Copyright (c) 1999 Loyola of Los Angeles International & Comparative Law Journal
Loyola of Los Angeles International & Comparative Law Review
ARTICLE: Legal Aspects of Naval Mine Warfare
21 Loy. L.A. Int'l & Comp. L.J. 553
D.G. STEPHENS* and M.D. FITZPATRICK**
Naval Mine warfare is an area of military expertise that has truly come into its own this century. 1 Military planners herald the naval mine as an extremely effective, yet unglamorous option in the national weapons arsenal. A silent, passive, and pernicious weapon, the naval mine, with its multiplier effect, has influenced the strategic outcomes of conflict this century. 2 It is described as both an "immoral weapon" 3 and one that is an "inseparable element of naval power." 4 Significantly, the recent international efforts to ban landmines have not included naval mines. Accordingly, it is timely to consider the rules regulating the deployment of naval mines because these weapons remain a very important aspect of the catalogue of weapons available to most States.
Given the recognized significance of the use of the naval mine, it is somewhat curious that the only specific treaty attempting to regulate this area of warfare is the Convention (VIII) of 1907 Relative to the Laying of Automatic Submarine Mines (Hague Convention). 5 The Hague Convention is regarded as a poor compromise, and is variously described as an "emasculated" and "worthless" 6 treaty that was the product of diametrically opposed views of the participants to the Second Hague Peace Conference. 7 The history of the negotiations leading to the Hague Convention reflect the acknowledged value of the weapon itself. After the turn of the century, the naval mine was recognized as a relatively cheap weapon that directly threatened the naval superiority ...
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