Cluster Munition Monitor 2010


Cluster bomb – Air-dropped cluster munition.

Cluster munition – According to the Convention on Cluster Munitions a cluster munition is “A conventional munition that is designed to disperse or release explosive submunitions each weighing less than 20 kilograms, and includes those submunitions.” Cluster munitions consist of containers and submunitions. Launched from the ground or air, the containers open and disperse submunitions (bomblets) over a wide area. Submunitions are typically designed to pierce armor, kill personnel, or both.

Cluster munition remnant – The Convention on Cluster Munitions defines “cluster munition remnants” as “failed cluster munitions, abandoned cluster munitions, unexploded submunitions and unexploded bomblets.”

Convention on Cluster Munitions – An international convention adopted in May 2008 and opened for signature in December 2008. The convention prohibits the use, production, stockpiling, and transfer of cluster munitions, requires stockpile destruction, clearance, and victim assistance.

Convention on Conventional Weapons – The 1980 Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects, commonly referred to as the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), aims to place prohibitions or restrictions on the use of conventional weapons about which there is widespread concern. It includes Protocol V on explosive remnants of war.

Dual purpose improved conventional munition – A type of cluster munition which can be used against both personnel and material targets, including armor.

Explosive remnants of war – Under Protocol V to the Convention on Conventional Weapons, explosive remnants of war are defined as unexploded ordnance and abandoned explosive ordnance. Mines are explicitly excluded from the definition.

Interoperability – In relation to Article 21 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions interoperability refers to joint military operations with states not party to the convention that might engage in activities prohibited to a State Party.

Non-state armed groups – For the Monitor’s purposes, non-state armed groups include organizations carrying out armed rebellion or insurrection, as well as a broader range of non-state entities, such as criminal gangs and state-supported proxy forces.

Oslo Process – The diplomatic process undertaken from 2006–2008 that led to the negotiation, adoption, and signing of the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Self-destruct mechanism – Under the Convention on Cluster Munitions an “incorporated automatically-functioning mechanism which is in addition to the primary initiating mechanism of the munition and which secures the destruction of the munition into which it is incorporated.”

Self-deactivating – Under the Convention on Cluster Munitions, automatically rendering a munition inoperable by making an essential component (for example a battery) non-functional.

Submunition – Any munition that, to perform its task, separates from a parent munition (cluster munition). When air-dropped, submunitions are often called “bomblets.” When ground-launched, they are sometimes called “grenades.”

Unexploded cluster munitions or unexploded bomblet – Submunitions that have failed to explode as intended, becoming unexploded ordnance.

Unexploded ordnance – Unexploded ordnance (UXO) refers to munitions that were designed to explode but for some reason failed to detonate; unexploded submunitions are often known as “duds.”

Victim – According to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, “all persons who have been killed or suffered physical or psychological injury, economic loss, social marginalisation or substantial impairment of the realisation of their rights caused by the use of cluster munitions. They include those persons directly impacted by cluster munitions as well as their affected families and communities.”

Abbreviations and Acronyms


Action On Armed Violence


cluster bomb unit


2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions


1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons


Conference on Disarmament


Cluster Munition Coalition


dual purpose improved conventional munition


explosive remnants of war


CCW Group of Governmental Experts


Human Rights Watch


International Campaign to Ban Landmines


International Committee of the Red Cross


non-governmental organization


non-state armed group


United Nations


United Nations Development Programme


unexploded ordnance


Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom