International Law Studies


Since their first extensive use in the 1904–05 Russo-Japanese War naval mines have continued to pose a considerable threat to innocent shipping. States reacted by adopting the 1907 Hague Convention VIII, which has been the only international instrument on the matter to date. In view of the fact that more than 80 percent of imports and exports are shipped by sea, freedom of navigation and, in particular, transit and archipelagic sea lanes passage rights must be preserved to the greatest extent possible. The present article deals with the question of whether international rules and principles provide effective protection of international shipping by prohibiting or restricting the laying of naval mines that impede passage rights in times of international armed conflict, as well as in times of peace or crisis.