Alleged use of Cluster Munitions – news of serious concern

Statement by the President of the Second Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions

It is of serious concern to learn from recent media reports of allegations of use of cluster munitions by a non-signatory to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Although not independently verified, Human Rights Watch refers to videos which appear to show identifiable cluster bombs and submunitions.

It further states that arms experts have verified the munitions as Soviet-made remnants of a RBK-250 series cluster bomb canister and unexploded AO-1Sch submunitions, which are smaller fragmentation bomblets delivered by RBK bombs and banned by the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

As President of the Second Meeting of States Parties I call again for a universal adherence to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The Convention was established in 2008 and entered into force 10 August 2010 to address the unacceptable harm caused to civilians by cluster munitions and the imperative of once and for all putting an end to the potential harm these weapons could cause in the future. If substantiated this has now happened and would entail a breach of the norm set by the Convention on Cluster Munitions. In this regard, and in my capacity as President of the Second Meeting of States Parties to this convention, I maintain, as in an earlier instance, that any allegations of use must be taken seriously and demands nothing short of full clarifications.”

“I was much honored to host and preside over the successful Second Meeting of States Parties in Beirut, Lebanon, 12–16 September 2011 attended by 131 States, both parties and non-parties to the Convention, together with representatives from the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Cluster Munition Coalition and many additional national and international organizations.

The Beirut declaration, adopted at the meeting explicitly affirms the commitment by all States Parties to end the harm caused by cluster munitions. It calls on all states who continue to use the weapon to cease now and join us in the task of eradicating them. As a significant addition to the strengthening of International Humanitarian Law, the Convention set a new standard for the conduct of armed conflict and should be accepted by all States.

I would therefore like to reaffirm the commitment of this partnership between states, international organizations and civil society to the protection of civilians, and to work further to achieve our collective goal – a world free of cluster munitions.”