1 Gonz. J. Int'l L. 1 (1997-1998)

handle is hein.journals/gjil1 and id is 1 raw text is: ANTI-PERSONNEL MINES AND PEREMPTORY NORMS OF
INTERNATIONAL LAW
ARGUMENT AND CATALYST
Robert John Araujo, S.J.
A.B., J.D. Georgetown University; M. Div., S.T.L. Weston Jesuit School of Theology;
LL.M., J.S.D. Columbia University; B.C.L. Oxford University. From 1974-1979,
Attorney and Trial Attorney, Office of the Solicitor, United States Department of the
Interior. From 1979-1984, Attorney and Associate Director of Federal Government
Affairs, The Standard Oil Company [Ohio]. From 1984-1986, private practice including
Licht & Semonoff, Providence, R.I. Entered the Society of Jesus in 1986; ordained into
the priesthood 1993. Teaching Experience: Boston College Law School; Georgetown
University Law Center; Associate Professor of Law, Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA.
Chamberlain Fellow, Columbia University, 1989-1990.
We understand that you have announced a United States goal of the eventual elimination of antipersonnel
landmines. We take this to mean that you support a permanent and total international ban on the
production, stockpiling, sale and use of this weapon. We view such a ban as not only humane, but also
militarily responsible... [Tihey are insidious in that their indiscriminate effects persist long after hostilities
have ceased, continuing to cause casualties among innocent people, especially farmers and children...
We... conclude that [the President of the United States] could responsibly take the lead in efforts to achieve
a total andpermanent international ban on the production, stockpiling, sale and use of antipersonnel
landmines. We strongly urge that you do so.
Introduction: Death in the Playing Fields
Within the last three decades, an evolving item of military hardware has become the deterrent of choice in
many regional conflicts: anti-personnel mines. This device has been described as a weapon of mass
destruction, in slow motion, because they indiscriminately kill or maim massive numbers of human beings
over a long period of time. They are inexpensive to manufacture and relatively easy to deploy. Their
individual cost is less than a few dollars; moreover, they can be broadcast across areas of military
engagement by aerial seeding from planes and helicopters, artillery shells, or conventional missiles. These
devices have been widely used in many regional conflicts which have taken place over the last three
decades; in addition, they have become a convenient but irresponsible armament found in increasing
numbers across the world. Unlike other conventional armament which follows combatants to their next
theatre of operation or to storage when hostilities cease, anti-personal mines are left in situ unattended and
ready to be detonated by any unsuspecting passer-by. The reasons for this, as implied in the quoted text
taken from a letter of fifteen American admirals and generals submitted to President Clinton, are several.
First of all, it has traditionally been considered uneconomic to spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars
to retrieve each of these devices upon conclusion or relocation of the hostilities. This expense is due in
large part to the fact that the location of these devices is imprecise. If records concerning their deployment
were ever kept, they are usually of a most general nature and do not accurately plot on military maps the
exact location of where the mines were laid. Thus emerges the second reason why mines are not retrieved:
their locations are often unknown. The result of this dilemma is that approximately 25,000 individuals
(usually non-combatant farmers and children) become the annual victims of these mines which no longer
serve a role in lawful military conflict. Like Pharaoh's locusts, frogs, and pestilence, anti-personnel mines
have become a plague on the peoples of Bosnia, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Angola, and other regions of the
world.

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