laser Weapons
Section B. Laser systems incidentally causing blindness
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) states:
Under the 1995 Protocol IV of the CCW [1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons] (CCW P. IV), laser weapons are prohibited from use where they are specifically designed to cause permanent blindness. While CCW P. IV does not prohibit use of lasers for other purposes, precautions must be taken when using laser systems for other purposes in order to avoid causing permanent blindness.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
In 1997, in its response to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, the Australian Government stated:
Efforts are under way to increase the safety of these [laser] systems. For example, the Defence Department’s Defence Science and Technology Organization has a program aimed at making laser range-finders safer through the development and use of lasers which can be operated in the eye-safe region of the electromagnetic spectrum.