Practice Relating to Rule 81. Restrictions on the Use of Landmines
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands reproduces Articles 4 and 5 of the 1980 Protocol II to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states:
0429. The weapons concerned here are those named in Protocol II to the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. The protocol contains rules relating to mines, etc., which are always forbidden, and rules relating to mines, etc., which are not forbidden in themselves but which, in order to protect the civilian population, can only be used under certain conditions, or when fitted with certain technical devices.
0445. Restrictions on permitted mines, booby-traps and other devices
In establishing the conditions, it was decided that the use of mines, booby-traps, etc. constituted an attack under the law of war (see point 0507). For the use of permitted mines, booby-traps, etc., a distinction is made between “remotely delivered mines” and “non-remotely delivered mines” (the latter being laid by hand or with a mine layer). Remotely delivered mines are laid by being fired from artillery, rockets and mortars and by dropping from aircraft.
0446. The protection of the civilian population is central to the rules for the use of permitted mines, etc. It is prohibited, in all circumstances, to direct mines, booby-traps and other devices against the civilian population, individual civilians or civilian targets, either offensively or defensively or by way of reprisals.
0447. It is forbidden to use mines, booby-traps and other devices indiscriminately. In general this means devices that make no distinction between combatants and civilians, or between military targets and civilian objects. Indiscriminate use, in any case, is any placement of such weapons:
- which is not directed against a military target;
- which employs a method or means of delivery which cannot be directed at a specific military objective; or
- which may be expected to cause excessive collateral damage.
Effective warning should be given before any delivery of mines, booby-traps and other mechanisms which might affect the civilian population, unless circumstances do not permit this.
In its chapter on peace operations, the manual states: “As for the use of resources, the rules of the humanitarian law of war also apply … the use of mines is tied to strict rules”.
Upon acceptance of the 1996 Amended Protocol II to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the Netherlands stated:
With regard to Article 1, paragraph 2:
The Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands takes the view that the provisions of the Protocol which, given their content or nature, can also be applied in peacetime, must be observed in all circumstances.
With regard to Article 2, paragraph 3:
The Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands takes the view that the word “primarily” means only that mines that are designed to be exploded by the presence, proximity or contact of a vehicle and that are equipped with an anti-handling device are not regarded as anti-personnel mines because of that device.