Skip to main content

Weapons prohibitions through immanent critique: NGOs as emancipatory and (de)securitising actors in security governance

  • Margarita H. Petrova (a1)

The article examines the roles of NGOs in banning cluster munitions that resulted in the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions and the campaign against landmines in the 1990s. It argues that NGOs have managed to move questions about the use of force from the closed decision-making sphere of military commanders and arms control diplomats into open public debate. Thus NGOs have simultaneously desecuritised the use of force by states, securitised certain weapons technologies, and made human beings the referent object of security. This has marked a shift from state security and strategic disarmament to human security and humanitarian disarmament, without fundamentally challenging the laws of war. However, in contrast to realist views that only militarily useless weapons ever get banned and radical critical perspectives that see new legal regimes as legitimating war and US hegemony, I argue that NGOs have engaged in immanent critique of military arguments and practices based on prevailing principles of international humanitarian law. The resulting weapon ban treaties have both restrained US policy and undermined its legitimacy. The article explores the discursive choices that underpinned the remaking of the security agenda by NGOs and their role as de/securitising actors and emancipatory agents of change.

Corresponding author
*Correspondence to: Margarita H. Petrova, Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals (IBEI), UPF Cuitadella, UPF Cuitadella Campus, c/ Ramon Trias Fargas 25–27, 08005 Barcelona, Spain. Author's email:
Hide All

1 Beier, Marshall J., ‘Dangerous terrain: Re-reading the landmines ban through the social worlds of the RMA’, Contemporary Security Policy, 32:1 (2011), pp. 159175 ; Cooper, Neil, ‘Humanitarian arms control and processes of securitization: Moving weapons along the security continuum’, Contemporary Security Policy, 32:1 (2011), p. 146 ; Owens, Patricia, ‘Accidents don’t just happen: the liberal politics of high-technology “humanitarian” war’, Millennium, 32:3 (2003), pp. 595616 ; Smith, Thomas W., ‘The new law of war: Legitimizing hi-tech and infrastructural violence’, International Studies Quarterly, 46 (2002), pp. 355374 ; Kennedy, David, The Dark Sides of Virtue: Reassessing International Humanitarianism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004), p. 298 ; Smith, Thomas W., ‘Can human rights build a better war?’, Journal of Human Rights, 9:1 (2010), pp. 2444 ; Turner, Mandy, Cooper, Neil, and Pugh, Michael, ‘Institutionalized and co-opted: Why human security has lost its way’, in David Chandler and Nik Hynek (eds), Critical Perspectives on Human Security: Rethinking Emancipation and Power in International Relations (London: Routledge, 2011), p. 89 ; Stavrianakis, Anna, ‘Legitimising liberal militarism: Politics, law and war in the arms trade treaty’, Third World Quarterly, 37:5 (2016), p. 845 .

2 af Jochnick, Chris and Normand, Roger, ‘The legitimation of violence: a critical history of the laws of war’, Harvard International Law Journal, 35:1 (1994), pp. 4995 ; Sjoberg, Laura, ‘Gendered realities of the immunity principle: Why gender analysis needs feminism’, International Studies Quarterly, 50 (2006), pp. 889910 .

3 de Larrinaga, Miguel and Turenne Sjolander, Claire, ‘(Re)presenting landmines from protector to enemy: the discursive framing of a new multilateralism’, in Maxwell A. Cameron, Robert J. Lawson, and Brian W. Tomlin (eds), To Walk Without Fear: The Global Movement to Ban Landmines (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), pp. 364391 ; Beier, ‘Dangerous terrain’, p. 171.

4 Stavrianakis, ‘Legitimising liberal militarism’, p. 841; Beier, ‘Dangerous terrain’, p. 170; Cooper, ‘Humanitarian arms control’, pp. 137, 144. For a general critique of NGOs’ lack of transformative effects, see Lipschutz, Ronnie D., ‘Power, politics and global civil society’, Millennium, 33:3 (2005), pp. 747769 .

5 Tannenwald, Nina, The Nuclear Taboo: The United States and the Non-Use of Nuclear Weapons since 1945 (Cambridge University Press, 2007), pp. 47, 317 .

6 Cox, Robert W., ‘Social forces, states and world orders: Beyond International Relations theory’, Millennium, 50:2 (1981), p. 128 .

7 Booth, Ken, ‘Security and emancipation’, Review of International Studies, 17:4 (1991), pp. 313326 ; Booth, Ken, ‘Beyond critical security studies’, in Ken Booth (ed.), Critical Security Studies and World Politics (Boulder,CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2005), pp. 259278 ; Wyn Jones, Richard, ‘Message in a bottle? Theory and praxis in critical security studies’, Contemporary Security Policy, 16:3 (1995), pp. 299319 ; Wyn Jones, Richard, Security, Strategy, and Critical Theory (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1999).

8 For a general critique along those lines, see McCormack, Tara, Critique, Security and Power: The Political Limits to Emancipatory Approaches (London: Routledge, 2010).

9 Stavrianakis, ‘Legitimising liberal militarism’, p. 853. Also, ‘continuity in practice suggest legitimation’; ibid., p. 847; Turner, Cooper, and Pugh, ‘Institutionalized and co-opted’, p. 90.

10 Price, Richard, ‘Reversing the gun sights: Transnational civil society targets landmines’, International Organization, 52:3 (1998), pp. 613644 ; Rutherford, Kenneth R., ‘The evolving arms control agenda: Implications of the role of NGOs in banning antipersonnel landmines’, World Politics, 53 (2000), pp. 74114 ; Rutherford, Kenneth R., ‘A theoretical examination of disarming states: NGOs and anti-personnel landmines’, International Politics, 37 (2000), pp. 457478 ; Don Hubert, ‘The Landmine Ban: A Case Study in Humanitarian Advocacy’, Occasional Paper 42 (Thomas J. Watson Jr Institute for International Studies, Brown University, 2000); {}; Carpenter, Charli, ‘Lost Causes’: Agenda Vetting in Global Issue Networks and the Shaping of Human Security (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2014); Carpenter, Charli R., ‘Vetting the advocacy agenda: Network centrality and the paradox of weapon norms’, International Organization, 65:1 (2011), pp. 69102 ; Garcia, Denise, Disarmament Diplomacy and Human Security: Regimes, Norms, and Moral Progress in International Relations (London: Routledge, 2011); Garcia, Denise, ‘Humanitarian security regimes’, International Affairs, 91:1 (2015), pp. 5575 ; Murdie, Amanda, Help or Harm: The Human Security Effects of International NGOs (Redwood City, CA: Stanford University Press, 2014); Bower, Adam, ‘Norms without the Great Powers: International law, nested social structures, and the ban on antipersonnel mines’, International Studies Review, 17 (2015), pp. 347373 .

11 Some of the critically informed, but overall positive work is carried out by authors themselves engaged in campaigns for humanitarian disarmament. See Bolton, Matthew and Minor, Elizabeth, ‘The discursive turn arrives in Turtle Bay: the international campaign to abolish nuclear weapons’ operationalization of critical IR theories’, Global Policy, 7:3 (2016), pp. 385395 ; Borrie, John, ‘Humanitarian reframing of nuclear weapons and the logic of a ban’, International Affairs, 90:3 (2014), pp. 625646 ; Acheson, Ray, ‘Foregrounding justice in nuclear disarmament: a practitioner commentary’, Global Policy, 7:3 (2016), p. 405 ; Ritchie, Nick, ‘Waiting for Kant: Devaluing and delegitimizing nuclear weapons’, International Affairs, 90:3 (2014), pp. 601623 .

12 Cooper, Andrew F. et al. (eds), Enhancing Global Governance: Towards A New Diplomacy? (Tokyo: United Nations University Press, 2002).

13 Jessica Mathews, ‘Power shift’, Foreign Affairs, 76:1 (1997), pp. 51–66.

14 Foucault, Michel, ‘Nietzsche, genealogy, history’, in D. F. Bouchard (ed.), Language, Counter-Memory, Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1977), p. 151 .

15 Nunes, João, ‘Reclaiming the political: Emancipation and critique in security studies’, Security Dialogue, 43:4 (2012), pp. 345361 ; Nunes, João, ‘Emancipation and the reality of security: a reconstructive agenda’, in Thierry Balzacq (ed.), Contesting Security: Strategies and Logics (London: Routledge, 2014), pp. 141154 .

16 In this article, landmines and mines refer to antipersonnel landmines only.

17 ‘Immanent critique’ (a continuous process of looking for latent potentialities in a prevailing security regime by critiquing its inconsistencies through comparison of its justifications and actual outcomes) is seen as a road to emancipation and security in the Welsh School’s Critical Security theory. See Wyn Jones, Richard, Security, Strategy, and Critical Theory (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1999), pp. 24 , 77–8, 160; Booth, Ken, Theory of World Security (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), p. 250 .

18 ‘“Civilian friendly” cluster bomb debuts against tanks’, Post-Gazette National Bureau (3 April 2003); ‘Making a more humane bomb, Textron aims to cut civilian deaths from unexploded munitions’, Boston Globe (12 April 2003).

19 Buzan, Barry, Wæver, Ole, and de Wilde, Jaap, Security: A New Framework for Analysis (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1998), pp. 2728 .

20 Booth, Ken, ‘Security and emancipation’, Review of International Studies, 17:4 (1991), pp. 313326 ; Booth, ‘Beyond critical security studies’, pp. 265–7; Wyn Jones, Security, Strategy, and Critical Theory, pp. 160, 312; João Nunes, ‘Reclaiming the political’. For the emancipatory role of NGOs and human rights law in curbing American violations in the ‘war on terror’, see Blakeley, Ruth, ‘Human rights, state wrongs, and social change: the theory and practice of emancipation’, Review of International Studies, 39:3 (2013), pp. 599619 .

21 Ottaway, Marina, ‘Corporatism goes global: International organizations, nongovernmental organization networks, and transnational business’, Global Governance, 7:3 (2001), pp. 265293 .

22 Tvedt, Terje, ‘International development aid and its impact on a donor country: a case study of Norway’, European Journal of Development Research, 19:4 (2007), pp. 614635 .

23 Bob, Clifford, The Marketing of Rebellion: Insurgents, Media, and International Activism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005); Bob, Clifford (ed.), The Internaitonal Struggle for New Human Rights (Philedelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009); Carpenter, ‘Vetting the advocacy agenda’; Carpenter, ‘Lost Causes’.

24 Price, Richard, ‘Moral limit and possibility in world politics’, International Organization, 62:2 (2008), pp. 191220 .

25 Richard Wyn Jones, ‘On emancipation: Necessity, capacity and concrete utopias’, in Booth (ed.), Critical Security Studies and World Politics, p. 220, emphasis in original.

26 Wyn Jones, ‘Message in a bottle?’, p. 312, emphasis in original; Blakeley, ‘Human rights, state wrongs’, pp. 600–01.

27 Horkheimer, cited in Antonio, Robert J., ‘Immanent critique as the core of critical theory: its origins and developments in Hegel, Marx and contemporary thought’, British Journal of Sociology, 32:3 (1981), p. 338 .

28 Antonio, ‘Immanent critique as the core of critical theory’, p. 334.

29 Ibid., p. 338.

30 Antonio, ‘Immanent critique as the core of critical theory’.

31 Ibid., p. 334.

32 Quoted in Wyn Jones, ‘On emancipation’, p. 222.

33 Wyn Jones, ‘Message in a bottle?’, pp. 306–07.

34 See Gordon Finlayson, James, ‘Hegel, Adorno and the origins of immanent criticism’, British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 22:6 (2014), pp. 11571180 .

35 Peoples, Columba and Vaughan-Williams, Nick, Critical Security Studies: An Introduction (London: Routledge, 2010), pp. 2930 .

36 Browne, Craig, ‘The end of immanent critique?’, European Journal of Social Theory, 11:1 (2008), pp. 1011 .

37 Foucault, ‘Nietzsche, genealogy, history’, p. 151.

38 Campbell, David, ‘Poststructuralism’, in Tim Dunne, Milja Kurki, and Steve Smith (eds), International Relations Theories: Discipline and Diversity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), pp. 222223 , 235; Wyn Jones, ‘On emancipation’, pp. 217–19; Fierke, K. M., Critical Approaches to International Security (Cambridge: Polity, 2007), p. 189 ; Browning, Christopher S. and McDonald, Matt, ‘The future of critical security studies: Ethics and the politics of security’, European Journal of International Relations, 19:2 (2011), pp. 239, 244 ; Cooper, and Pugh, ‘Institutionalized and co-opted’, p. 93.

39 Wyn Jones, ‘On emancipation’, p. 230. Also, Booth, Theory of World Security, p. 113; Nunes, ‘Reclaiming the political’, p. 353.

40 Foucault, Michel, ‘What is enlightenment?’, in Paul Rabinow (ed.), Ethics: Subjectivity and Truth: The Essential Works of Michel Foucault, 1954–1984, Volume I (New York: The New Press, 1997), p. 315 .

41 Foucault, ‘What is enlightenment?’, p. 316.

42 Ibid.

43 Wyn Jones, ‘On emancipation’, p. 230.

44 Foucault, ‘What is enlightenment?’, pp. 316–17.

45 Foucault, Michel, Archeology of Knowledge (London: Routledge, 2002), p. 54 .

46 Rorty, Richard, ‘Beyond Nietzsche and Marx’, London Review of Books, 3:3 (19 February 1981), pp. 56 ; Said, Edward W., ‘Foucault and the imagination of power’, in David Couzens Hoy (ed.), Foucault: A Critical Reader (Oxford: Basil Blackwell Ltd, 1986), p. 151 ; Giddens, Anthony, ‘Critique of Foucault’, in Philip Cassell (ed.), The Giddens Reader (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 1993), p. 232 .

47 Foucault, Michel, The History of Sexuality, Volume I (New York: Pantheon Books, 1978), p. 100 .

48 Foucault, ‘Nietzsche, genealogy, history’, p. 151.

49 Foucault, The History of Sexuality I, p. 101. This is how discourse was used in the movement toward accepting homosexuality as natural.

50 Foucault, ‘What is enlightenment?’, p. 316. Similarly, Foucault sees resistance to power at the micro, individual level, ‘resisting injustices at the particular point where they manifest themselves’; David Couzens Hoy, ‘Power, repression, progress: Foucault, Lukes, and the Frankfurt School’, in Couzens Hoy (ed.), Foucault, p. 143.

51 Wyn Jones, ‘Message in a bottle?’, p. 312.

52 Foucault, Michel, ‘Truth and power’, in James D. Faubion (ed.), Power: The Essential Works of Michel Foucault, 1954–1984, Volume III (New York: The New Press, 1997), pp. 127128 .

53 Wyn Jones, ‘Message in a bottle?’, p. 309.

54 Ibid., pp. 311, 309, quoting also Edward Said, Representations of the Intellectual (London: Vintage, 1994), p. 84.

55 Wyn Jones, ‘Message in a bottle?’, p. 312.

56 Wyn Jones, ‘Message in a bottle?’.

57 Ibid., p. 304; Booth, ‘Security and emancipation’, p. 326; Dunne, Tim and Wheeler, Nicholas J., ‘“We the peoples”: Contending discourses of security in human rights theory and practice’, International Relations, 18:1 (2004), p. 18 ; Murphy, Craig N., ‘The promise of critical IR, partially kept’, Review of International Studies, 33:S1 (2007), pp. 117133 .

58 Nunes, ‘Reclaiming the political’, p. 346.

59 Krause, Keith and Williams, Michael C., ‘Preface: Toward critical security studies’, in Keith Krause and Michael C. Williams (eds), Critical Security Studies: Concepts and Cases (London: University College London Press, 1997), p. xiii .

60 Nunes, ‘Reclaiming the political’, p. 348. Work in the normative and reconstructive direction has since made headway. See McDonald, Matt, Security, the Environment and Emancipation: Contestation over Environmental Change (London: Routledge, 2012); Burke, Anthony, ‘Security cosmopolitanism’, Critical Studies on Security, 1:1 (2013), pp. 1328 ; Blakeley, ‘Human rights, state wrongs’; João Nunes, Security, Emancipation and the Politics of Health: A New Theoretical Perspective (London: Routledge, 2014); Nunes, ‘Emancipation and the reality of security’; Anthony Burke, Katrina Lee-Koo, and Matt McDonald (eds), Ethics and Global Security: A Cosmopolitan Approach (London: Routledge, 2014); Burke, Anthony, ‘Security cosmopolitanism: the next phase’, Critical Studies on Security, 3:2 (2015), pp. 190212 ; Nyman, Jonna and Burke, Anthony (eds), Ethical Security Studies: A New Research Agenda (London: Routledge, 2016).

61 Similarly, Wæver argues that the radical poststructuralists’ position on the concept of security is ‘safe’ and ‘unproblematic’, whereas securitization scholars ‘need to make ultimately … political choices’; Wæver, Ole, ‘Securitizing sectors? Reply to Eriksson’, Cooperation and Conflict, 34:3 (1999), p. 339 . Also Hansen, Lene, ‘Reconstructing desecuritization: the normative-political in the Copenhagen School and directions for how to apply it’, Review of International Studies, 38:3 (2012), pp. 534536 .

62 Here, I will not focus on the practices of critical scholars and the dilemmas their involvement in NGO work raise. On this, see, for example, Bolton and Minor, ‘The discursive turn arrives in Turtle Bay’.

63 Kennedy, David, ‘Lawfare and warfare’, in James Crawford and Martti Koskenniemi (eds), The Cambridge Companion to International Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), p. 181 .

64 Kennedy, ‘Lawfare and warfare’, pp. 181–2.

65 Kennedy, The Dark Sides of Virtue, p. 346.

66 Ibid., p. 343.

67 Ibid., p. 353.

68 Ibid. pp. 354–5.

69 Nunes, ‘Reclaiming the political’; Nunes, ‘Emancipation and the reality of security’.

70 See Linklater, Andrew, The Transformation of Political Community: Ethical Foundations of the Post-Westphalian Era (Cambridge: Polity 1998); Linklater, Andrew, Critical International Relations Theory: Citizenship, State and Humanity (London: Routledge, 2007).

71 Buzan, Wæver, and de Wilde, Security, p. 36.

72 Booth, ‘Security and emancipation’, p. 319.

73 Wyn Jones, Security, Strategy, and Critical Theory, p. 159.

74 Booth, ‘Beyond critical security studies’, p. 267; Dunne and Wheeler, ‘“We the peoples”’, p. 10.

75 Buzan, Wæver, and de Wilde, Security, pp. 34–5; Wæver, ‘Securitizing sectors’, p. 335.

76 Buzan, Wæver, and de Wilde, Security, p. 29; Wæver, ‘Securitizing sectors’, p. 335.

77 Wyn Jones, ‘On emancipation’, p. 218; Taureck, Rita, ‘Securitization theory and securitization studies’, Journal of International Relations and Development, 9:1 (2006), p. 59 ; Browning and McDonald, ‘Future of critical security studies’, p. 245; Hansen, ‘Reconstructing desecuritization’, pp. 527, 529; Matt McDonald, ‘Contesting border security: Emancipation and asylum in the Australian context’, in Balzacq (ed.), Contesting Security, pp. 154–68.

78 Aradau, ‘Security and the democratic scene’, p. 389.

79 Hansen, ‘Reconstructing desecuritization’; Rumelili, Bahar, ‘Identity and desecuritisation: the pitfalls of conflating ontological and physical security’, Journal of International Relations and Development, 18 (2015), pp. 5274 ; Salter, Mark B., ‘Securitization and desecuritization: a dramaturgical analysis of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority’, Journal of International Relations and Development, 11 (2008), pp. 321349 ; Roe, Paul, ‘Securitization and minority rights: Conditions of desecuritization’, Security Dialogue, 35:3 (2004), pp. 279294 ; Thierry Balzacq, Sara Depauw, and Sarah Léonard, ‘The political limits of desecuritization: Security, arms trade, and the EU’s economic target’, in Balzacq (ed.), Contesting Security, pp. 104–21; Bourbeau, Philippe and Vuori, Juha A., ‘Security, resilience and desecuritization: Multidirectional moves and dynamics’, Critical Studies on Security, 3:3 (2015), pp. 253268 ; Luke Austin, Jonathan and Beaulieu-Brossard, Philippe, ‘(De)securitisation dilemmas: Theorising the simultaneous enaction of securitisation and desecuritisation’, Review of International Studies, 44:2 (2018), pp. 301323 .

80 Hansen, ‘Reconstructing desecuritization’, p. 529.

81 Ibid., pp. 539, 545–6.

82 Hansen, Lene, ‘ The Little Mermaid’s silent security dilemma and the absence of gender in the Copenhagen School’, Millennium, 29:2 (2000), pp. 289306 .

83 Campbell, David, Writing Security: United States Foreign Policy and the Politics of Identity (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1992); Behnke, Andreas, ‘No way out: Desecuritization, emancipation and the eternal return of the political – a reply to Aradau’, Journal of International Relations and Development, 9 (2006), pp. 6269 ; Hansen, ‘Reconstructing desecuritization’, p. 541. However, Rumelili, ‘Identity and desecuritisation’ distinguishes between securitisations involving ontological and physical security and thus highlights the potential destabilising effects of desecuritisations that threaten the ontological security of identity.

84 Roxanne Lynn Doty, ‘Immigration and the politics of security’, Security Studies, 8:2 (1998), pp. 71–93.

85 Hansen, ‘Reconstructing desecuritization’, pp. 531–3.

86 Browning and McDonald, ‘Future of critical security studies’, p. 246.

87 For example, Fierke uses immanent critique to show the inconsistencies in the logic and practices of the ‘war on terror’; Fierke, Critical Approaches, pp. 170–84.

88 Wyn Jones, ‘Message in a bottle?’; Wyn Jones, Security, Strategy, and Critical Theory; Nunes, Security, Emancipation, pp. 33–4.

89 Booth, ‘Beyond critical security studies’.

90 Buzan, Wæver, and de Wilde, Security, p. 24.

91 Wendt, Alexander, ‘Constructing international politics’, International Security, 20:1 (1995), p. 73 ; Adler, Emanuel, ‘Seizing the middle ground: Constructivism in world politics’, European Journal of International Relations, 3:3 (1997), p. 322 .

92 Price, Richard, ‘A genealogy of the chemical weapons taboo’, International Organization, 49:1 (1995), p. 90 .

93 Benford, Robert D. and Snow, David A., ‘Framing processes and social movements: an overview and assessment’, Annual Review of Sociology, 26 (2000), pp. 613614 .

94 Kennedy, David, Of War and Law (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006), p. 86 ; Rutherford, ‘A theoretical examination of disarming states’, pp. 465–6; Price, ‘Reversing the gun sights’, p. 614; Turner, Cooper, and Pugh, ‘Institutionalized and co-opted’, p. 89.

95 Benford and Snow, ‘Framing processes’, p. 623.

96 Larrinaga and Sjolander, ‘(Re)presenting landmines’, p. 380; Beier, ‘Dangerous terrain’.

97 ‘Counterframing’ denotes attempts ‘to rebut, undermine, or neutralize a person’s or group’s myths, versions of reality, or interpretive framework’ (Snow and Benford, ‘Framing processes’, p. 626).

98 On the role of different discourses aimed at different audiences during desecuritisation processes, see Salter, ‘Securitization and desecuritization’.

99 Matt McDonald, ‘Securitization and the construction of security’, European Journal of International Relations, 14:4 (2008), p. 573.

100 Wæver, Ole, ‘Securitization and desecuritization’, in Ronnie Lipschutz (ed.), On Security (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995), pp. 4686 ; Aradau, Claudia, ‘Security and the democratic scene: Desecuritization and emancipation’, Journal of International Relations and Development, 7 (2004), pp. 388413 ; Hansen, ‘Reconstructing desecuritisation’, p. 531.

101 Buzan, Wæver, and de Wilde, Security, p. 25.

102 On humans as referent objects in humanitarian disasters, see Scott Watson, ‘The “human” as referent object? Humanitarianism as securitization’, Security Dialogue, 42:1 (2011), pp. 3–20.

103 On legal expertise in international security, see Leander, Anna and Aalberts, Tanja, ‘Introduction: the co-constitution of legal expertise and international security’, Leiden Journal of International Law, 26 (2013), pp. 783792 .

104 Iver B. Neumann, ‘Harnessing social power: State diplomacy and the land-mines issue’, in Cooper et al. (eds), Enhancing Global Governance, pp. 106–32.

105 Rae McGrath, Cluster Bombs: The Military Effectiveness and Impact on Civilians of Cluster Munitions, Landmine Action UK Report (September 2000), p. 52.

106 Cluster Munition Coalition, ‘Prohibiting Cluster Munitions: Summary of Key Issues’ (2007), available at: {}.

107 General Lord Ramsbotham, quoted in Landmine Action, ‘Georgia: UK Must Condemn Russian Use of Cluster Munitions’, press release (15 August 2008), available at: {}.

108 Steve Goose, ‘Cluster Munitions: Toward a Global Solution’, in HRW 2004 World Report, p. 247, available at: {}. The Convention on Cluster Munitions defines a CM more narrowly and technically.

109 Goose, ‘Cluster Munitions’.

110 Buzan, Wæver, and de Wilde, Security, pp. 27–8.

111 Wæver, ‘Securitization and desecuritization’, p. 54.

112 The so-called Oslo Process to ban CMs was launched by Norway in February 2007 after states had been discussing the issue for several years within the forum of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. See Borrie, John, Unacceptable Harm: A History of How the Treaty to Ban Cluster Munitions Was Won (UNIDIR, 2009).

113 Interviews by author, Washington, DC, 10 December 2003; Brussels, 30 March 2006; Geneva, 11 May 2006.

114 Michael Krepon, ‘Weapons potentially inhumane: the case of cluster bombs’, Foreign Affairs (April 1974), p. 599.

115 ‘M26 Multiple Launch Rocket System’, available at: {}; Colin King, Explosive Remnants of War: A Study on Submunitions and Other Unexploded Ordnance, ICRC Report (August 2000), p. 17.

116 US Department of Defense, Kosovo/Operation Allied Force After Action Report, Report to Congress (31 January 2000), p. 90.

117 Chris Stockton, ‘A debut with a bang’, Precision Strike Digest, 16:5 (2003), pp. 6–7.

118 Convention of Certain Conventional Weapons (hereafter CCW)/GGE/X/WG.1/WP.1, ‘Military Utility of Cluster Munitions’, Working Paper prepared by the UK, Group of Governmental Experts of The Parties To The CCW, Working Group on Explosive Remnants of War (21 February 2005).

119 ‘Reports from the Defence, Foreign Affairs, International Development and Trade and Industry Committees, Presented to Parliament by the Secretaries of State for Defence, Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, International Development and Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform by Command of Her Majesty’ (November 2007), available at: {}.

120 CCW/GGE/II/WP.6, France, ‘Technical Improvements to Submunitions’, Working Paper, Group of Governmental Experts of The Parties to the CCW (10 July 2002), p. 1.

121 ‘La position française sur les sous-munitions – Intervention du Général Scellos (en tant que représentant du ministère de la Défense)’, Colloque au Sénat (6 October 2005), available at: {}. My translation, the original reads: ‘Décider de s’en passer impliquerait d’accepter une réduction importante des capacités de défense terrestre des Etats en général et de la France en particulier.’

122 Statement of Edward Cummings, Head of the US Delegation to the Second Preparatory Conference of the 2001 CCW Review Conference (5 April 2001). Also, US Department of Defense, Defense Science Board Task Force on Munitions System Reliability, report (September 2005), p. 11; Robert M. Gates, ‘Memorandum for the Secretaries of the Military Departments: Subject DoD Policy on Cluster Munitions and Unintended Harm to Civilians’ (19 June 2008).

123 King, Explosive Remnants, p. 37. Whereas the assessment of CM effectiveness in different conflicts varied, in the 1991 Gulf War their military utility was ‘clear’ (ibid., p. 17).

124 Quoted in Pax Christi Netherlands, Cluster Weapons: Necessity or Convenience?, report (June 2005), p. 20, available at: {}.

125 ICRC, Humanitarian, Military, Technical, and Legal Challenges of Cluster Munitions, report of the Montreux Expert Meeting (18–20 April 2007), p. 19.

126 McGrath, Cluster Bombs, p. 52.

127 Pax Christi Netherlands, Cluster Weapons, pp. 22, 25.

128 Rosy Cave, ‘Disarmament as humanitarian action? Comparing negotiations on anti-personnel mines and explosive remnants of war’, in John Borrie and V. Martin Randin (eds), Disarmament as Humanitarian Action: From Perspective to Practice (UNIDIR, June 2006), p. 62.

129 Also Price, ‘Reversing the gun sights’.

130 ICRC, ‘Report of the ICRC for the review conference of the 1980 UN conventions on Prohibitions or restrictions on the use of certain conventional weapons which may be deemed to be excessively injurious or to have indiscriminate effects’, International Review of the Red Cross, 299 (1994), pp. 123182 .

131 ‘“Safe-Mines” and Submunitions’, in ICBL, Second NGO Conference on Landmines Final Report, Geneva, 9–11 May 1994.

132 CCW/CONF.I/SR.6, ‘Summary Record of the 6th Meeting’, the Austria Center Vienna, 28 September 1995. Review Conference of the States Parties to the CCW (5 October 1995), p. 4.

133 Congressional Record: H14787-H14796, letter from John M. Shalikashvili, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Hon. Floyd Spence, Chairman, Committee on National Security, House of Representatives, 13 December 1995.

134 ICRC, Anti-Personnel Landmines – Friend or Foe?: A Study of the Military Use and Effectiveness of Anti-Personnel Mines (March 1996), p. 5.

135 Center for International Policy, ‘Commander-in-Chief: Contrasting the Presidential Roles in the World Campaigns to Ban Chemical Weapons (1919–45) and Land Mines (1990s)’, report (1999), available at: {}.

136 CCW/GGE/X/WG.1/WP.1, ‘Military Utility of Cluster Munitions’, 21 February 2005, p. 2.

137 ‘Reports from the Defence, Foreign Affairs, International Development and Trade and Industry Committees’, p. 35.

138 US Department of Defense, Munitions System Reliability, p. 38.

139 CCW/GGE/X/WG.1/WP.1, ‘Military Utility of Cluster Munitions’; US Department of Defense, Munitions System Reliability.

140 Jody Williams and Stephen Goose, ‘The international campaign to ban landmines’, in Cameron et al. (eds), To Walk Without Fear, pp. 20–47; Price, ‘Reversing the gun sights’; Larrinaga and Sjolander, ‘(Re)presenting landmines’; Rutherford, ‘Evolving arms control agenda’; Hubert, ‘The Landmine Ban’.

141 Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), Land Mines in Cambodia: The Coward’s War (September 1991); HRW, Hidden Death: Land Mines and Civilian Casualties in Iraqi Kurdistan (October 1992); PHR, Hidden Enemies: Land Mines in Northern Somalia (November 1992); HRW, Land Mines in Angola (February 1993); HRW and PHR, Landmines: A Deadly Legacy (October 1993); African Rights and Mines Advisory Group, Violent Deeds Live On: Landmines in Somalia and Somaliland (December 1993); HRW, Landmines in Mozambique (February 1994); Shawn Roberts and Jody Williams, After the Guns Fall Silent: The Enduring Legacy of Landmines (Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, 1995).

142 Larrinaga and Sjolander, ‘(Re)presenting landmines’.

143 Boutros-Ghali, Boutros, ‘The land mine crisis: a humanitarian disaster’, Foreign Affairs, 73:5 (1994), pp. 813 ; HRW and PHR, Landmines: A Deadly Legacy.

144 ICBL, Second NGO Conference on Landmines, Final Report, p. 13.

145 HRW and PHR, Landmines: A Deadly Legacy, pp. 3, 355.

146 Hidden Killers: The Global Problem with Uncleared Landmines, quoted in Congressional Record, Senate (28 February 1994).

147 ICBL, Report on Activities: Review Conference of the Convention on Conventional Weapons, Geneva, 22 April–3 May 1996, p. 42. NGOs not only amplified, but may have also inflated the number of casualties and the proportions of the crisis; Larrinaga and Sjolander, ‘(Re)presenting landmines’, pp. 374–7.

148 The principle is codified in Art. 51(1–4) of the 1977 Protocol I Additional to the Geneva Conventions. It states that ‘The civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against dangers arising from military operations’, ‘shall not be the object of attack’, and indiscriminate attacks ‘of a nature to strike military objectives and civilians or civilian objects without distinction’ are prohibited.

149 The principle is codified in Art. 51(5)(b) of 1977 Protocol I Additional to the Geneva Conventions, which prohibits ‘an attack which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated’.

150 Gail Gardam, Judith, ‘Proportionality and force in international law’, American Journal of International Law, 87:3 (1993), pp. 407, 409 ; Stephens, Dale and Lewis, Michael W., ‘The law of armed conflict – a contemporary critique’, Melbourne Journal of International Law, 6 (2005), p. 76 .

151 Walzer, Michael, ‘Responsibility and proportionality in state and nonstate wars’, Parameters, 39:1 (2009), pp. 4052 .

152 A third relevant principle is a prohibition ‘to employ weapons, projectiles and material and methods of warfare of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering’: Art. 35(2), Protocol I Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (8 June 1977). The principle is tied to the idea that only violence that is militarily necessary can be inflicted upon combatants. This principle informed the discussion on weapons restrictions in the 1970s and some of ICRC’s early work in the 1990s on landmines as causing severe and cruel injuries. However, given that this principle regards mostly violence against combatants, for the most part the ICBL did not base NGO arguments on it.

153 See, for example, ICBL, Report on Activities: Review Conference of the Convention on Conventional Weapons, Vienna, Austria, 25 September–13 October 1995, p. 35; ICBL, The Human and Socio-Economic Impact of Landmines: Toward an International Ban, Final Report of the Landmine Conference, Phnom Penh, 1995; ICBL, ‘NGOs Criticize Lack of Progress at UN Weapons Conference in Vienna’, ICBL press release (6 October 1995); ICRC, Friend or Foe; Williams, Jody, ‘Landmines and measures to eliminate them’, International Review of the Red Cross, 307 (1995), pp. 375390 .

154 See, for example, HRW, Ticking Times Bombs: NATO’s Use of Cluster Munitions in Yugoslavia, report (June 1999), available at: {}; HRW, Civilian Deaths in the NATO Air Campaign. report (February 2000), available at: {}; HRW, Fatally Flawed: Cluster Bombs and their Use by the United States In Afghanistan, report (December 2002); HRW, Off Target: The Conduct of the War and Civilian Casualties in Iraq, report (December 2003); HRW, Flooding South Lebanon: Israel’s Use of Cluster Munitions in Lebanon in July and August 2006, report (February 2008); Mennonite Central Committee, Cluster Bomb Use in the Yugoslavia/Kosovo War, report (1999); Mennonite Central Committee, Clusters of Death: The Mennonite Central Committee Global Report on Cluster Bomb Production and Use (2000); McGrath, Cluster Bombs; King, Explosive Remnants of War, ICRC report (August 2000); Landmine Action, Foreseeable Harm: The Use and Impact of Cluster Munitions in Lebanon: 2006, report (October 2006); Richard Moyes, Cluster Munitions in Kosovo: Analysis of Use, Contamination, and Casualties, Landmine Action Report (February 2007); Handicap International, Circle of Impact: the Fatal Footprint of Cluster Munitions on People and Communities, report (May 2007); Norwegian People’s Aid, Yellow Killers: The Impact of Cluster Munitions in Serbia and Montenegro, report (2007).

155 HRW, ‘Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW): Time to Begin a New International Instrument on Cluster Munitions: Statement at the 3rd Review Conference’ (8 November 2006), available at: {}; Landmine Action, ‘Opening Statement by Simon Conway’, 3rd CCW Review Conference (8 November 2006).

156 HRW, Fatally Flawed: Cluster Bombs and Their Use by the United States in Afghanistan, report (December 2002), p. 30.

157 HRW, ‘Cluster Munitions and the Proportionality Test’, Memorandum to Delegates of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (April 2008), p. 3.

158 Brian Rappert, Out of Balance: The UK Government’s Efforts to Understand Cluster Munitions and International Humanitarian Law (Landmine Action Report, November 2005).

159 Rutherford, ‘Evolving arms control agenda’; John Borrie, Unacceptable Harm, pp. 180–1.

160 Although the estimates were that women and children comprised about 30–40 per cent of the landmine victims, the NGOs have always emphasised them and occasionally claimed they made up 90 per cent of the victims (Larrinaga and Sjolander, ‘(Re)presenting landmines’, pp. 376–7).

161 See, for example, Handicap International’s project ‘Ban Advocates’ aimed at providing a voice for the victims of CMs and actively engaged them in lobbying activities during the negotiations {}.

162 See Stan Brabant, ‘The ban advocates: Cluster munition victims’ commitment to the implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions’, Disarmament Forum, 1 (2010), pp. 3–12.

163 It has been argued that norms about preventing bodily harm to innocent people have particular resonance internationally. See Finnemore, Martha and Sikkink, Kathryn, ‘International norm dynamics and political change’, International Organization, 52:4 (1998), pp. 887917 ; Keck, Margaret E. and Sikkink, Kathryn, Activists beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998).

164 Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Invitation Letter to the Oslo Conference by Jonas Gahr Støre’ (December 2006), available at; {}.

165 Jonas Gahr Støre, ‘Opening Statement by Minister of Foreign Affairs’, Oslo Conference on Cluster Munitions, Oslo, 22 February 2007.

166 Price, ‘Reversing the gun sights’; Rappert, Out of Balance; Brian Rappert and Richard Moyes, ‘The prohibition of cluster munitions: Setting international precedents for defining inhumanity’, Nonproliferation Review, 16:2 (2009), pp. 237–56.

167 Rutherford, ‘Evolving arms control agenda’; Price, ‘Reversing the gun sights’; Larrinaga and Sjolander, ‘(Re)presenting landmines’; Hubert, ‘The Landmine Ban’.

168 Price, ‘Reversing the gun sights’, pp. 632–3 is a notable exception.

169 ICBL, Second NGO Conference on Landmines, Final Report, p. 82.

170 Ibid., p. 83.

171 Stephen D. Biddle, Julia L. Klare, and Jaeson Rosenfeld, The Military Utility of Landmines: Implications for Arms Control, IDA Document D-1559 (1994), p. 68.

172 CCW News, ‘What are we doing here’ (11 October 1995), in ICBL, Report on Activities: Review Conference of the Convention on Conventional Weapons, Vienna, Austria, 25 September–13 October 1995; ‘Summary Record of the 6th Meeting’, the Austria Center Vienna, 28 September 1995; CCW /CONF.I/SR.6, ‘Review Conference of the States Parties 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 Effects’ (5 October 1995), p. 6.

173 ICBL, Human and Socio-Economic Impact of Landmines, p. 56.

174 Jef Van Gerwen, ‘Anti-personnel landmines: an ethical reflection’, The Month (May 1995), reprinted in ICBL, Human and Socio-Economic Impact of Landmines.

175 ICRC, Friend or Foe, pp. 45–7; ICBL, ‘CCW – Trading Away People’s Lives’, press release (October 1995), in ICBL, Report on Activities, Vienna, Austria, 25 September–13 October 1995; ‘Stop stalling on land mines’, New York Times (26 August 1997); ‘Failures of leadership on land mines’, New York Times (21 June 1997); Frederick Downs Jr, ‘100 million land mines: a soldier’s plea to ban the weapon that kills civilians every day’, Washington Post (21 April 1996); Dana Priest, ‘U.S. holds key to ban of mines’, Washington Post (2 January 1997).

176 ICRC, Anti-personnel Landmines – Friend or Foe, p. 73.

177 Mary Wareham, ‘Rhetoric and policy realities in the United States’, in Cameron et al. (eds), To Walk without Fear, p. 224.

178 Open letter to Clinton in the New York Times (3 April 1996), reproduced in Congressional Record, House (15 May 1997), pp. H2776–H2778, available at: {}.

179 HRW, ‘Memorandum for U.S. Policymakers on Landmines’ (November 2001), available at: {}.

180 Quoted in Friends Committee on National Legislation, ‘Chronology of U.S. Policy and International Mine Ban Treaty Events’, available at: {}.

181 Quoted in US Campaign to Ban Landmines, ‘Letter to President George W. Bush’ (17 January 2003), available at: {}.

182 HRW, ‘Myths and Realities about Cluster Munitions’, campaign document (February 2007), available at: {}. HRW stressed that in the 3rd Infantry Division’s lessons learned CMs were called ‘losers’ and ‘a Cold War relic’ due to the high failure rate of DPICM submunitions used in the 2003 Iraq War (HRW, Off Target, p. 114).

183 McGrath, Cluster Bombs; Rappert, Out of Balance; Simon Conway, ‘Speaker’s Summary: Cluster Munitions: Historical Overview of Use and Human Impact’, in ICRC, Humanitarian, Military, Technical, and Legal Challenges of Cluster Munitions, report of the Montreux Expert Meeting (18–20 April 2007).

184 Rappert, Out of Balance.

185 Price, ‘Reversing the gun sights’, p. 632.

186 On the UK CM case, see Petrova, Margarita H., ‘Rhetorical entrapment and normative enticement: How the United Kingdom turned from spoiler into champion of the cluster munition ban’, International Studies Quarterly, 60:3 (2016), pp. 387399 .

187 Landmine Action, ‘UK Signs of for Final Stage of Cluster Bomb Ban’ (22 February 2008), available at: {}; Landmine Action, ‘Georgia: UK Must Condemn’; Richard Norton-Taylor, ‘UK ready to scrap killer cluster bombs’, Guardian (28 May 2008); Oxfam, ‘Defence Secretary Must Halt Future Cluster Bomb Deaths and Injuries’ (22 April 2008), available at: {}.

188 See, for example, UK House of Lords Hansard, ‘Cluster Munitions’ (17 May 2007); UK House of Lords Hansard, ‘Conventional Weapons’ (15 November 2007), available at: {}.

189 Open letter to Clinton in the New York Times (3 April 1996).

190 ‘Cluster bombs don’t work and must be banned’, The Times (19 May 2008).

191 Interview by author, Geneva, 25 May 2009.

192 Steve Goose, ‘Plenary session II, the military situation’, in ICBL, Human and Socio-Economic Impact of Landmines, emphasis in original.

193 Cluster Munition Coalition, ‘Prohibiting Cluster Munitions’.

194 Mines Action Canada director quoted in Julie Burtinshaw, ‘Stop Cluster Bombs’ (22 March 2007), available at: {}.

195 Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) co-chair in Pax Christi Netherlands, ‘Cluster Bomb Treaty Takes Shape’, press release (25 May 2007), available at: {}; CMC, ‘Global Push to Ban Cluster Bombs at Crossroads – Governments Called Upon to Keep Protection of Civilians at Forefront of Negotiations’, press release (18 February 2008).

196 ICRC, Humanitarian, Military, Technical, and Legal Challenges.

197 John Borrie, ‘The road from Oslo: Emerging international efforts on cluster munitions’, Disarmament Diplomacy, 85 (summer 2007).

198 Ove Dullum, Cluster Munitions: Military Utility and Alternatives, FFI-report 2007/02345 (Norwegian Defense Research Establishment, 2008), pp. 3, 143, emphasis added.

199 Richard Price, The Chemical Weapons Taboo (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997), p. 5 has argued that ‘the lack of decisive utility’ has never precluded the entry of new weapons in military arsenals, and hence, the prohibition of chemical weapons could not be explained by their military ineffectiveness.

200 As Price has argued, ‘to the extent that a category of weapons technology carries the burden of extra political, legal, and moral baggage, the ordinary criteria of mere utility will just not do’: Price, ‘Reversing the gun sights’, p. 633.

201 Here I focus on the CM case. For an examination of the effects of landmine stigmatisation, see Price, Richard, ‘Emerging customary norms and anti-personnel landmines’, in Christian Reus-Smit (ed.), The Politics of International Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), pp. 106130 ; Bower, ‘Norms without the great powers’.

202 Stephen D. Goose, ‘Cluster Munitions: Ban Them’, Arms Control Today (Jan/Feb 2008), available at: {}.

203 US Department of State, ‘United States Clearance of Unexploded Cluster Munitions’, fact sheet, Office of the Spokesman (23 February 2007); ‘U.S. Intervention on Humanitarian Impacts of Cluster Munitions’ (20 June 2007); US, ‘Statement on the Outcome of the CCW Group of Government Experts Meeting’ (22 June 2007).

204 ‘Cluster munitions: a change of heart, or of tactic?’, The Economist (21 June 2007).

205 CCW-GGE , ‘U.S. Statement on Humanitarians Aspects of Cluster Munitions’ (16 January 2008).

206 Gates, ‘Memorandum’.

207 Cluster Munition Coaltion, ‘US Out of Step with Allies with Hollow “New” Cluster Bomb Policy’, press release (8 July 2008).

208 That is, not just in testing or under averaged combat conditions.

209 Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, ‘United States: Cluster Munition Ban Policy’ (8 August 2016), available at: {}.

210 Deputy Secretary of Defense, ‘Memorandum, DoD Policy on Cluster Munitions’ (30 November 2017), available at: {}.

211 HRW, US Embraces Cluster Munitions (1 December 2017), {}.

212 Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, ‘United States Mine Ban Policy’ (23 October 2017), available at: {}. As in the landmine case, the main reason the military has offered for retaining the option to use unreliable CMs is the tense situation on the Korean peninsula. See ‘U.S. will keep older cluster munitions, a weapon banned by 102 nations’, New York Times (1 December 2017), available at: {}.

213 US Department of State, White Paper: Putting the Impact of Cluster Munitions In Context with the Effects of All Explosive Remnants of War (15 February 2008).

214 ‘Opening Statement by Stephen Mathias, Head of U.S. Delegation to the CCW-GGE Meetings’ (7 July 2008). Also, US, ‘Statement on Proposed Changes by the Group of 25 to the Group of Governmental Experts’ (7 November 2008).

215 Amnesty Internaitonal, ‘Yemen: Images of Missile and Cluster Munitions Point to US Role in Fatal Attack’, press release (7 June 2010), available at: {}; Cluster Munition Coaltion, ‘US: Confirm or Deny Use of Cluster Munitions in Yemen’ (8 June 2010), available at: {}.

216 Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, ‘United States’ (2016); Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, ‘United States: Cluster Munition Ban Policy’ (2015), available at: {}.

217 Risse, Thomas and Sikkink, Kathryn, ‘The socialization of human rights norms into domestic practice: Introduction’, in Thomas Risse, Stephen C. Ropp, and Kathryn Sikkink (eds), The Power of Human Rights: International Norms and Domestic Change (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), pp. 138 .

218 Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, ‘United States: Cluster Munition Ban Policy’ (4 August 2017), available at: {}.

219 HRW, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice, report (May 2009), p. 255; Cluster Munition Monitor, ‘United States’.

220 John Hudson, ‘White House Blocks Transfer of Cluster Bombs to Saudi Arabia’, Foreign Policy (27 May 2016), available at: {}.

221 John Hudson, ‘Last Remaining U.S. Maker of Cluster Bombs Stops Production’, Foreign Policy (31 August 2016), available at: {}.

222 One CBU-97 costs around US $370,000. Based on data from HRW, ‘Air Force Procurement Requests’, backgrounder (2005), available at: {}. For comparison, most precision-guided bomb cost less per unit. JDAM kits cost about US $25,000, while laser-guidance kits vary depending on bomb size from US $40,000 to $70,000; Tamir Eshel, ‘The High Cost of Precision Attack’ (6 May 2011), available at: {}. A 4000 lb bunker buster, GBU-28, costs US $145,600, less than half the price of the sensor-fuzed weapon. See {}.

223 Manufacturer representative quoted in Bryan Schatz, ‘This American Company Is Finally Getting Out of the Cluster Bomb Business’ (1 September 2016), available at: {}.

224 Sigal, Leon V., Negotiating Minefields: The Landmines Ban in American Politics (London: Routledge, 2006), pp. 201205 .

225 Quoted in David Usborne, ‘She battles landmines, bullies, and Bill’, The Independent (12 October 1997).

226 US Department of State, ‘U.S. Landmine Policy’ (27 February 2004), available at: {}; Ambassador Karl F. Inderfurth, ‘Demining 2010 initiative coordination of resources for mine action’, The RUSI Journal, 143:1 (1998), pp. 9–10; Wareham, ‘Rhetoric and policy realities in the United States’, p. 239; US Department of State, ‘United States Leadership in Clearing Landmines and Saving Lives’ (13 November 2007), available at: {}; US Department of State, ‘U.S. Global Leadership in Landmine Clearance and Conventional Weapons Destruction’ (3 April 2015), available at: {}.

227 Ramesh Jaura, ‘Compromise yes, clout no’, Terra Viva: The Conference Daily Newspaper, 1 (15 June 1998), p. 3; ‘Political will is real test for court’, Terra Viva, 5 (19 June 1998), p. 5; Farhan Faq, ‘Increasingly, US an isolated voice’, Terra Viva, 6 (22 June 1998), p. 4.

228 Quoted in ICC Monitor, 10 (November 1998), available at: {}.

229 Scheffer, David, All the Missing Souls: A Personal History of the War Crimes Tribunals (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012), pp. 220, 217 .

230 US Department of State, ‘Ambassador Mull Briefs on U.S. Cluster Munitions Policy’, briefing (21 May 2008), available at: {}.

231 Cluster Munition Coalition, ‘Campaigners Call On U.S. To Stop Bullying Negotiators’ (23 May 2008), available at: {}; Jody Williams, ‘US subverts the cluster bomb ban’, Boston Globe (24 May 2008); ‘US “bullying” hurts cluster bomb ban work’, Reuters (23 May 2008).

232 Kennedy, The Dark Sides of Virtue, p. 294, emphasis in original.

233 Kennedy, ‘Lawfare and warfare’; Kennedy, Of War and Law.

234 Rappert and Moyes, ‘The prohibition of cluster munitions’.

235 Neumann, ‘Harnessing social power’; Jacob Sending, Ole and Neumann, Iver B., ‘Governance to governmentality: Analyzing NGOs, states, and power’, International Studies Quarterly, 50 (2006), pp. 651672 ; Hynek, Nikola, ‘Conditions of emergence and their (bio)political effects: Political rationalities, governmental programmes and technologies of power in the landmine case’, Journal of International Relations and Development, 11 (2008), pp. 93120 ; Carpenter, ‘Lost Causes’.

236 For example, when the MBT was negotiated, demands from some NGO members to include in the treaty also anti-tank mines or CMs were sidelined. In the CCM, an exception was made for the most advanced sensor-fuzed weapons that arguably did not have the humanitarian effects of CMs. Despite opposing the inclusion of an interoperability clause in the CCM, NGOs also chose to acquiesce to it, but strongly criticise it to limit its practical impact.

237 Interview 1 by author, Geneva, 23 November 2012.

238 Neumann, ‘Harnessing social power’.

239 Nash, Thomas, ‘Civil society and cluster munitions: Building blocks of a global campaign’, in Mary Kaldor et al. (eds), Global Civil Society 2012 (Basigstoke: Palgrave, 2012), pp. 134135 .

240 For example, the victim assistance clause of the CCM was considerably stronger compared to the MBT. See Docherty, Bonnie, ‘Breaking new ground: the convention on cluster munitions and the evolution of international humanitarian law’, Human Rights Quarterly, 31 (2009), pp. 934963 .

241 Beier, ‘Dangerous terrain’, p. 172; Larrinaga and Sjolander, ‘(Re)presenting landmines’.

242 Turner, Cooper, and Pugh, ‘Institutionalized and co-opted’, p. 87.

243 Eight of the ten NGOs on the Steering Committee of the campaign were previously and currently associated with the landmine and CM campaigns, with its coordinator Mary Wareham, a former coordinator of the US landmine campaign and long-time HRW researcher on landmines and CMs. See {}.

244 As of April 2017, 4 years after its official launch, the campaign had 63 members. The CMC launched with the support of 85 NGOs and 4 years later had 238 members. See {}. Four years after its beginning, the ICBL had 650 members; ICBL, Towards a Global Ban on Anti-Personnel Mines, International Strategy Conference, Ottawa, 3–5 October 1996, p. 18.

245 The CCW mandate for 2018 remained at the discussion stage.

246 Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, ‘Support Grows for New International Law on Killer Robots’ (17 November 2017), available at: {}.

247 Madison Margolin, ‘How Does the Story of Killer Robots End?’ (23 February 2017), available at: {}.

248 It has been argued that despite the advocacy against autonomous weapons by a loose network of scientists, the campaign only took off when HRW joined, after Jody Williams and Article 36, the latter made up of core CMC campaigners, played bridge-building roles; Carpenter, ‘Lost Causes’.

249 See, for example, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), ‘Outlawing Inhumane Weapons’, available at: {}. Also ICAN, ‘UN Votes to Outlaw Nuclear Weapons in 2017’ (27 October 2016), available at: {}.

250 ICAN, Catastrophic Humanitarian Harm, report (August 2012), available at: {}; Article 36, Banning Nuclear Weapons, report (February 2013), available at: {}.

251 ‘Joint Press Statement from the Permanent Representatives to the United Nations of the United States, United Kingdom, and France Following the Adoption of a Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons’ (7 July 2017), available at: {}. The Netherlands, the only NATO country that participated in the negotiations, was the only one to vote against the treaty: ‘About the Treaty to rohibit Nuclear Weapons’ (7 July 2017), available at: {}.

252 See, for example, Williams, Heather, ‘Why a nuclear weapons ban is unethical (for now)’, The RUSI Journal, 161:2 (2016), pp. 3847 .

253 Müller, Harald, ‘The nuclear non-proliferation treaty in jeopardy? Internal divisions and the impact of world politics’, The International Spectator, 52:1 (2017), pp. 1227 .

254 Given the long history of antinuclear activists highlighting the unthinkable effects of nuclear weapons, in line with radical critiques, it has been argued that by reproducing this dominant discourse and working through established international institutions, the humanitarian initiative ‘carries with it limitations that render the approach not only ultimately ineffectual, but also potentially damaging’. See Considine, Laura, ‘The “standardization of catastrophe”: Nuclear disarmament, the humanitarian initiative and the politics of the unthinkable’, European Journal of International Relations, 23:3 (2017), pp. 681702 (p. 689).

255 ‘Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to Anti-Nuclear Weapons Campaigners’, CNN (6 October 2017), available at: {}.

256 Interview 2 by author, Geneva, 23 November 2012; Mathur, Ritu, ‘Practices of legalization in arms control and disarmament: the ICRC, CCW and landmines’, Contemporary Security Policy, 33:3 (2012), pp. 413436 .

257 Wyn Jones, ‘Message in a bottle?’, p. 312.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Review of International Studies
  • ISSN: 0260-2105
  • EISSN: 1469-9044
  • URL: /core/journals/review-of-international-studies
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed