Home > Work of the Mission > Disarmament > News and Activities
Statement by The Chinese Delegation on China's Implementation of Relevant International Humanitarian Law Principles at The 12th Session of CCW GGE
2005/11/15

Mr. Coordinator,

The Chinese government has always attached great importance to the role played by relevant principles of international humanitarian law (IHL) relating to the use of munitions, including sub-munitions, which may become explosive remnants of war (ERWs) and has implemented these principles in various aspects of its military activities. The Chinese delegation has studied carefully the document CCW/GGE/X/WG.1/WP.2 and would like to make a presentation on China's implementation in China in light of the questionnaire.

China believes that basic IHL principles are universally applicable and the use of munitions, including sub-munitions, which may become ERWs should be made in a way that takes account of this feature and conforms with the following principles:

1. Humanitarian principle. This principle requires that, during the war, or an armed conflict, munitions, including sub-munitions, which may become ERWs should be used in a way that avoids as much as possible causing unnecessary injuries and damages.

2. The principle of military necessity. Under this principle, no pretext of "military necessity" will be accepted for such violations of the laws of war as the use of munitions, including sub-munitions, which may become ERWs with the full knowledge of the grave collateral damages or excessive or unnecessary suffering that such a use may cause.

3. The principle of proportionality. The principle requires that, during the war or an armed conflict, the use of munitions, including sub-munitions, which may become ERWs should not cause excessive injuries and damages compared to the specific or direct military benefits.

4. The principle of distinction. The principle requires that distinction be made between combatants and non-combatants and between military and non-military targets, in order to protect non-combatants and non-military targets from hostilities.

In view of the fore-going standards, China has actively adopted following measures to implement in real earnest IHL principles related to the use of munitions, including sub-munitions, which may become ERWs

Firstly, the Chinese government has acceded to CCW and its protocols I, II, III and IV and has strictly abided by and honored its relevant obligations. The government is actively preparing its ratification of protocol V. The relevant preparatory work on compliance is well under way.

Secondly, China is already party to all the most important IHL treaties on the protection of civilians. It has translated them to domestic laws through domestic legislation in order to ensure their implementation. The PRC Law on National Defense

stipulates in its article 67 that "PRC is bound in its external military relations by the relevant treaties and agreements that it has concluded with other countries or it has acceded to or has accepted". China has translated the provisions of IHL into domestic military laws, regulations, administrative instructions and code of conduct in combat which are binding to all the military units and personnel. The PRC Penal Code punishes the military personnel for violations of their duties and responsibilities and contains specific punitive measures against those military personnel guilty of IHL violations. This way, the effective implementation of IHL has been ensured.

Thirdly, the Chinese military has all along attached great importance to the promotion of IHL and persisted in the IHL education of its commanders and soldiers with a view to familiarizing them with the relevant IHL provisions. Both the theoretical education in the military academies and the military training at the grassroots level have included training courses on international law education including IHL. In accordance with the additional protocol I of the Geneva Convention, legal advisory services have been set up in Chinese military units at or above the level of army corps and legal information stations set up at or below the level of divisions. These bodies are responsible for providing legal advice on the applicability and implementation of existing IHL provisions.

Lastly, regarding the use and production of munitions, including sub-munitions, which may become ERWs, China has tried its best to use various technical means to prevent them from harming civilians and to ensure their post-conflict removal and destruction. The aim is to protect civilians from threat to their life and property. Senior functional departments have been set up in the Headquarters of General Staff and the General Logistics Department to review the legality of new weapons, new method of warfare and the military theories to be introduced.

The Chinese delegation is of the view that the IHL principles relating to the use of munitions, including sub-munitions, which may become ERWs are sufficient and effective. The Chinese government has adopted effective measure to implement these principles in various aspects of its military activities. The pressing task on hand is to promote the early entry into force of the ERW protocol, so that the principles and measures proscribed in the protocol for addressing the humanitarian concerns caused by ERWs can be implemented as soon as possible.

Suggest To A Friend:   
Print