21. Inhumane conventional weapons: efforts to strengthen the constraints
The 1981 'Inhumane Weapons' Convention (or Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, CCW Convention) restricts the use of conventional weapons which are particularly cruel and directly affect the civilian population. Its provisions, especially those regarding mines, have proved ineffective. The mines--mostly anti-personnel mines--planted in many countries kill and maim thousands of non-combatants and render entire regions uninhabitable. To reinforce the constraints, a CCW Convention Review Conference will be held in the autumn of 1995. The experts preparing the Conference recognized the need to ban the use of anti-personnel mines which are not equipped with detectable elements and self-destructing mechanisms. However, the new restrictions would not apply to mines placed within marked and guarded minefields. Moreover, any party would be relieved from compliance in situations where military action makes it impossible to comply. This escape clause could bring to nothing all the constraints. Nor is it likely that all transfers of anti-personnel mines will be banned. The expected meagre results of the forthcoming Review Conference could be offset, at least to some degree, by the prohibition on the use of laser weapons to blind persons, a particularly abhorrent method of warfare.