Although it represented the first treaty to successfully regulate conventional weapons for over 70 years, the 1980 Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (also known as the Convention on Conventional Weapons – or 1980 CCW) and its Protocols constitute a relatively unloved treaty. Largely forsaken by humanitarians and looked upon skeptically by military lawyers and state actors, the treaty is not on the whole well known (especially compared to the 1997 Ottawa Landmine Treaty) nor is the process by which it came about or through which it is reviewed particularly admired.
Why is this the case? This article examines the history of this little known but significant treaty, and how a Cold War context had an impact on its’ negotiation, content and implementation. While there is no doubt that the “humanitarian politics” of weapons negotiations certainly played a role, it is clear that the treaty, negotiated and signed at a highly contentious time between the West, Soviet Bloc and the Non-Aligned Movement, was very much affected by the Cold War environment and the asymmetric wars of the period. The outcome of this process resulted in an agreement that was largely ignored until the 1990s, when it was dismissed by humanitarians as ineffective, and inspired them to create their own NGO-driven process forward which resulted in the 1997 Ottawa Antipersonnel Landmine Treaty.
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Carvin: Conventional Thinking? The 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons Treaty and the Politics of Legal Restraints on Weapons in the Cold War
Stephanie Carvin (Carleton Univ - School of International Affairs) has posted Conventional Thinking? The 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons Treaty and the Politics of Legal Restraints on Weapons in the Cold War (Journal of Cold War Studies, forthcoming). Here's the abstract: