Practice Relating to Rule 80. Booby-Traps
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (1992) provides that it is prohibited to use booby-traps of a nature to cause superfluous injuries (1980 Protocol II to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, Article 6(2)), such as “perforation, impaling, crushing, poisoning, strangulation”. It also prohibits the use of booby-traps in the form of apparently harmless portable objects for daily use, such as food, or those associated with the sick, wounded or dead.
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (2006), under the heading “The Weapons of Warfare Subject to International Rules”, quotes Article 2 of the 1980 Protocol II to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.
The manual further states with regard to the use of mines, booby-traps and other devices:
The only restrictions concern use directed against civilian populations. All rules must be scrupulously observed so that their use in a situation of armed conflict does not cause victims amongst the civilian populations. …
[There are] no general restrictions (for reasons of military imperatives) for the use of such weapons against combatants, except for booby-traps which cause superfluous injuries … by causing wounding or death by perforation, impalement, crushing, poisoning or strangulation.
It is also prohibited to use booby-traps which resemble objects commonly used by the civilian population, or which are attached to or associated with sick wounded, [or] dead persons [or] … objects [that include] … treaty-based emblems [internationally recognized protective emblems], food or drink, etc.
Protocol II … (as modified on 3 May 1996) modifies the [earlier] version by obliging the parties to a conflict to remove both anti-vehicle mines and anti-personnel mines and to take additional measures to protect the civilian population against the dangers which they pose.