Summary: Non-signatory Sudan has expressed interest in joining the convention but has not taken any tangible steps to accede. Sudan has participated as an observer in almost every meeting of the convention, most recently in September 2017, and voted in favor of a key United Nations (UN) resolution on the convention in December 2017.
There is no evidence to indicate that Sudan has produced or exported cluster munitions, but it has imported and stockpiles them. Sudan sporadically used cluster bombs in Southern Kordofan province in 2012–2015, but the Monitor is unaware of any reports or allegations of cluster munition use since then. Government and military officials from Sudan have denied the country possesses and uses cluster munitions.
The Republic of Sudan has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
Sudan has expressed its desire to join the convention since 2010 but has not taken any steps towards accession. It did not comment on its position on accession during the convention’s Seventh Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in September 2017.
Sudanese officials have indicated that Sudan may only join “if bordering countries follow suit.” In 2016, an official said there is political will for accession to the convention and Sudan is working to accede, but described “the regional security situation” as “unfavorable” for acceding at this time.
Sudan participated in the Oslo Process that produced the Convention on Cluster Munitions and joined in the consensus adoption of the convention in Dublin in May 2008. At the convention’s Signing Conference in Oslo in December 2008, Sudan expressed its intent to sign as soon as possible after completing logistical and other measures.
Sudan has participated as an observer in almost every Meeting of States Parties of the convention, including the Seventh Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in September 2017. It attended the convention’s First Review Conference in 2015 and intersessional meetings in 2011–2015.
In December 2017, Sudan voted in favor of a key UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution that calls on states outside the Convention on Cluster Munitions to “join as soon as possible.” It voted in favor of previous UNGA resolutions promoting implementation and universalization of the convention in 2015 and 2016.
Sudan is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty.
Sudan signed the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) on 10 April 1981, but never ratified any of the annexed protocols.
Production, transfer, and stockpiling
There is no evidence that Sudan produced or exported cluster munitions, but it has imported them and maintains a stockpile.
A 2016 report by a UN Panel of Experts found “clear evidence” of “current possession by the Sudanese Air Force of cluster munitions.” Another UN Panel of Experts report published photographs taken in March 2013 that show several RBK-500 series cluster bombs lying in the open alongsideother aviation bombs at El Fasher airport in North Darfur state, where Sudan’s armed forces maintain a forward operating base.
Jane’s Information Group reports that KMGU dispensers, which deploy submunitions, are also in service with the country’s air force. Sudan also possesses Grad, Egyptian-produced Sakr, and Chinese-produced Type-81 122mm surface-to-surface rockets, but it is not known if these include versions with submunition payloads.
There were no reports or allegations of Sudanese government forces using cluster munitions in 2017 or the first half of 2018.
Sudan has repeatedly denied using cluster munitions, but there is strong evidence that it has used the weapon as recently as 2015, as shown in the following list of cluster munition use in Southern Kordofan province bordering South Sudan in 2012–2015. The province has experienced fighting between Sudanese armed forces and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army North (SPLM-N) since mid-2011, when South Sudan became an independent state.
Cluster munition incidents in Southern Kordofan, 2012–2015
According to Sudan Consortium, a civil society monitoring project, at least 23 cluster bombs were dropped in Delami, Umdorein, and Alburam (Tobo) counties in 2015.
Video taken after a government air attack on the town of Kauda on 27 May 2015 shows remnants of RBK-500 cluster bombs containing AO-2.5 RT submunitions.
- Human Rights Watch (HRW) has reported evidence that the Sudanese air force used the same type of cluster bombs in attacks on Tongoli village in Delami county on 6 March 2015 and Rajeefi village in Um Durein county in late February 2015.
- Sudanese air force used at least two RBK-500 cluster bombs in Karigiyati in June or July 2014 according to the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS).
- Nuba Reports alleged that Sudanese government aircraft used two cluster bombs in an attack on the village of Lado on 18 April 2013.
- According to The Independent, government aircraft used an RBK-500 cluster bomb containing unexploded AO-2.5RT submunitions in Ongolo on 15 April 2012.
- Chinese Type-81 dual-purpose improved conventional munitions (DPICM) were fired during a government of Sudan attack on Troji village on 29 February 2012.
The reported use of cluster munitions in Sudan has been widely condemned by states, the UN, ICRC, and Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC). In June 2015, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution “expressing concern at evidence of possible government use of two cluster bombs near Kirigiyati in North Darfur.”
Sudan has repeatedly denied and criticized evidence that its forces have used cluster munitions. That consistent stance is a good example of the growing norm stigmatizing the weapons. At the convention’s First Review Conference in 2015, it described evidence of use as inconclusive “accusations” and “false information that is biased against Sudan.” Sudanese army officials have also denied evidence of use. Geneva-based representatives also denied Sudan government use of cluster munitions.
Use before 2010
Numerous independent sources have documented the presence of cluster munitions remnants that indicate Sudanese government forces sporadically used air-dropped cluster munitions in southern Sudan between 1995 and 2000, including Chilean-made PM-1 submunitions. Landmine Action photographed a Rockeye-type cluster bomb with Chinese language external markings in Yei in October 2006. Additionally, clearance personnel in Sudan have identified a variety of submunitions, including the Spanish-manufactured HESPIN 21, United States-produced M42 DPICM and Mk-118 (Rockeye), and Soviet-manufactured PTAB-1.5.
Since March 2015, Sudan has participated in a Saudi Arabia-led joint military operation in Yemen against Houthi forces, also known as Ansar Allah, which has used cluster munitions. Sudan has not commented on evidence that the Saudi-led coalition has used cluster munitions in Yemen, while a December 2016 statement by the coalition forces did not deny the use of cluster munitions and argued that “international law does not ban their use.”
 In August 2010, State Minister to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Dr. Mutrif Siddiq, expressed Sudan’s intent to join the convention by its First Meeting of States Parties in November 2010. See, “Sudan Joins Enforcement of Convention on Cluster Munitions,” Sudan Vision (Khartoum), 3 August 2010. In April 2010, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Sudan, Gen. Mohamed Abd al-Qadir, stated that Sudan was ready to join the convention. See, statement by Gen. Abd al-Qadir, Armed Forces of Sudan, Sudan Mine Action Day Celebration, Khartoum, 1 April 2010.
 Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) meeting with Dr. Ahmed E Yousif, Victim Assistance Officer, National Mine Action Office, Geneva, 8 April 2014. Previously, in 2012, an official said that the government of Sudan was consulting internally as well as with neighboring countries on the matter of joining the convention. Statement of Sudan, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 19 April 2012.
 ICBL-CMC meeting with Gamal Omer Mohamed, Head of Delegation of Sudan to the Convention on Cluster Munitions Sixth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 5 September 2016.
 For details on Sudan’s policyand practice regarding cluster munitions through early 2009, see Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 243–244.
 Statement of Sudan, Convention on Cluster Munitions Signing Conference, Oslo, 3 December 2008. Notes by Landmine Action. Officials told the CMC that Sudan intended to sign, but the Minister of Foreign Affairs was unexpectedly unable to come and no one else had authorization to sign.
 Sudan attended the convention’s intersessional meetings in Geneva in 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015, but not in 2013.
 “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 72/54, 4 December 2017.
 A mine action official reiterated in 2014 that Sudan does not produce, stockpile, or use cluster munitions. CMC meeting with Dr. Yousif, National Mine Action Office, Geneva, 8 April 2014.
 The report states that the UN panel “is certain that at least four RBK-500 cluster bombs were deployed on the weapon loading area at the Nyala forward operating base of the Air Force” in April 2015. UN Security Council, “Final report of the Panel of Experts on the Sudan established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005),” S/2016/805, 22 September 2016, pp. 3 and 194.
 The panel reported that it “observed fluctuating stock levels at the ammunition storage area, indicative of the routine use (for either operations or training) and resupply of ammunition into Darfur by the national armed forces. The report stated that the “Panel has evidence of previous use of cluster munitions in Darfur. Render-safe operations have taken place on such munitions as recently as 2012. The Panel does not, however, have evidence of the exact dates of use of the munitions. It continues to investigate.” UN Security Council, “Report of the Panel of Experts on the Sudan established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005),” S/2014/87, 11 February 2014, pp. 23 and 147.
 Robert Hewson, ed., Jane’s Air Launched Weapons, Issue 44 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2004), p. 846; and Colin King, ed., Jane’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal 2007–2008, CD-edition, 10 January 2008 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2008).
 International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance 2011 (London: Routledge, 2011), p. 443.
 In 2010, the Ministry of Defense stated that Sudan does not possess any stockpiles of cluster munitions, does not produce the weapon, and has “never used cluster munitions, not even in the wars that have occurred in the south and east of the country and in Darfur.” Statement of Sudan, Convention on Cluster Munitions First Meeting of States Parties, Vientiane, 10 November 2010. Notes by the CMC. In April 2010, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Sudan stated that Sudan does not possess cluster munitions. Statement by Gen. al-Qadir, Armed Forces of Sudan, Sudan Mine Action Day Celebration, Khartoum, 1 April 2010. See also, “Sudan armed forces deny possession of cluster bombs,” BBC Monitoring Middle East (English), 2 April 2010, citing original source as Akhir Lahzah (Khartoum newspaper in Arabic), 2 April 2010. In May 2012, a spokesperson for Sudan’s armed forces, Col. al-Sawarmi Khalid Sa‘ad, was quoted in the local media stating with respect to cluster munitions: “We never use them in our military operations and we don’t have them to begin with.” “Sudan’s army denies using cluster munitions in South Kordofan,” Sudan Tribune (Khartoum), 28 May 2012.
 Sudan Consortium, “Human Rights Violations in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile: 2015 in Review,” June 2016.
 Nuba Reports is a network of local journalists in the Nuba Mountains where Southern Kordofan is located. Its report described Kauda as “the rebel capital” and base for the SPLM-N, the political opposition movement in Southern Kordofan. According to Nuba Reports, the Sudanese air force dropped four cluster bombs on Kauda at around 7:30am, but none exploded on impact, leaving failed munitions and unexploded submunitions. Two days later SPLM-N soldiers removed and “rolled the bomblets into a hole, covered them with dirt, and marked them with thorn bushes.” “Cluster bombs hit homes in May,” Nuba Reports, 15 June 2015.
 HRW documented remnants of the RBK-500 cluster bombs containing AO-2.5 RT submunitions, which also failed to function as intended. HRW press release, “Sudan: Cluster Bombs Used in Nuba Mountain,” 15 April 2015.
 UN Security Council, “Final report of the Panel of Experts on the Sudan established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005),” S/2016/805, 22 September 2016, pp. 3 and 194.
 According to the report “some of the internal explosives in the cluster bombs did not explode” and were scattered in the village. Nuba Reports, 22 April 2013.
 Aris Roussinos, “In a Sudanese field, cluster bomb evidence proves just how deadly this war has become,” The Independent, 24 May 2012.
 At the convention’s intersessional meetings in June 2015, more than two-dozen states expressed concern at or condemned new use of cluster munitions in Sudan, including Austria, Burundi, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, Ecuador, Ireland, New Zealand, and Norway. The UN, the ICRC, and the CMC also condemned the use of cluster munitions in Sudan.
 The five permanent members of the UN Security Council voted for the resolution as did non-permanent members Angola, Chad, Chile, Jordan, Lithuania, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Spain, and Venezuela. UNSC Resolution 2228, 29 June 2015.
 In 2015, Army spokesperson Col. Alswarmy Khalid denied responsibility for reported cluster munition use and described evidence as “fabricated and baseless.”Mohammed Amin, “Sudan denies using cluster bombs in war areas,” Anaduka Agency, 17 April 2015; and Bassem Abo Alabass Mohammed, “Sudan Used Cluster Bombs in Rebel-Held Mountains, Group Says,” Bloomberg News, 16 April 2015.
 CMC meeting with Khalid Musa Dafalla, Minister Plenipotentiary, Permanent Mission of Sudan to the UN in Geneva, Geneva, 26 May 2015. In an April 2015 letter, the CMC called on Sudan to stop using cluster munitions and accede to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Letter from the CMC, to President Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir of Sudan, 17 April 2015.
 Virgil Wiebe and Titus Peachey, “Clusters of Death: The Mennonite Central Committee Cluster Bomb Report,” Ch. 4, July 2000.
 Handicap International, Circle of Impact: The Fatal Footprint of Cluster Munitions on People and Communities (Brussels: HI, May 2007), p. 55.
 “International law does not ban the use of cluster munitions. Some States have undertaken a commitment to refrain from using cluster munitions by becoming party to the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions. Neither the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia nor its Coalition partners are State Parties to the 2008 Convention, and accordingly, the Coalition’s use of cluster munitions does not violate the obligations of these States under international law.” See, “Coalition Forces supporting legitimacy in Yemen confirm that all Coalition countries aren't members to the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” Saudi Press Agency, 19 December 2016.