Was versteht man unter Landminen und Streubomben?
The term landmine refers to anti-personnel and anti-vehicle mines. Anti-personnel mines kill or injure enemy fighters while anti-vehicle mines are intended to stop vehicles and their passengers from driving on or to destroy them. Landmines are made of plastic, metal or other materials and contain explosives or, at times, splinters. They are buried just beneath the surface so that they are not detected. In general, they are triggered by the victims themselves. The perfidious idea behind the use of these mines is that they are intended to badly wound the enemy soldiers rather than killing them. They are cheap and easy to produce; production costs of one anti-personnel landmine is about one US dollar. It costs more than US $1,000, however, to find and destroy a mine that has been laid.
A cluster bombs is a metal container that holds hundreds of small explosive charges (bomblets) They often look like bright drinks cans or tennis balls. Cluster bombs are dropped from an aircraft or fired from rocket launchers from the ground. When they have opened in the air, they release their small charges that spread over an area of multiple football pitches (several hundred hectares) and explode upon impact on the ground. As an offensive weapon, they are intended to kill directly. Yet, what is particularly insidious is the fact that about five to 30 per cent of the bomblets do not explode but remain stuck in the ground. This may have technical reasons or be due to the nature of the ground, as surfaces that are too soft (snow, mud, water or vegetation) prevent the fuse from being activated. In this case, cluster bombs have the same effect as landmines that explode at the slightest touch.
The use of landmines and cluster bombs has long-lasting, devastating humanitarian consequences. When they detonate, people are blinded, suffer burns, are injured by splinters or mutilated. Some victims die, others have to endure amputations, long stays in hospital and lengthy rehabilitation processes.