The Canadian Forces and Anti-Personnel Landmine
(Source : Canadian Department of National Defence ; issued Feb. 13, 2002)


Anti-Personnel Landmines

The Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (known as the Ottawa Convention) defines an anti-personnel landmine (or AP mine) as:

"A mine designed to be exploded by the presence, proximity or contact of a person and that will incapacitate, injure or kill one or more persons."

AP mines are mass-produced, inexpensive, usually concealed weapons that are most commonly detonated by the victim stepping on the device. Small, lightweight and often made of hard-to-detect materials, AP mines have been employed in numerous conflicts throughout the world.

Until signing the Ottawa Convention in 1997, Canada held a stock of fewer than 100,000 landmines. The Canadian Forces (CF) possessed only two types of AP mine which fell under the terms of the Convention - the C3A2 (Elsie) and the M16A2 (Bounding). Canadian troops have not used AP mines operationally since the Korean War. What is more, Canada has not produced any such mines since 1992 nor have we exported any since 1987.

In accordance with the Convention, the CF have retained 2,000 mines for research and development of mine detection and clearance equipment, and for training military engineers in de-mining operations.

CDS Directive: AP Mines - Restrictions on CF Personnel

Under the Anti-personnel Mines Convention Implementation Act, CF personnel are prohibited from using AP mines, assisting other forces in their use, or planning for their use. Moreover, CF personnel cannot request, even indirectly, the use of AP mines by others. In 1998, the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) issued a directive providing further clarification on what the CF may and may not do with regard to AP mines. The directive includes the following conditions, which apply to all CF personnel including those participating in international operations, serving on international staffs, or performing exchange and liaison duties:

Participation in Combined Operations. Canada may participate in combined operations with a state that is not Party to the Convention. Canadian contingents may not, however, use anti-personnel mines and the Canadian Forces may not request, even indirectly, the use of anti-personnel mines by others.

Rules of Engagement. When participating in combined operations with foreign forces, Canada will not agree to Rules of Engagement which authorize the use by the combined force of anti-personnel mines. This would not, however, prevent States that are not signatories to the Convention from using anti-personnel mines for their own national purposes.

Operational Plans. When engaged in combined operations with foreign forces, Canada will not agree to operational plans which authorize the use by the combined force of anti-personnel mines. While Canadians may participate in operations planning as members of a multinational staff, they may not participate in planning for the use of anti-personnel mines. This would not prevent a state that is not a Signatory to the Convention from planning for the use of anti-personnel mines by its own forces.

Command and Control. The use of anti-personnel mines by the combined force will not be permitted in cases where Canada is in command of a combined Force. Likewise, if Canadian Forces personnel are being commanded by other nationalities, they will not be allowed to participate in the use of, or planning for the use of anti-personnel mines. Were Canadian Forces personnel to engage in such activities they would be liable to criminal prosecution under Canadian law.

Training. Countermine training is permitted. Article 3 of the Convention specifically permits signatories to retain a small quantity of anti-personnel mines for research and development and training in mine detection and mine clearance techniques.

Transit of Anti-Personnel Mines. The Convention does not prohibit the transit of anti-personnel mines, which is defined as the movement of anti-personnel mines within a state, or from a state, to its forces abroad. Canada, however, discourages the use of Canadian territory, equipment or personnel for the purpose of transit of anti-personnel mines.

C19 Command-Detonated Defensive Weapon

The CF possess a number of alternatives to AP mines that do not cause the post-conflict humanitarian problems associated with such weapons. These alternatives include warning sensors, wire entanglements and command-detonated munitions.

The C19 Command-Detonated Defensive Weapon, a version of the "Claymore" is not an AP mine as defined by the Convention and is therefore not illegal. Unlike the Claymore, the C19 is not equipped with a trip wire but is detonated by a soldier - in other words, it is not victim-activated. The CF currently have about 20,000 C19s in stock, with no plans to purchase any more.

Canada - United States Cooperation

The United States is not a party to the Ottawa Convention. Nonetheless the Convention still permits CF personnel to operate fully with the U.S. military. Operationally, Canadian soldiers are allowed to assume responsibility for an area in which AP mines have been laid without an obligation to de-mine the area. They are restricted to monitoring the minefield and maintaining the markings, but will not conduct maintenance of the mines within the field. Under no circumstances shall a CF member request or encourage the use of AP mines in an area to be occupied by Canadian troops.

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