U.S. Joins Four Law of War Treaties

Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
January 23, 2009
January 23, 2009

On January 21, the United States deposited its instruments of ratification for Protocols III, IV, and V of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (“CCW”) and for an amendment to that Convention. Protocol III covers incendiary weapons, Protocol IV covers blinding laser weapons, and Protocol V deals with explosive remnants of war. The Amendment expands the scope of the Convention to non-international armed conflicts.

The United States took a leading role in negotiating these protocols and the amendment, has long complied with the norms contained in them, and is pleased to become a party to each of them. This action reaffirms our commitment to the development and implementation of international humanitarian law.

The CCW and its Protocols are part of a legal regime that regulates the use of particular types of conventional weapons that may be deemed to pose special risks of having indiscriminate effects or causing unnecessary suffering. The CCW is a framework convention. States Parties to the CCW negotiate protocols within this framework to regulate specific types of weapons. States ratify each protocol separately.