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

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, also known as the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), was concluded on 10 October 1980, and entered into force on 2 December 1983. The purpose of the Convention is to ban or restrict the use of specific types of weapons that are considered to cause unnecessary or unjustifiable suffering to combatants or to affect civilians indiscriminately. There are currently 120 States Parties to the Convention and a further five signatories.

The CCW consists of a framework convention and five protocols. The weapons currently covered by the CCW include:

  • Weapons leaving undetectable fragments in the human body (Protocol I)
  • Mines, booby-traps and other devices (Protocol II)
  • Incendiary weapons (Protocol III)
  • Blinding laser weapons (Protocol IV) and
  • Explosive remnants of war (Protocol V)

Protocols I, II and III entered into force on 2 December 1983. Protocol IV on blinding laser weapons was negotiated and adopted in 1995 and entered into force in 30 July 1998. Protocol II on the prohibition or restriction on the use of mines, booby-traps and other devices was amended in 1996 and entered into force on 3 December 1998. In 2001, states parties amended Article I of the Convention by extending the scope of its application to include internal armed conflicts. Protocol V was subsequently negotiated, and adopted on 28 November 2003.

Australia ratified the CCW on 29 September 1983 together with Protocols I, II and III; the amended Protocol II and Protocol IV on 22 August 1997; the amendment to Article I on 3 December 2002, and Protocol V in January 2007.

Last Updated: 18 June 2014