Drafting History of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons

The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) is a key treaty for the regulation of conventional weapons. The CCW is a framework instrument, with its individual protocols containing the substantive rules on the prohibitions or restrictions on the use of certain weapons. There are currently five protocols to the CCW.

The travaux préparatoires of the these instruments are largely available electronically on the UN website. However, the materials relating to the drafting of the convention itself and the first three protocols can be slightly difficult to find. This page seeks to provide a systematic guide to the documents, along with links.

Note that links to UN documents might not work unless you have UN's Official Document System (ODS) open in another browser tab.

The Convention and Its Protocols

TitlePlace of adoptionDate of adoptionEntry into forceCitationStatus
Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons which may be deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to have Indiscriminate EffectsGeneva10 October 19802 December 19831342 UNTS 137Link
Protocol on Non-Detectable Fragments (Protocol I)Geneva10 October 19802 December 19831342 UNTS 168Link
Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby-Traps and Other Devices (Protocol II)Geneva10 October 19802 December 19831342 UNTS 168Link
Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Incendiary Weapons (Protocol III)Geneva10 October 19802 December 19831342 UNTS 171Link
Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons (Protocol IV)Vienna13 October 199530 July 19982024 UNTS 163Link
Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby-Traps and Other Devices as amended on 3 May 1996 (Amended Protocol II)Geneva3 May 19963 December 19982048 UNTS 93Link
Amendment to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons which may be deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to have Indiscriminate EffectsGeneva21 December 200118 May 20042260 UNTS 82Link
Protocol on Explosive Remnants of War (Protocol V)Geneva28 November 200312 November 20062399 UNTS 100Link

Materials relating to the Convention and Protocols I, II and III

General Assembly

Agenda item: Respect for Human Rights in Armed Conflict

Report of the Secretary-GeneralA/772020 November 1969¶¶ 32-69, 183-201
Report of the Secretary-GeneralA/805218 September 1970¶¶ 122-126
Report of the Secretary-GeneralA/83702 September 1971¶¶ 98-108
Existing Rules of International Law Concerning the Prohibition or Restriction of Use of Specific Weapons: Survey Prepared by the SecretariatA/9215 (Vol. 1)
A/9215 (Vol. 2)
7 November 1973

Agenda item: Incendiary and Other Specific Conventional Weapons which May Be the Subject of Prohibitions or Restrictions of Use for Humanitarian Reasons

Report of the Secretary-GeneralA/31/14610/09/1976
Report of the First CommitteeA/31/37207/12/1976
ResolutionA/RES/31/6410/12/1976
Report of the Secretary-GeneralA/32/12408/09/1977
Report of the First CommitteeA/32/36905/12/1977
ResolutionA/RES/32/15219/12/1977

Agenda item: United Nations Conference on Prohibitions or Restrictions of Use of Certain Conventional Weapons which May be Deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects

Report of the First CommitteeA/33/43707/12/1978
ResolutionA/RES/33/7014/12/1979
Report of the First CommitteeA/34/75105/12/1979
ResolutionA/RES/34/8211/12/1979
Report of the First CommitteeA/35/69505/12/1980
ResolutionA/RES/35/15312/12/1980

Meetings of Experts

Diplomatic Conference on the Reaffirmation and Development of International Humanitarian Law Applicable in Armed Conflicts

The Conference, which negotiated Additional Protocols I and II to the Geneva Conventions, met in four sessions:

  • First Session – 20 February to 29 March 1974
  • Second Session – 3 February to 18 April 1975
  • Third Session – 21 April to 11 June 1976
  • Fourth Session – 17 March to 10 June 1977

The issue of prohibitions or restrictions for humanitarian reasons on the use of specific conventional weapons was the subject of substantive discussion in the Ad Hoc Committee on Conventional Weapons of the Conference at all four sessions of the Conference.

Summary Records of the Ad Hoc Committee can be found in Official Records of The Diplomatic Conference on the Reaffirmation and Development of International Humanitarian Law Applicable in Armed Conflicts Geneva (1974–1977): Volume XVI (Swiss Federal Political Department 1978).

The Conference adopted Resolution no 22(IV), which recommended convening an inter-governmental conference with a view to reaching a separate agreement on prohibitions or restrictions on the use of specific conventional weapons.

United Nations Conference on Prohibitions or Restrictions of Use of Certain Conventional Weapons which May be Deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to have Indiscriminate Effects

The Conference met in two sessions:

  • First Session – 10 to 28 September 1979
  • Second Session – 15 September to 10 October 1980

The Conference adopted the text of the Convention, along with Protocols I, II and III. The main documents of the Conference are listed below.

Provisional AgendaA/CONF.95/129 May 1979
Provisional Agenda: CorrigendumA/CONF.95/1 Corr. 15 September 1979
Provisional Rules of ProcedureА/СОNF.95/225 May 1979
Report of the Preparatory ConferenceА/СОNF.95/325 May 1979
Organization and Methods of Work of the Conference: Note by the Secretary-GeneralA/CONF.95/41 June 1979
Report of the Credentials CommitteeA/CONF.95/527 September 1979
Report of the Committee of the WholeA/CONF.95/628 September 1979
Report of the Conference Working Group on a General TreatyA/CONF.95/7/CORR.115 October 1979
Report of the Conference to the General AssemblyA/CONF.95/88 October 1979
Report of the Conference Working Group on a General TreatyA/CONF.95/96 October 1980
— Report of the Conference Working Group on a General Treaty: AddendumA/CONF.95/9/ADD.19 October 1980
Statement by the Delegations of the Bulgarian People’s Republic, Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Ethiopia, German Democratic Republic, Hungary, Mongolia, Poland, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Viet Nam [Representatives’ Credentials: Kampuchea]A/CONF.95/108 October 1980
Report of the Committee of the WholeA/CONF.95/119 October 1980
Credentials of Representatives: Report of the Credentials CommitteeA/CONF.95/129 October 1980
Statement by the Delegation of Democratic Kampuchea [Representatives’ Credentials: Kampuchea]A/CONF.95/139 October 1980
Report of the Drafting CommitteeA/CONF.95/1410 October 1980
— Draft Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on The Use of Specific Weapons: Text agreed by the Drafting CommitteeA/CONF.95/14/ADD.110 October 1980
— Draft Protocol Concerning Non-Detectable Fragments: Text agreed by the Drafting CommitteeA/CONF.95/14/ADD.210 October 1980
— Draft Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby-Traps and Other Devices: Text agreed by the Drafting CommitteeA/CONF.95/14/ADD.310 October 1980
— Draft Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Incendiary Weapons: Text agreed by the Drafting CommitteeA/CONF.95/14/ADD.410 October 1980
Final Report of the Conference to the General AssemblyA/CONF.95/1526 October 1980

Summary Records

1st Meeting
10 September 1979
(1) Opening of the Conference
(2) Organization of the Conference
(a) Appointment of the President
(b) Adoption of the agenda
(c) Adoption of the rules of procedure
(d) Appointment of Officers other than the President
(e) Appointment of members of subsidiary organs
(g) Organization of work
A/CONF.95/SR.111 September 1979
2nd Meeting
11 September 1979
(3) Consideration of prohibitions or restrictions …A/CONF.95/SR.212 September 1979
3rd Meeting
11 September 1979
(2) Organization of the Conference
(b) Appointment of officers other than the President
(e) Appointment of members of subsidiary organs
A/CONF.95/SR.312 September 1979
4th Meeting
12 September 1979
Tribute to the memory of Mr. Agostinho Ne
(3) Consideration of prohibitions or restrictions …
A/CONF.95/SR.414 September 1979
5th Meeting
13 September 1979
(3) Consideration of prohibitions or restrictions …A/CONF.95/SR.517 September 1979
6th Meeting
14 September 1979
(3) Consideration of prohibitions or restrictions …A/CONF.95/SR.618 September 1979
7th Meeting
28 September 1979
(2)(f) Credentials of representatives
(3) Consideration of prohibitions or restrictions …
A/CONF.95/SR.71 October 1979
8th Meeting
28 September 1979
(5) Adoption of the report to the General Assembly
Closure of the session
A/CONF.95/SR.83 October 1979
9th Meeting
15 September 1980
Opening of the session
(2)(g) Organization of work
A/CONF.95/SR.917 September 1980
10th Meeting
22 September 1980
(2)(d) Appointment of officers other than the President
(2)(e) Appointment of members of subsidiary organs
A/CONF.95/SR.1024 September 1980
11th Meeting
10 October 1980
Tribute to the memory of Mr. Peiotor Mironovich Macherov
(3) Consideration of prohibitions or restrictions …
– Consideration of draft resolution and a draft proposal
– Report of the Conference Working Group on a General Treaty
– Report of the Committee of the Whole
(2)(f) Credentials of representatives
A/CONF.95/SR.113 November 1980
12th Meeting
10 October 1980
Adoption of the report of the Drafting Committee
(4) Adoption of the Final Act
(5) Adoption of the report of the Conference to the General Assembly
Concluding statements
A/CONF.95/SR.1227 October 1980
9th to 12th Meetings: CorrigendumA/CONF.95/SR.9-12/CORR30 December 1980

Summary Records of the Committee of the Whole

1st Meeting
12 September 1979
(2)(g) Organization of workA/CONF.95/CW/SR.113 September 1979
2nd Meeting
13 September 1979
(2)(g) Organization of workA/CONF.95/CW/SR.214 September 1979
3rd Meeting
14 September 1979
(2)(g) Organization of workA/CONF.95/CW/SR.317 September 1979
4th Meeting
18 September 1979
(3) Consideration of prohibitions or restrictions …
– Proposal submitted by Morocco concerning increased protection for children against certain effects of conventional weapons
A/CONF.95/CW/SR.419 September 1979
5th Meeting
21 September 1979
(3) Consideration of prohibitions or restrictions …A/CONF.95/CW/SR.524 September 1979
6th Meeting
25 September 1979
(3) Consideration of prohibitions or restrictions …
– Draft resolution on small-calibre weapons systems
– Draft protocol on prohibitions or restrictions on the use of mines, booby-traps and other devices]
A/CONF.95/CW/SR.626 September 1979
7th Meeting
26 September 1979
(3) Consideration of prohibitions or restrictions …
– Draft protocol on prohibition or restrictions of the use of incendiary weapons
– Draft protocol on prohibitions or restrictions on the use of mines, booby-traps and other devices
A/CONF.95/CW/SR.728 September 1979
8th Meeting
27 September 1979
(3) Consideration of prohibitions or restrictions …
– Draft resolution on small-calibre weapons systems
A/CONF.95/CW/SR.827 September 1979
9th Meeting
27 September 1979
(3) Consideration of prohibitions or restrictions …
– Report of the Working Group on Landmines and Booby-Traps
– Report of the Working Group on Incendiary Weapons
– Draft resolution on small calibre weapon systems
– Draft report of the Committee of the Whole
A/CONF.95/CW/SR.92 October 1979
1st to 9th MeetingsCorrigendumA/CONF.95/CW/SR.1-9/CORR25 February 1980
10th Meeting
16 September 1980
(2)(g) Organization of workA/CONF.95/CW/SR.1017 September 1980
11th Meeting
19 September 1980
(3) Consideration of prohibitions or restrictions …
– Report of the Working Group on Incendiary Weapons
– Report of the Working Group on Landmines and Booby-Traps
A/CONF.95/CW/SR.1123 September 1980
12th Meeting
26 September 1980
(2)(g) Organization of work
(3) Consideration of prohibitions or restrictions …
A/CONF.95/CW/SR.1230 September 1980
13th Meeting
2 October 1980
Tribute to the memory of Mr. Richard R. Baxter
(3) Consideration of prohibitions or restrictions …
– Report of the Working Group on Incendiary Weapons
A/CONF.95/CW/SR.137 October 1980
14th Meeting
3 October 1980
(3) Consideration of prohibitions or restrictions …
– Report of the Working Group on Incendiary Weapons
– Report of the Working Group on Landmines and Booby-Traps
– Proposal to establish a working group on small calibre weapon systems
A/CONF.95/CW/SR.1410 October 1980
15th Meeting
8 October 1980
(3) Consideration of prohibitions or restrictions …
– Oral report on informal consultations on small calibre weapon systems
A/CONF.95/CW/SR.1521 October 1980
16th Meeting
9 October 1980
Adoption of the report of the Committee of the Whole
Closure of the session
A/CONF.95/CW/SR.1614 October 1980
10th to 16th MeetingsCorrigendumA/CONF.95/CW/SR.10-16/CORR30 December 1980

Materials relating to Subsequent Amendments

Protocol IV and Amended Protocol II

The First Review Conference of the States parties to the Convention, held from 25 September to 13 October 1995, and 15 to 19 January and 22 April to 3 May 1996, adopted Protocol IV and Amended Protocol II. The materials are available here.

Amended Article 1

The Second Review Conference of the States parties to the Convention, which took place from 11 to 21 December 2001, adopted an Amendment to Article 1 of the Convention. The materials are available here.

Protocol V

The Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention held from 27 to 28 November 2013 adopted Protocol V. The materials are available here.