Used for its incendiary, smoke or illuminating effects, the deployment of white phosphorus weapons have proliferated in recent or ongoing conflicts, often indiscriminately affecting civilian populations and goods in densely populated areas. White phosphorus weapons are incendiary weapons whose use is regulated by Protocol III of the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. Very toxic, white phosphorus causes immediate tragic injuries that can cause death or serious and persistent health consequences. The intrinsic properties of white phosphorus and the nature of recent conflicts make such weapons incompatible with the principles of precaution, discrimination and proportionality required by the international humanitarian law. The bill filed in the Senate of Belgium by Senator Philippe Mahoux could be a first step towards a complete and general prohibition of white phosphorus weapons.
Keywords : white phosphorus, conventional weapons, Geneva Convention, Gaza, Mahoux.