Claims of Mine Laying in Georgia

The Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed today that the Russian military have installed “landmines on bridges and access roads.” (See also reports in The Guardian and the Los Angeles Times).  For its part, Russia accused Georgian forces of using mines.

These fresh allegations follow condemnation from Human Rights Watch and the Cluster Munition Coalition, in response to claims that Russia had used cluster bombs in populated areas in the recent fighting.  Cluster munitions can become de facto landmines if they fail to detonate properly.  See the earlier Political Minefields posting for further information. Russia has denied using cluster munitions.

Georgia will be requesting support from NATO to assist in demining, the Guardian reported today. The HALO Trust has already conducted demining in Georgia since 1998, largely in the separatist region of Abkhazia. For historical background on the landmine situation in Georgia see the Landmine Monitor. Neither Russia nor Georgia are parties to the Mine Ban Convention or the Cluster Munition Convention.

Political Minefields has no independent verification of the claims and counterclaims of Russia and Georgia.  However, landmines and cluster munitions are both indiscriminate weapons that time and again have imposed disproportionate costs upon civilian populations.  If these reports are true, it is a sad day for the developing humanitarian norm against mines and cluster bombs.

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~ by Matthew Bolton on 19 August 2008.

2 Responses to “Claims of Mine Laying in Georgia”

  1. Further Russian claims that Israel supplied Georgia with landmines:
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3584829,00.html

  2. CNN reports landmine blast in Georgia:
    http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/08/24/russia.georgia/

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