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Experts wrap up Geneva session on inhumane weapons treaty

Experts wrap up Geneva session on inhumane weapons treaty

An international meeting of government experts representing the parties to a United Nations-backed treaty prohibiting the use excessively cruel weapons has wrapped up its current session in Geneva having considered ways to lessen the humanitarian risks of unexploded ordinance and possible options for promoting wider compliance with the accord.

The eleventh session of the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) of the States Parties to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (CCW) featured a discussion of working groups on explosive remnants of war (ERW), and mines other than anti-personnel mines (MOTAPM).

The Convention, also known as the Inhumane Weapons Convention, was concluded on 10 October 1980, and entered into force on 2 December 1983. It consists of a framework instrument and five individual protocols that regulate specific types of weapons, such as mines, grenades and booby-traps, which are all considered to be indiscriminate, to cause unnecessary or unjustifiable suffering or to have other humanitarian consequences.

Currently 99 States are party to the Convention, with a further seven having signed but not yet ratified. The States Parties agreed to expand the scope of the Convention to also cover internal armed conflicts, as well as armed conflicts of an international nature. This amendment entered into force on 18 May 2004 and has now been ratified by 43 States.

The Working Group on the issue of ERW considered, on an open-ended basis with an emphasis on meetings of military and technical experts, possible preventive measures aimed at improving the design of certain specific types of munitions with a view to minimizing the humanitarian risk of their becoming explosive remnants of war.

On the issue of MOTAPM, the Working Group considered topics such as detectability of the munitions and measures to prevent their unauthorized use. It also discussed fuse design and sensors, protection of civilians, mine-risk education and transparency and other confidence-building measures, with the aim of elaborating appropriate recommendations on MOTAPM for submission to the next meeting of the States Parties, set for this coming November.

The Group also held one meeting on the issue of possible options for promoting compliance with the Convention and its annexed Protocols, including the establishment of an effective and efficient compliance mechanism.