Many different types and brands of these Land Mines exist. Some contain elaborate trigger mechanisms, and some even contain devices that cause them to explode if they are tampered with, making their removal particularly challenging.
Land Mines have existed in many forms for many years, and have been widely used in conflicts around the world, in countries such as Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. What is particularly disturbing is that military scientists can specifically design these weapons to only maim, rather than kill, soldiers. This means that the hospitals and supply lines of and armed force are also being specifically targeted and pressured, rather than just the soldiers themselves.
160 UN states are a part of the Ottawa Treaty, and as such have agreed to the . This still leaves 33 member states still allowing the use of landmines, as well as countless rebel forces who do not submit to governments' authorities. Also remaining are all of the landmines that have been used in previous conflicts prior to the 1997 Treaty that are still in-situ.
Current UsageEditA number of large armed forces around the world make great use of Land Mines in modern conflicts. In addition, the number of mines still in active circulation is huge. Any attempt to ban and remove all Land Mines will be a massive undertaking, and will face stern political pressure from some of the world's most powerful nations.
Would a universal ban on Land Mines have any impact on those which are already in use around the world. If armed forces have not kept an accurate record of the areas in which they have laid Mines, then clearing these Minefields will be just as dangerous as keeping them there.
If the laying of Land Mines becomes a war crime internationally, what effect will this have on rebel warlords or corrupt governments who are already rumoured to be disregarding many sections of the Geneva Convention?
Will UN Peacekeeping Forces be drafted in to clear these Minefields? Who will be responsible for capturing and prosecuting those who make use of Land Mines? Who will provide compensation for innocent victims?
Whether ethical or not, 12 member states are known to be large-scale manufacturers of Land Mines, and the income generated from their sale is a large part of their economy.
Ottawa Landmine Treaty 1997 Geneva Convention
IED - Improvised Explosive Device - usally an unplanned and unregistered explosive left by guirella forces to target specific troop or vehicle movements. These are not usually classified as land mines.