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Views and Recommendations on Improvised Explosive Devices Falling within the Scope of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention

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The increasing use of anti-personnel mines of an improvised nature in recent conflicts has resulted in rising numbers of civilian casualties in many contexts.

These mines have been referred to as improvised explosive devices ('IEDs') in different fora by different actors, to reflect the improvised nature of the weapons.

However, due to the lack of an internationally agreed definition of the term 'IED' and the broad use of this term to describe a range of weapons spanning from improvised rockets and mortars to improvised anti-personnel mines and remotely controlled explosive devices, there has been some confusion about which IEDs fall within the definition of anti-personnel mines for the purpose of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (the 'Convention').

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention this year, the ICRC submits this working paper to the Fourth Review Conference of the Convention which will take place in Oslo 25-29 November 2019. This paper offers the ICRC's views and recommendations on IEDs that fall within the scope of the Convention, finding that: (I) the Convention applies to both manufactured and improvised anti-personnel mines alike; and (II) certain IEDs constitute anti-personnel mines falling within the scope of the Convention. Drawing on the ICRC's practical experience, the paper proceeds with (III) giving practical examples of when IEDs constitute anti-personnel mines; and concludes with (IV) recommendations to States Parties on specific measures to take with a view of fulfilling obligations under the Convention.