The Meeting of the States Parties to the CCW1
The Meeting of the States Parties was held from 27 to 28 November 2003 in Geneva under the chairmanship of Rakesh Sood of India. Its main task was to consider the Report of the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) of the States Parties to the Convention including its recommendation to adopt the Protocol on Explosive Remnants of War. Sixty-six States parties participated in the Meeting, along with five signatory States.2
Fifteen States not parties to the Convention attended as observers.3
The representatives of UNICEF, UNIDIR, UNMAS and the ICRC, as well as a number of other international and non-governmental organizations also attended the Meeting.
In his message to the Meeting, the Secretary-General underscored the importance of full implementation of and universal adherence to the CCW. He expressed particular concern regarding explosive remnants of war and mines other than anti-personnel mines, which he described as sleeping killers threatening men and women in fields and children at play, endangering the lives of aid workers, and holding back reconstruction and development. He called upon all States parties to redouble their efforts to protect humanitarian personnel and civilian populations from their effects. He praised the progress made by the GGE over the last year in dealing with the technical complexities involved in achieving the two goals of eradicating the humanitarian threat and meeting security needs.4
During the general exchange of views, 25 delegations, (including Italy on behalf of the European Union as well as acceding and associated States), made statements. Representatives of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee on Humanitarian Action, UNMAS and ICRC also participated in the general exchange of views. Several NGOs were also invited to address the Meeting.5
Upon the recommendation of the GGE, the Meeting of the States Parties decided to adopt a new legally binding instrument, Protocol V, on Explosive Remnants of War (ERW), which would be annexed to the CCW. For the text of Protocol V, see appendix IV
Looking ahead to future work, the Meeting adopted new mandates for the two respective working groups to continue their work in 2004.6
On the issue of ERW, the Group would continue to consider the implementation of existing principles of international humanitarian law and to further study, on an open-ended basis, possible preventive measures aimed at improving the design of certain specific types of munitions, including sub-munitions, with a view to minimizing the humanitarian risk of such munitions becoming explosive remnants of war, initially with particular emphasis on meetings of military and technical experts. Exchange of information, assistance and co-operation would be part of the work. On the issue of MOTAPM, the Group would continue to consider all proposals put forward since the establishment of the GGE with the aim of elaborating appropriate recommendations for submission to the next Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention. Meetings of military experts would be convened to provide advice on these activities.
The Meeting further decided that the Chairman-designate of the Meeting of States Parties in 2004 should undertake consultations during the intersessional period on possible options to promote compliance with the Convention and its annexed Protocols.
The States parties decided to designate Gordan Markoti of Croatia as Chairman of the Meeting of the States Parties in 2004. Markku Reimaa of Finland was appointed as Coordinator on Mines Other Than Anti-Personnel Mines and Jayant Prasad of India was appointed Coordinator on Explosive Remnants of War.
Meetings of the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE)
The fourth session
The fourth session of the GGE was held in Geneva, from 10 to 14 March 2003. The Group adopted its agenda,7
confirmed the Rules of Procedure,8
adopted its Programme of Work9
and confirmed arrangements for meeting the costs of its activities. It further agreed to prepare a report at the conclusion of each session, so that decisions or recommendations on both substantive and organizational matters could be properly recorded. Subsequently, the work of the GGE was conducted in two Working Groups that addressed the issues of ERW and MOTAPM.
The Working Group on ERW held six meetings and discussed the "Framework Paper on ERW,"10
a possible structure for an ERW instrument, presented by Chris Sanders of the Netherlands, Coordinator of the Working Group. It was prepared on the basis of informal consultations and discussions during the Group's previous sessions. During the general exchange of views, the following issues were discussed: the nature of the instrument on ERW (legally-binding or political-binding); the relationship between CCW Protocol II and ERW; the scope of the instrument; definitions; responsibility for clearance; provision of information; warnings to civilians; and protection of civilians and humanitarian missions; assistance and cooperation; victim assistance; and reporting and compliance.
The Meeting received nine working papers,11
and heard presentations by Hungary on "Methods of Clearance of Explosive Remnants of War in Hungary," and by the Russian Federation on "Practical Experience of the Russian Federation in the Detection and Deactivation of Improvised Explosive Devices."
The Working Group on MOTAPM held two meetings and discussed "Core Questions on Mines Other Than Anti-Personnel Mines"12
prepared by Peter Kolarov of Bulgaria, Coordinator of the Working Group. In the discussion, differing views were expressed on the need for a negotiating mandate that could lead to a legally binding instrument.
UNMAS presented a field report on the issue of mines other than anti-personnel mines in Afghanistan, the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD)13
presented a technical brief on "Scatterable Anti-Vehicle Mines," and Geneva Call, an international humanitarian organization against anti-personnel mines, made a presentation on "How to Engage Non-State Actors in a Landmine Ban and to Adhere to Other Humanitarian Norms."
In accordance with a decision by the 2002 Meeting of the States Parties to the CCW, one meeting of the Group of Experts as a whole was devoted to the consideration of options to promote compliance with the Convention and its annexed Protocols, under the chairmanship of Rakesh Sood of India.
At its plenary meeting, held on 14 March, the GGE adopted a procedural report for the fourth session.14
The fifth session
The fifth session of the GGE was held in Geneva, from 16 to 27 June 2003, at which the Working Group on ERW continued to negotiate an instrument. It considered the "Draft Proposal for an Instrument on ERW"15
put forward by the Coordinator, comprising 11 substantive articles and a technical annex, and drafted in treaty language based on the outcome of the Group's discussions in March.
The main elements under consideration were: general provisions and scope; definitions; clearance, removal and destruction of ERW; recording and use of information; provisions for the protection of civilian populations from the effects of ERW; provisions for the protection of humanitarian missions under the auspices of the United Nations from the effects of ERW; existing ERW; cooperation and assistance; preventive generic measures; consultations of High Contracting Parties; and compliance.
Intensive negotiations were held on all draft articles of the future instrument on ERW. The Coordinator announced that the textual amendments provided during the session would be the basis of a newly revised draft proposal for an instrument on ERW that he would prepare in advance of the sixth session in November.
One meeting of military experts was held under the chairmanship of Colonel Erwin Dahinden of Switzerland on the issue.
The Working Group on MOTAPM held three meetings and continued to discuss the Coordinator's paper entitled "Core Questions on Mines Other than Anti-Personnel Mines."16
It explored four main issues: MOTAPM with sensitive fuses; the use of MOTAPM by non-state actors; mine clearance; and international cooperation and assistance. However, differences among delegations on the necessity to have a negotiating mandate remained unresolved. One meeting of military experts was held under the chairmanship of Paul Ellis of the GICHD.
During its fifth session, the GGE devoted one meeting to the consideration of options to promote compliance with the Convention and its annexed Protocols, under the chairmanship of Rakesh Sood of India, in which they considered a document entitled "Compliance in the CCW context"17
presented by Greece on behalf of the European Union.
The Group heard a number of presentations made by the delegations: "Self-destruction and self-deactivation of sub-munitions" and "Sensitive Fuses of Anti-Vehicle Landmines" (China); "Pyrotechnic Clearance of the Territory of Former Military Training Area of RALSKO" (Czech Republic); "Sensitive Fuses and Sensors for Anti-Vehicle Mines" and "Landmine, Documentation, Information and Training Centre (DIAZ)" (Germany); "Ensuring Munitions Reliability through Their Proper Handling" (Russian Federation); "ERW, A Technical Advisor's View on Information and Technology" (the Netherlands); and "ERW in Iraq: An Initial Assessment" (United States). During the course of the session, UNMAS, GICHD and the Swiss Army co-organized a demonstration on mine clearance. GICHD and Human Rights Watch made presentations on "Information Requirements for ERW: the Views of the Clearance Community" and "The Provisions of Warnings and Risk Education for ERW" and "ERW in Iraq," respectively.
Finally, the GGE adopted its procedural report of the fifth session.18
The sixth session
The sixth session of the GGE was held in Geneva from 17 to 24 November 2003. The Working Group on ERW continued negotiations on an instrument on the basis of a revised "Draft Proposal for an Instrument on Explosive Remnants of War" prepared by the Coordinator19
reflecting the views and amendments put forward during the previous two sessions. Differences on issues such as the nature of the instrument and responsibility for clearance (of ERW) were resolved and negotiations were concluded on a draft protocol, which was forwarded to the plenary of the GGE for adoption.
The Working Group on MOTAPM discussed the "Draft Proposal by the Coordinator"20
and considered 11 working papers.21
It also heard presentations by Germany,22
the Russian Federation23
The Group held one meeting of military experts to deal with the issue, under the chairmanship of Paul Ellis of GICHD.
The GGE held one meeting to consider options to promote compliance with the Convention and its annexed Protocols, under the chairmanship of Rakesh Sood of India.
At the GGE's second plenary meeting on 24 November, both Coordinators presented the recommendations of their respective Working Groups. The Group endorsed the draft Protocol on Explosive Remnants of War and recommended that the Meeting of the States Parties to the CCW adopt it.
The Group also recommended that the Chairman-designate should undertake consultations during the intersessional period on possible options to promote compliance with the Convention and its annexed Protocols, taking into account proposals put forward, and should submit a report adopted by consensus to the States parties.
The Group further recommended that follow up work arising from the Meeting of States Parties (27-28 November) should be held under the oversight of the Chairman-designate of the Meeting of States Parties proposed to be held in Geneva in 2004 in conjunction with the Sixth Annual Conference of the States Parties to Amended Protocol II. Finally, the GGE adopted its procedural report of the sixth session.25
Documentation on all meetings of the States parties to the CCW is available from http://disarmament.un.8080/ccw/ccwmeetingsgge.html [accessed 13 August 2004].
Egypt, Iceland, Sudan, Turkey and Vietnam.
Burkina Faso, Dominican Republic, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Venezuela and Yemen.
Press release SG/SM/9035 of 27 November 2003.
Handicap International, Landmine Action and Mines Action Canada.
CCW/GGE/VI/2, 11 December 2003.
CCW/GGE/IV/1, 28 February 2003. The agenda was applied to the three sessions of the Group of Governmental Experts.
As recommended and used by the Second Review Conference (CCW/CONF.II/PC.1/1 with oral amendments).
CCW/GGE/IV/1/Add.1., 28 February 2003.
CCW/GGE/IV/WG.1/WP.1, 28 February 2003. The framework paper contained 12 articles: (1) General provisions; (2) Scope of application; (3) Definitions; (4) Clearance, removal and destruction of ERW; (5) Recording and use of information; (6) Provisions for the protection of civilian populations from the effects of ERW; (7) Provisions for the protection of humanitarian missions from the effects of ERW; (8) Existing ERW; (9) Cooperation and assistance; (10) Generic preventive measures; (11) Consultations of High Contracting Parties; and (12) Compliance.
CCW/GGE/IV/WG.1/WP.1 to CCW/GGE/IV/ WG.1/WP.6 and CCW/GGE/IV/WG.2/WP.1 to CCW/GGE/IV/WG.2/WP.3.
CCW/GGE/IV/WG.2/WP.1, 10 March 2003.
The Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) supports Humanitarian Mine Action through operational assistance, research, and support to the implementation of the Mine-Ban Convention. It is an independent foundation supported by 18 governments.
CCW/GGE/IV/2, 10 March 2003.
CCW/GGE/V/WG.1/ WP.1/Rev.1, 20 May 2003.
CCW/GGE/V/WG.2/WP.1, 27 May 2003.
CCW/GGE/V/2, 26 June 2003.
CCW/GGE/V/3, 8 July 2003.
CCW/GGE/VI/WG.1/WP.1, 22 September 2003.
CCW/GGE/VI/WG.2/WP.1, 11 November 2003.
CCW/GGE/VI/WG.2/WP.1 to CCW/GGE/VI/WG.2/WP.11.
"Sensitive Fuses for Anti-Vehicle Mines - Overview of Fuses, Sensors, and Recommendations for Best Practice."
"The Existing Restrictions on Mines Other Than Anti-Personnel Mines in the Framework of the Amended Protocol II" and "Self-destruction and Self-deactivating of Mines Other Than Anti-Personnel Mines."
"Field Report on Angola."
CCW/GGE/VI/2, 11 December 2003.