Mine Action and the Implementation of CCW Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War

Reviewed by Geary Cox II [ Center for International Stabilization and Recovery ]

Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining
First edition, July 2008

Practitioners of mine action and explosive remnants of war remediation are accustomed to the complexity of international law. Thankfully, however, Mine Action and the Implementation of CCW Protocol V sets aside such density for merciful brevity and thoughtful organization. Designed for states and their armed forces, as well as for international and nongovernmental organizations, this noteworthy publication is a most welcome addition to the field.

GuidePublished by the Geneva Centre for International Humanitarian Demining, the guide takes a thematic approach to Protocol V of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. The guide is divided into chapters that introduce each topic briefly and provide important definitions and terminology. The guide itself begins with an overview of the threat posed by ERW before discussing clearance and destruction, information management and planning, various forms of risk reduction, and the mechanisms for international assistance, among other topics. A convenient table in the front correlates articles and annexes from the Protocol with relevant chapters in the guide.

In addition to thoughtful examinations of the Protocol’s pronouncements on each topic, relevant sections of Protocol V are set apart from the text, giving readers the ability to read an important tract in its entirety without commentary.

The examinations of each particular topic are no more than a few pages, punctuated frequently by headings and subheadings. Salient details are frequently captured in bulleted lists to better emphasize the important points for readers to easily digest. Also of note are links to relevant Web sites, research, resources, and further reading. The writers are to be commended for leaving such extraneous (albeit potentially useful) material out of the guide itself.

Readers will also appreciate the examples and diagrams drawn from real-life scenarios. In a discussion on risk-management principles and the pronouncements of Protocol V, the guide supplements this information with a diagram of a risk-management model from the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. Similarly, where Protocol V is vague, the guide offers ideas of good practice. For example, States Parties should take “all feasible precautions” in marking and fencing off dangerous territory, and the guide offers suggestions without trying to parse the text itself. Included in this section is a diagram of a physical barrier fence from the International Mine Action Standards.

The guide walks readers through the text of Protocol V and distills the requirements and recommendations into actionable items, citing references and IMAS documents where appropriate or useful. Anecdotes in non-technical sections, such as the chapter on survivor assistance, provide background information on Protocol V’s genesis and enduring sense of urgency.

At just under 100 pages in length, Mine Action and the Implementation of CCW Protocol V is an excellent primer for practitioners and researchers involved with ERW of all kinds. Even those not working in or coming from States Parties to Protocol V can benefit from the guide’s careful examinations, glossary of abbreviations and acronyms, and selected bibliography. The guide also includes the text of CCW Protocol V in its entirety as an annex.

Mine Action and the Implementation of CCW Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War is available from the GICHD Web site in both print and electronic editions. J


G CoxGeary Cox II is Assistant Editor for The Journal of ERW and Mine Action and Special Projects Coordinator for the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery/Mine Action Information Center, joining the team in March 2005 as an Editorial Assistant. He received his Master of Arts in English in 2008 and his Bachelor of Arts in English/political science in 2006, both from James Madison University.

Contact Information

Geary Cox II
Special Projects Coordinator/Assistant Editor
The Journal of ERW and Mine Action
Mine Action Information Center
Center for International Stabilization and Recovery
James Madison University
E-mail: coxga@jmu.edu