International humanitarian law and the protection of civilians from the effects of explosive weapons
Contemporary challenges to the laws of war : essays in honour of professor Peter Rowe
Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2014
This chapter begins by presenting data on the pattern of harm associated with the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. Against this backrgound, an overview of how explosive weapons are regulated under international law is provided. The chapter analyses a number of explosive weapon-specific treaties and evaluates the contribution of expert discussions on "blast and fragmentation weapons" in the 1970s to the regluation of explosive weapons. The chapter then examines constraints that IHL rules governing the conduct of hostilities place on the use of explosive weapons in populated area, with a focus on the prohibition of indiscriminate attacks. The final part identifies some challenges that the use of explosive weapons in populated areas poses for IHL. As the protection of civilians against the effects of hostilities is a cornerstone of IHL, the documented pattern of civilian harm from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas puts the adequacy and effectiveness of IHL into question. The chapter conludes by presenting measures that could help to prevent and reduce harm from explosive violence, thereby effectively strenghtening the relevance of IHL as an important legal framework for protecting civilians in situations of armed conflict.