Convention on Cluster Munitions

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Convention on Cluster Munitions
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Signatories to the Convention (blue) and States Parties (purple)
Type Disarmament
Drafted 19–30 May 2008 in Dublin
Signed 3 December 2008
Location Oslo
Effective 1 August 2010[1]
Condition 6 months after 30 ratifications[2]
Signatories 108[3]
Parties 84[3]
Depositary UN Secretary-General[4]
Languages Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish[5]
Convention on Cluster Munitions at Wikisource

The Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) is an international treaty that prohibits the use, transfer and stockpile of cluster bombs, a type of explosive weapon which scatters submunitions ("bomblets") over an area. The convention was adopted on 30 May 2008 in Dublin,[6] and was opened for signature on 3 December 2008 in Oslo. It entered into force on 1 August 2010, six months after it was ratified by 30 states.[2] As of September 2013, 108 states have signed the treaty, with 84 having ratified or acceded it.[3]

Countries that ratify the convention will be obliged "never under any circumstances to":[7]

(a) Use cluster munitions;
(b) Develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer to anyone, directly or indirectly, cluster munitions;

(c) Assist, encourage or induce anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Convention.

The treaty allows certain types of weapons with submunitions that do not have the indiscriminate area effects or pose the same unexploded ordnance risks as cluster munitions. Permitted weapons must contain fewer than ten submunitions, and each must weigh more than 4 kilograms (8.8 lb), and each submunition must have the capability to detect and engage a single target object and contain electronic self-destruct and self-deactivation mechanisms.[8] Weapons containing submunitions which all individually weigh at least 20 kg (44 lb) are also excluded.[9] A limited number of prohibited weapons and submunitions can be acquired and kept for training in, and development of, detection, clearance and destruction techniques and counter-measures.

History[edit]

The impetus for the treaty, like that of the 1997 Ottawa Treaty to ban landmines, has been concern over the severe damage and risks to civilians from explosive weapons during and long after attacks. A varying proportion of submunitions dispersed by cluster bombs fail to explode on impact and can lie unexploded for years until disturbed. The sometimes brightly colored munitions are not camouflaged, but have been compared to toys or Easter eggs, attracting children at play.[10][11] Human rights activists claim that one in four casualties resulting from submunitions that fail to explode on impact are children who often pick up and play with the explosive canisters well after the conflict has ended.[12] The 2006 Lebanon War provided momentum for the campaign to ban cluster bombs. The United Nations estimated that up to 40% of Israeli cluster bomblets failed to explode on impact.[13] Norway organized the independent Oslo process after discussions at the traditional disarmament forum in Geneva fell through in November 2006.[14]

The cluster munitions ban process, also known as the Oslo Process, began in February 2007 in Oslo. At this time, 46 nations issued the "Oslo Declaration", committing themselves to:

Conclude by 2008 a legally binding international instrument that prohibits the use and stockpiling of cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians and secure adequate provision of care and rehabilitation to survivors and clearance of contaminated areas.[15][16]

The Oslo Process held meetings in Lima in May 2007 and Vienna in December 2007. In February 2008, 79 countries adopted the "Wellington Declaration", setting forth the principles to be included in the convention.[17]

Adoption[edit]

Ban Advocates from Afghanistan and Ethiopia demonstrating during the May 2008 Dublin conference

Delegates from 107 nations agreed to the final draft of the treaty at the end of a ten-day meeting held in May 2008 in Dublin, Ireland.[18] Its text was formally adopted on 30 May 2008 by 107 nations,[19] including 7 of the 14 countries that have used cluster bombs and 17 of the 34 countries that have produced them.[20]

The treaty was opposed by a number of countries that produce or stockpile significant quantities of cluster munitions, including China, Russia, the United States, India, Israel, Pakistan and Brazil.[12] The U.S. has acknowledged humanitarian concerns about the use of cluster munitions, but insisted that the proper venue for a discussion of cluster munitions was the forum attached to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, which includes all major military powers.[21] The U.S. has further stated that the development and introduction of "smart" cluster munitions, where each submunition contains its own targeting and guidance system as well as an auto-self-destruct mechanism, means that the problematic munitions are being moved away from in any case.[12] In 2006, Barack Obama voted to support a legislative measure to limit use of the bombs, while his general election opponent John McCain and his primary opponent Hillary Clinton both voted against it.[22] According to the Pentagon's 2008 policy, cluster munitions are actually humane weapons. "Because future adversaries will likely use civilian shields for military targets – for example by locating a military target on the roof of an occupied building – use of unitary weapons could result in more civilian casualties and damage than cluster munitions,” the policy claims. "Blanket elimination of cluster munitions is therefore unacceptable due not only to negative military consequences but also due to potential negative consequences for civilians."[23]

The treaty allows certain types of weapons with submunitions that do not have the indiscriminate area effects or pose the same unexploded ordnance risks as the prohibited weapons. These must contain no more than nine submunitions, and no submunition may weigh less than 4 kilograms (8.8 lb). Each submunition must have the capability to detect and engage a single target object and contain electronic self-destruct and self-deactivation devices.[8] Weapons containing submunitions which each weigh at least 20 kg (44 lb) are also excluded.[9] Australia, which supports the treaty, stated that the convention does not prohibit the SMArt 155 artillery shell that it has bought, which releases two self-guided self-destructing submunitions.[8]

In response to U.S. lobbying, and also concerns raised by diplomats from Australia, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom and others, the treaty includes a provision allowing signatory nations to cooperate militarily with non-signatory nations. This provision is designed to provide legal protections to the military personnel of signatory nations engaged in military operations with the U.S. or other non-signatory nations that might use cluster munitions.[24] David Miliband, who was Britain's foreign secretary under Labour, approved the use of a loophole to manoeuvre around the ban and allow the US to keep the munitions on British territory.[25]

Prior to the Dublin meeting, the United Kingdom was thought to be one of a group of nations in a pivotal role whereby their cooperation could make or break the treaty. In an unexpected turn of events shortly before the end of the conference, Prime Minister Gordon Brown declared that the U.K. would withdraw all of its cluster bombs from service.[26] This was done despite intense behind-the-scenes lobbying by the U.S. and objections by British government personnel who saw utility in the weapons.

The CCM was opened for signature at a ceremony at Oslo City Hall on 3–4 December 2008. By the end of the ceremony, 94 states had signed the treaty, including four (Ireland, the Holy See, Sierra Leone and Norway) which had also submitted their instruments of ratification. Signatories included 21 of the 27 member-states of the European Union and 18 of the 26 countries in NATO. Among the signatories were several states affected by cluster munitions, including Laos and Lebanon.

In November 2008, ahead of the signing Conference in Oslo, the European Parliament passed a resolution calling on all European Union governments to sign and ratify the Convention, as several EU countries had not yet declared their intention to do so.[27] Finland had declared it would not sign,[28] having just signed the Ottawa Treaty and replaced its mine arsenal largely with cluster munitions.

Entry into force[edit]

According to article 17 of the treaty, the convention entered into force "on the first day of the sixth month after the month in which the thirtieth instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession has been deposited".[3] Since the thirtieth ratification was deposited during February 2010, the convention entered into force on 1 August 2010; by that point, 38 nations had ratified the treaty.

As the convention entered into force, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke of "not only the world's collective revulsion at these abhorrent weapons, but also the power of collaboration among governments, civil society and the United Nations to change attitudes and policies on a threat faced by all humankind".[29] A spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross said "These weapons are a relic of the Cold War. They are a legacy that has to be eliminated because they increasingly won't work".[30] Nobel peace prize winner Jody Williams called the convention "the most important disarmament and humanitarian convention in over a decade".[30]

Anti-cluster munitions campaigners praised the rapid progress made in the adoption of the convention, and expressed hope that even non-signatories – such as the US, China and Russia – would be discouraged from using the weapons by the entry into force of the convention.[31] As one of the countries that did not ratify the treaty, the United States said that cluster bombs are a legal form of weapon, and that they had a "clear military utility in combat." It also said that compared to other types of weapons, cluster bombs are less harmful to civilians.[29]

Article 11 requires the first Meeting of States Parties to be held within 12 months of the entry into force. The first such meeting was held in Laos in November 2010.[32]

States Parties[edit]

Signatories to the Convention (blue) and States Parties (purple)

To date, there are 84 States Parties to the Convention.

State Party Signed Ratified or acceded Entered into force
 Afghanistan 3 December 2008 9 September 2011 1 March 2012
 Albania 3 December 2008 16 June 2009 1 August 2010
 Andorra 9 April 2013 1 October 2013
 Antigua and Barbuda 16 July 2010 23 August 2010 1 February 2011
 Australia 3 December 2008 8 October 2012 1 April 2012
 Austria 3 December 2008 2 April 2009 1 August 2010
 Belgium 3 December 2008 22 December 2009 1 August 2010
 Bolivia 3 December 2008 30 April 2013 1 October 2013
 Bosnia and Herzegovina 3 December 2008 7 September 2010 1 March 2011
 Botswana 3 December 2008 27 June 2011 1 December 2011
 Bulgaria 3 December 2008 6 April 2011 1 October 2011
 Burkina Faso 3 December 2008 16 February 2010 1 August 2010
 Burundi 3 December 2008 25 September 2009 1 August 2010
 Cameroon 15 December 2009 12 July 2012 1 January 2013
 Cape Verde 3 December 2008 19 October 2010 1 April 2011
 Chad 3 December 2008 26 March 2013 1 September 2013
 Chile 3 December 2008 16 December 2010 1 June 2011
 Comoros 3 December 2008 28 July 2010 1 January 2011
 Cook Islands 3 December 2008 23 August 2011 1 February 2012
 Costa Rica 3 December 2008 28 April 2011 1 October 2011
 Côte d'Ivoire 4 December 2008 12 March 2012 1 September 2012
 Croatia 3 December 2008 17 August 2009 1 August 2010
 Czech Republic 3 December 2008 22 September 2011 1 March 2012
 Denmark[A] 3 December 2008 2 February 2010 1 August 2010
 Dominican Republic 10 November 2009 20 December 2011 1 June 2012
 Ecuador 3 December 2008 11 May 2010 1 November 2010
 El Salvador 3 December 2008 10 January 2011 1 July 2011
 Fiji 3 December 2008 28 May 2010 1 November 2010
 France 3 December 2008 25 September 2009 1 August 2010
 Germany 3 December 2008 8 July 2009 1 August 2010
 Ghana 3 December 2008 3 February 2011 1 August 2011
 Grenada 29 June 2011 1 December 2011
 Guatemala 3 December 2008 3 November 2010 1 May 2011
 Guinea-Bissau 4 December 2008 29 November 2010 1 May 2011
 Holy See 3 December 2008 3 December 2008 1 August 2010
 Honduras 3 December 2008 21 March 2012 1 September 2012
 Hungary[33] 3 December 2008 3 July 2012 1 January 2013
 Iraq 12 November 2009 14 May 2013 1 November 2013
 Ireland 3 December 2008 3 December 2008 1 August 2010
 Italy 3 December 2008 21 September 2011 1 March 2012
 Japan 3 December 2008 14 July 2009 1 August 2010
 Laos 3 December 2008 18 March 2009 1 August 2010
 Lebanon 3 December 2008 5 November 2010 1 May 2011
 Lesotho 3 December 2008 28 May 2010 1 November 2010
 Liechtenstein 3 December 2008 4 March 2013 1 September 2013
 Lithuania 3 December 2008 24 March 2011 1 September 2011
 Luxembourg 3 December 2008 10 July 2009 1 August 2010
 Macedonia 3 December 2008 8 October 2009 1 August 2010
 Malawi 3 December 2008 7 October 2009 1 August 2010
 Mali 3 December 2008 30 January 2010 1 August 2010
 Malta 3 December 2008 24 September 2009 1 August 2010
 Mauritania 19 April 2010 1 February 2012 1 August 2012
 Mexico 3 December 2008 6 May 2009 1 August 2010
 Moldova 3 December 2008 16 February 2010 1 August 2010
 Monaco 3 December 2008 21 September 2010 1 March 2011
 Montenegro 3 December 2008 25 January 2010 1 August 2010
 Mozambique 3 December 2008 14 March 2011 1 September 2011
 Nauru 3 December 2008 4 February 2013 1 August 2013
 Netherlands[B] 3 December 2008 23 February 2011 1 August 2011
 New Zealand[C] 3 December 2008 22 December 2009 1 August 2010
 Nicaragua 3 December 2008 2 November 2009 1 August 2010
 Niger 3 December 2008 2 June 2009 1 August 2010
 Norway 3 December 2008 3 December 2008 1 August 2010
 Panama 3 December 2008 29 November 2010 1 May 2011
 Peru 3 December 2008 26 September 2012 1 March 2013
 Portugal 3 December 2008 9 March 2011 1 September 2011
 Saint Kitts and Nevis 13 September 2013 1 March 2014
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 23 September 2009 29 October 2010 1 April 2011
 Samoa 3 December 2008 28 April 2010 1 October 2010
 San Marino 3 December 2008 10 July 2009 1 August 2010
 Senegal 3 December 2008 3 August 2011 1 February 2012
 Seychelles 13 April 2010 20 May 2010 1 November 2010
 Sierra Leone 3 December 2008 3 December 2008 1 August 2010
 Slovenia 3 December 2008 19 August 2009 1 August 2010
 Spain 3 December 2008 17 June 2009 1 August 2010
 Swaziland 16 September 2011 1 March 2012
 Sweden 3 December 2008 23 April 2012 1 October 2012
  Switzerland 3 December 2008 17 July 2012 1 January 2013
 Togo 3 December 2008 22 June 2012 1 December 2012
 Trinidad and Tobago 21 September 2011 1 March 2012
 Tunisia 12 January 2009 28 September 2010 1 March 2011
 United Kingdom 3 December 2008 4 May 2010 1 November 2010
 Uruguay 3 December 2008 24 September 2009 1 August 2010
 Zambia 3 December 2008 12 August 2009 1 August 2010

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

A The Convention does not apply to the Faroe Islands.
B The Convention does not apply to Aruba, Curaçao, or Sint Maarten.[34]
C The Convention does not apply to Tokelau.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Convention on Cluster Munitions official website. Retrieved 18 February 2010.
  2. ^ a b Article 17 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Retrieved on 8 December 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d United Nations Treaty Collection: Convention on Cluster Munitions. Retrieved on 1 August 2010.
  4. ^ Article 22 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Retrieved on 8 December 2008.
  5. ^ Article 23 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Retrieved on 8 December 2008.
  6. ^ Baltimore Sun – Cluster-bomb ban U.S. opposes passes (actual passage)
  7. ^ Article 1 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Retrieved on 8 December 2008.
  8. ^ a b c "Fitzgibbon wants to keep SMArt cluster shells", Australia Broadcasting Corporation, 29 May 2008
  9. ^ a b Article 2 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Retrieved on 3 August 2010.
  10. ^ Vineeta Foundation. "The 2007 White House Cluster Bomb Hunt". 
  11. ^ Jeffrey Benner (28 May 1999). "The case against cluster bombs". Mother Jones. 
  12. ^ a b c "Britain Joins a Draft Treaty on Cluster Munitions ", The New York Times, 29 May 2008
  13. ^ "Haaretz.com". 
  14. ^ "46 Nations Push for Cluster Bomb Treaty", Associated Press via The Washington Post, 23 February 2007
  15. ^ "Towards a Convention on Cluster Munitions", Permanent Mission of Norway to the United Nations, 23 May 2008
  16. ^ Oslo Conference on Cluster Munitions, 22–23 February 2007: Declaration
  17. ^ Declaration of the Wellington conference on cluster munitions. Retrieved on 8 December 2008.
  18. ^ "Cluster bomb ban treaty approved", BBC News, 28 May 2008
  19. ^ "More than 100 countries adopt cluster bomb ban". AFP (Google News). 30 May 2008. Retrieved 30 May 2008. 
  20. ^ Mines Action Canada (2008). Who is banning cluster bombs? PDF. Retrieved on 8 December 2008.
  21. ^ "U.S. Cluster Munitions Policy": Briefing by Stephen D. Mull, U.S. Department of State Acting Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs, 21 May 2008
  22. ^ Elena Schor (28 January 2008). "Past holds key to Democratic future". The Guardian (London). 
  23. ^ Ackerman, Spencer (29 July 2010). "U.S. Ducks As Cluster Bomb Ban Takes Effect". Wired. 
  24. ^ "British turnabout key to cluster bomb ban", Los Angeles Times, 29 May 2008
  25. ^ Leigh, David; Evans, Rob (1 December 2010). "WikiLeaks cables: Secret deal let Americans sidestep cluster bomb ban". The Guardian (London). 
  26. ^ "Observers laud landmark cluster bomb ban", AFP, 29 May 2008
  27. ^ Cluster bombs: MEPs to press for signature of treaty ban last retrieved on 29 November 2008
  28. ^ Helsinki Times, 3 Nov. 2008: "Finland not to sign cluster munitions treaty"
  29. ^ a b "BBC News – Global cluster bomb ban comes into force". BBC Online. 1 August 2010. Retrieved 1 August 2010. 
  30. ^ a b Nebehay, Stephanie (29 July 2010). "US, major powers urged to join cluster munitions pact". Reuters. Retrieved 1 August 2010. 
  31. ^ "BBC News – Treaty enacted to ban cluster bombs". BBC Online. 1 August 2010. Retrieved 1 August 2010. 
  32. ^ "Convention on Cluster Munitions : First Meeting of States Parties (2010)". Retrieved 26 May 2011. 
  33. ^ HUNGARY RATIFIES CLUSTER BOMB BAN AND BECOMES 73RD STATE PARTY TO THE TREATY
  34. ^ "Detailpagina Verdragenbank: Verdrag inzake clustermunitie". Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 21 April 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2011. 

External links[edit]

Official

Non-governmental organisations