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Landmine Ban Treaty, Its Effects on Military Operations and Possible Alternatives

  • Date Submitted: 09/30/2014 09:26 AM
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LANDMINE BAN TREATY, ITS EFFECTS ON MILITARY OPERATIONS AND POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVES

INTRODUCTION

1. In December 1997, a landmark treaty came into existence, which was the culmination of fourteen months of negotiation and diplomatic activity to usher in a ban on use, production, transfer and stockpiling of anti-personnel mines. The fast-track diplomatic approach which came to be known as the Ottawa Process, was conceived and implemented as the first step in tackling the issue of the wide spread usage of anti-personnel mines in international conflicts. The shift in the nature of conflict, from inter-state to intra-state, has led to the extensive and unrestricted usage of landmines in conflicts. This proliferation of landmines has created an international humanitarian crisis, the extent of which is emphasised only by the staggering numbers of persons injured or killed every year. In response to this humanitarian angle the international community began and endorsed the Ottawa Treaty, which had as its signatories 123 countries calling for ban on the anti-personnel mines.[1]

2. Since the mid 19th century, landmines have been integral to military operations. It was not until World War II, however, that anti-personnel mines reached full maturity. Landmines are vital battlefield tools to channel enemy forces into a specific area, or to defend flanks, restricted terrain, or border zones. In addition to these general uses, anti-personnel landmines play an extremely important role in protecting anti-tank or vehicular mines from being disabled or quickly breached by enemy forces.[2] What makes anti-personnel mines so abhorrent is the indiscriminate destruction they cause. Unlike bullets or artillery shells, mines cannot be aimed. They lie dormant until a person or animal triggers their detonating mechanism. Anti-personnel mines can not distinguished between the footfall of a soldier and that of a child. Those who survive the initial blast usually require amputations,...

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