What is the difference between a landmine, cluster munition, and explosive remnant of war?

Antipersonnel landmines are explosive devices designed to injure or kill people. Antivehicle or antitank mines are designed to explode when triggered by a vehicle.

Cluster bombs, or cluster munitions, are weapons containing from several to hundreds of explosive submunitions. They are dropped from the air or fired from the ground and are designed to break open in mid-air, releasing submunitions and saturating an area that can be as wide as several football fields.

Unexploded ordnance (UXO) are weapons that for some reason fail to detonate as intended, thereby becoming unexploded ordnance. These unstable explosive devices are left behind during and after conflicts and pose dangers similar to landmines.

Abandoned explosive ordnance (AXO) is explosive ordnance that has not been used during armed conflict and has been left behind and is no longer under control of the party that left it behind. It may or may not have been primed, fuzed, armed, or otherwise prepared for use.

Explosive remnants of war (ERW) are explosive munitions left behind after a conflict has ended. They include unexploded artillery shells, grenades, mortars, rockets, air-dropped bombs, and cluster munitions. Under the international legal definition, ERW consist of UXO and AXO, but not mines.

(Last updated September 2017)