Maya Brehm, Mark Zeitoun, Harry Konings, Thomas de Saint Maurice
This roundtable discussion focused on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas and their devastating effects on civilians. First, Maya Brehm explained what is meant by "explosive weapons" and said that close to 90 percent of direct casualties from explosive weapons used in populated areas are civilians. Mark Zeitoun then addressed the consequences of the use of explosive weapons on urban infrastructure and essential services such as energy and water supply, waste management systems and health care. He pointed out that the use of such weapons in populated areas can also have long-term effects. Drawing from his experience as a retired Dutch Army officer and member of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) during the siege of Sarajevo, Lieutenant Colonel Harry Konings stressed the importance of ensuring the protection of the civilian population. Next, Thomas de Saint Maurice presented the position and activities of the International Committee of the Red Cross regarding the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. He also recalled a number of international humanitarian law rules, such as the prohibition of indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks. Finally, Maya Brehm reviewed the political efforts undertaken by the international community to combat the use of large-scale explosive weapons in populated areas, and to limit their devastating effects. Françoise Hampson concluded the session by highlighting the role played by non-military experts on the field when it comes to evaluating the effects of explosive weapons.