Continuing CHAPTER III Conventional weapons issues


Meetings of the CCW Group of Governmental Experts

The seventh session

The seventh session of the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) was held in Geneva from 8 to 12 March. The Group conducted its work in two Working Groups that addressed the issues of ERW and MOTAPM.
The Working Group on ERW considered a working paper presented by the Coordinator,1 which, inter alia, contained ideas on how to move forward on the discussion regarding the implementation of existing principles of international humanitarian law - informally coined by delegates as his "three-step approach".2 It also received four working papers3 and heard a presentation by Human Rights Watch entitled "Off Target: The Conduct of the War and Civilian Casualties in Iraq". The working group also held one meeting of military experts under the chairmanship of Lt. Col. Bernard Jeanty (Switzerland), in which the question of possible preventive measures aimed at improving the design of certain specific types of munitions was discussed. The discussion was based on a non-paper by the chair containing a matrix on the preventive measures of munitions. It was decided that the matrix would be further updated based on comments during the Group's next sessions.
The Working Group on MOTAPM had before it six working papers.4 It also heard presentations by the United States on "Detectability", "US Mine Systems Self-Destruct (SD) Assurance", "SD/SDA Mechanisms", "Lithium Batteries" and on the new US policy on landmines; and by Australia on "Landmine Detection Technology". UNMAS made a presentation entitled "Current and Future Technology for MOTAPM Detection and Clearance". One meeting of military experts was held under the chairmanship of Col. Juhani Kääriäinen (Finland) and discussed a working paper presented by the Coordinator entitled "Military Experts Meeting: Tentative list of areas for discussion"5 which focused on issues such as marking, fencing and monitoring; fuse standards, sensitive fuses and batteries; detectability and future production; lifetime, storage, transfers, training and cooperation; non-state actors; self-destruction and self-deactivating devices.
The GGE also devoted one meeting to the consideration of options to promote compliance with the Convention and its annexed Protocols under the chairmanship of Gordan Markoti.

The eighth session

The eighth session of the GGE was held in Geneva from 5 to 16 July 2004. At its opening meeting there was an exchange of views on the status of Protocol V. The Group also welcomed Sweden's submission of the instrument of ratification as well as the Lithuanian Parliament's ratification of the Protocol.
During its meetings, the Working Group on ERW considered a working paper by its coordinator.6 Two meetings of military experts discussed a paper by its chairman.7 The Group continued to consider the implementation of existing principles of international humanitarian law and continued to further study possible preventive measures. It heard presentations on "ERW Matrix on Submunitions" (France), "The ERW Situation in Lithuania" (Lithuania), "ERW Threat Matrix Showing Relative Hazard" (United Kingdom), "Life Cycle Reliability Testing for Submunitions" and "Legacy US Submunition Weapon Reliability Efforts" (US), "Technical Options to Reduce ERW" (Switzerland), and "Cluster Munitions: A Global Overview" (Human Rights Watch).
The Working Group on MOTAPM held nine meetings, focusing on the Coordinator's paper,8 which essentially considered the aspects of preventive technical measures (detectability; limitation of the active lifespan of MOTAPM; sensitive fuses; anti-handling devices), other operational alternatives (MOTAPM laid outside marked and fenced areas), and other related issues (warning to civilians; use of MOTAPM by non-state actors and other issues related to the irresponsible use of MOTAPM; transfers; transparency and other confidence building measures; international cooperation and assistance). The Working Group received seven papers.9 It also held two meetings of military experts under the chairmanship of Brig. Gen. Juha Kilpiä (Finland) and discussed his working paper.10 The Working Group heard presentations on "Perimeter Marked Area" (Finland), "Technical presentation on MOTAPM" (India), and "Detectability" (United States).
On the issue of options to promote compliance with the Convention and its annexed Protocols, under the Chairmanship of Gordan Markoti (Croatia), the Group considered a discussion paper prepared by the Chairperson11and a paper by South Africa.12 Furthermore, the Group heard a presentation entitled "The Functioning of the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission".13

The ninth session

The ninth session of the GGE was held in Geneva from 8 to 16 November 2004. The Working Group on ERW continued to discuss the implementation of existing international humanitarian law as well as the possible preventive measures for improving the design of certain specific types of munitions, including submunitions. It received three papers14 and heard presentations on "Safety, Reliability and Performance of Conventional Munitions and Submunitions" and "International Law and the Use of Munitions", both by Germany. One meeting of military experts was convened under its chairman.
The Working Group on MOTAPM discussed a paper by its Coordinator presenting ideas for further work.15 The paper focused on the following issues: detectability of MOTAPM; restrictions on the use of MOTAPM; sensitive fuses and sensors; anti-handling devices; protection of civilians; warning and mine risk education; transfers; transparency and other confidence-building measures; issues related to the irresponsible use of MOTAPM; and international cooperation and assistance. The Working Group also received three papers,16 and heard presentations on "Detection Augmentation Tag for Landmines", "What is Detectability" and "Minefield Marking Methodologies, A Start Point for Discussion" (Australia); "Mine Area: Fencing and Marking" (Finland); "Impact of MOTAPM Detectability on their Combat Effectiveness", "Advanced Technologies of Detection of Explosive Ordnance" and "Methods of Recording, Fencing and Marking of Mines and Explosive Obstacles in the Russian Federation" (Russian Federation); and "MOTAPM Detection Signal Equivalence" (United States). The Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian De-mining (GICHD) also made a presentation of a study it carried out on the "Humanitarian Impact from Mines Other Than Anti-Personnel Mines". It also held one meeting of military experts under the chairmanship of Maj. Gen. Ahti Vartiainen (Finland) and discussed his paper.17
The GGE held one meeting to consider options to promote compliance with the Convention, under the chairmanship of Gordan Markoti, and considered a paper presented by the European Union18 which contained ideas and suggestions by the EU amending their proposal for the establishment of an appropriate and adequate compliance mechanism under the CCW.
At the GGE's second plenary meeting on 16 November, both Coordinators presented the recommendations of their respective Working Groups19 which basically repeated the current mandates and were endorsed by the Group. 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 the States parties (18-19 November 2004) should be held under the oversight of the Chairman-designate of the Meeting proposed to be held in Geneva in 2005 in conjunction with the Seventh Annual Conference of the States Parties to Amended Protocol II.

1CCW/GGE/VII/WG.1/WP.1.
2The Coordinator's "three-step approach" essentially recommended that the GGE should deliberate on (i) which principles of international humanitarian law are relevant to ERW; (ii) what is the status of their implementation by the various States Parties; and (iii) the adequacy of the national implementation mechanisms as required by international humanitarian law, and whether any further measures are required.
3CCW/GGE/VII/WG.1/WP.1 to CCW/GGE/VII/WG.1/WP.4.
4CCW/GGE/VII/WG.2/WP.1 to CCW/GGE/VII/WG.2/WP.6.
5CCW/GGE/VII/WG.2/WP.1.
6CCW/GGE/VIII/WG.1/WP.1, 23 July 2004.
7CCW/GGE/VIII/WG.1/1, 8 July 2004.
8CCW/GGE/VIII/WG.2/1, 11 June 2004, entitled Proposals and ideas on MOTAPM in the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) with the purpose to provide a basis for further work.
9CCW/GGE/VIII/WG.2/1, CCW/GGE/VIII/WG.2/2 and CCW/GGE/ VIII/WG.2/WP.1 to CCW/GGE/VIII/WG.2/WP.5.
10CCW/GGE/VIII/WG.2/2, 8 July 2004.
11CCW/GGE/VIII/2, 1 July 2004, entitled Discussion paper on Compliance.
12CCW/GGE/VIII/WP.1, 5 August 2004, entitled CCW Framework Convention: Additional Articles on Consultations and Compliance. This paper is a revised version of a document previously submitted by South Africa and issued under the symbol CCW/CONF.II/PC.3/WP.7, on 20 December 2001.
13Presented by Prof. Dr. Michael Bothe of the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission.
14CCW/GGE/IX/WG.1/1, CCW/GGE/IX/WG.1/WP.1 and CCW/GGE/ IX/WG.1/WP.2.
15CCW/GGE/IX/WG.2/1, 15 October 2004, entitled Proposals and ideas on MOTAPM in the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) with the purpose to provide a basis for further work.
16CCW/GGE/IX/WG.2/1, CCW/GGE/IX/WG.2/2, CCW/GGE/IX/WG.2 /WP.1 and CCW/GGE/IX/WG.2/WP.2.
17CCW/GGE/IX/WG.2/2, 29 October 2004, entitled Provisional Agenda for the Meeting of the Military Experts on MOTAPM.
18CCW/GGE/IX/WP.1, 29 November 2004, entitled Ideas and Suggestions regarding a Possible Compliance Mechanism under the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.
19The Working Group on Explosive Remnants of War recommended to the States Parties that it would continue its work in the year 2005 with the following mandate: "To continue to consider, including through participation of legal experts, the implementation of existing principles of International Humanitarian Law and to further study, on an open-ended basis, with particular emphasis on meetings of military and technical experts, 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 these munitions becoming explosive remnants of war. Exchange of information, assistance and cooperation would be part of this work. The Group will report on the work done to the next Meeting of the States parties." The Working Group on Mines Other Than Anti-Personnel Mines recommended to the States Parties that it would continue its work in the year 2005 with the following mandate: "(1) To consider all proposals on Mines Other Than Anti-Personnel Mines put forward since the establishment of the Group of Governmental Experts with the aim of elaborating appropriate recommendations on Mines Other Than Anti-Personnel Mines for submission to the next Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention; (2) Meetings of military experts shall also be conducted to provide advice on these activities."