Convention on Cluster Munitions
|Drafted||19–30 May 2008 in Dublin|
|Signed||3 December 2008|
|Effective||1 August 2010|
|Condition||6 months after 30 ratifications|
|Languages||Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish|
|Convention on Cluster Munitions at Wikisource|
The Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) is an international treaty that prohibits all use, transfer, production, and stockpiling of cluster bombs, a type of explosive weapon which scatters submunitions ("bomblets") over an area. Additionally, the Convention establishes a framework to support victim assistance, clearance of contaminated sites, risk reduction education, and stockpile destruction. The convention was adopted on 30 May 2008 in Dublin, 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. As of July 2021, a total of 123 States have joined the Convention – 110 States Parties and 13 Signatories.
Countries that ratify the convention will be obliged "never under any circumstances to":
(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. Weapons containing submunitions which all individually weigh at least 20 kg (44 lb) are also excluded. 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.
The impetus for the treaty, like that of the 1997 Ottawa Treaty to limit 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. 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. 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. Norway organized the independent Oslo process after discussions at the traditional disarmament forum in Geneva fell through in November 2006.
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.
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.
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. Its text was formally adopted on 30 May 2008 by 107 nations, including 7 of the 14 countries that have used cluster bombs and 17 of the 34 countries that have produced them.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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."
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. Weapons containing submunitions which each weigh at least 20 kg (44 lb) are also excluded. 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.
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. 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.
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 United Kingdom would withdraw all of its cluster bombs from service. 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. Finland had declared it would not sign, having just signed the Ottawa Treaty and replaced its mine arsenal largely with cluster munitions.
Entry into force
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". 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". 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". Nobel peace prize winner Jody Williams called the convention "the most important disarmament and humanitarian convention in over a decade".
Anti-cluster munitions campaigners praised the rapid progress made in the adoption of the convention, and expressed hope that even non-signatories – such as China, North Korea, Russia, and the US – would be discouraged from using the weapons by the entry into force of the convention. 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.
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. There is a President, currently Swiss ambassador Félix Baumann.
To date, the United States and Russia have not signed this convention.
As of July 2021, there are 110 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 2013|
|Austria||3 December 2008||2 April 2009||1 August 2010|
|Belgium||3 December 2008||22 December 2009||1 August 2010|
|Belize||2 September 2014||2 September 2014|
|Benin||3 December 2008||10 July 2017||1 January 2018|
|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|
|Cabo Verde||3 December 2008||19 October 2010||1 April 2011|
|Cameroon||15 December 2009||12 July 2012||1 January 2013|
|Canada||3 December 2008||16 March 2015||1 September 2015|
|Chad||3 December 2008||26 March 2013||1 September 2013|
|Chile||3 December 2008||16 December 2010||1 June 2011|
|Colombia||3 December 2008||10 September 2015||1 March 2016|
|Comoros||3 December 2008||28 July 2010||1 January 2011|
|Republic of the Congo||3 December 2008||2 September 2014||1 March 2015|
|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|
|Cuba||6 April 2016||1 October 2016|
|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|
|Eswatini||16 September 2011||1 March 2012|
|Fiji||3 December 2008||28 May 2010||1 November 2010|
|France||3 December 2008||25 September 2009||1 August 2010|
|Gambia||3 December 2008||11 December 2018||1 June 2019|
|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||3 December 2008||21 October 2014||1 April 2015|
|Guinea-Bissau||4 December 2008||29 November 2010||1 May 2011|
|Guyana||31 October 2014||1 April 2015|
|Holy See||3 December 2008||3 December 2008||1 August 2010|
|Honduras||3 December 2008||21 March 2012||1 September 2012|
|Hungary||3 December 2008||3 July 2012||1 January 2013|
|Iceland||12 November 2009||31 August 2015||1 February 2016|
|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||24 March 2011|
|Luxembourg||3 December 2008||10 July 2009||1 August 2010|
|North Macedonia||3 December 2008||8 October 2009||1 August 2010|
|Madagascar||3 December 2008||20 May 2017||1 November 2017|
|Malawi||3 December 2008||7 October 2009||1 August 2010|
|Maldives||27 September 2019||1 March 2020|
|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|
|Mauritius||1 October 2015||1 April 2016|
|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|
|Namibia||3 December 2008||31 August 2018||1 February 2019|
|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|
|Niue||6 August 2020||1 February 2021|
|Niger||3 December 2008||2 June 2009||1 August 2010|
|Norway||3 December 2008||3 December 2008||3 December 2008|
|Palau||3 December 2008||19 April 2016||1 October 2016|
|State of Palestine||2 January 2015||1 July 2015|
|Panama||3 December 2008||29 November 2010||1 May 2011|
|Paraguay||3 December 2008||12 March 2015||1 September 2015|
|Peru||3 December 2008||26 September 2012||1 March 2013|
|Philippines||3 December 2008||3 January 2019||3 July 2019|
|Portugal||3 December 2008||9 March 2011||1 September 2011|
|Romania||1 March 2021||15 March 2021||29 March 2021|
|Rwanda||3 December 2008||25 August 2015||1 February 2016|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||13 September 2013||1 March 2014|
|Saint Lucia||15 September 2020|
|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|
|Sao Tome and Principe||3 December 2008||27 January 2020||1 July 2020|
|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|
|Slovakia||24 July 2015||1 January 2016|
|Slovenia||3 December 2008||19 August 2009||1 August 2010|
|Somalia||3 December 2008||30 September 2015||1 March 2016|
|South Africa||3 December 2008||28 May 2015||1 November 2015|
|Spain||3 December 2008||17 June 2009||1 August 2010|
|Sri Lanka||1 March 2018||1 September 2018|
|Sweden||3 December 2008||23 April 2012||1 October 2012|
|Switzerland||3 December 2008||17 July 2012||17 July 2012|
|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|
Another 16 states have signed, but not ratified the convention.
|Angola||3 December 2008|
|Brunei Darussalam||22 October 2020|
|Central African Republic||3 December 2008|
|Cyprus||23 September 2009|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo||18 March 2009|
|Djibouti||30 July 2010|
|Haiti||28 October 2009|
|Indonesia||3 December 2008|
|Jamaica||12 June 2009|
|Kenya||3 December 2008|
|Liberia||3 December 2008|
|Namibia||3 December 2008|
|Nigeria||12 June 2009|
|Tanzania||3 December 2008|
|Uganda||3 December 2008|
- A The Convention does not apply to the Faroe Islands.
- B The Convention does not apply to Aruba, Curaçao, or Sint Maarten.
- C The Convention does not apply to Tokelau.
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- Pending formal entry into force, the State provisionally applied the Convention as of this date.
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- Convention on Cluster Munitions—full text, articles, State parties and signatories
- Procedural history and related documents on the Convention on Cluster Munitions in the Historic Archives of the United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law
- clusterconvention.org—official website
- signatures and ratifications (United Nations treaty collection)
- Dublin Diplomatic Conference website
- Cluster munitions and international humanitarian law, ICRC
- Cluster Munition Coalition
- Ban Advocates—voices from affected communities
- People's Treaty—petition in support of the convention
- MAG (Mines Advisory Group)