Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 25 June 2019

Summary: Signatory Kenya has taken few steps to ratify the convention. It has participated in some of the convention’s meetings, most recently in 2016. Kenya voted in favor of a key United Nations (UN) resolution on the convention in December 2018.

Kenya is not known to have produced or imported cluster munitions and has not indicated if it possesses any stocks. Kenya has denied an allegation that its air force used cluster munitions in 2016.


The Republic of Kenya signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008.

Kenya has expressed its intent to ratify the convention several times, but has not taken any steps to do so besides internal consultations and preparation of the ratification package. [1] In 2011, Kenya said it was undertaking consultations on the convention. [2] In 2009 and 2010, Kenya said the Attorney General’s office was preparing the ratification package. [3]

Kenya has not undertaken any specific national implementing legislation for the convention because, under its constitution, an international treaty automatically becomes part of domestic law once ratified. [4]

Kenya participated in the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions and worked to achieve a strong convention text during the formal negotiations in Dublin in May 2008. [5]

Kenya has participated in the convention’s annual meetings, most recently the Sixth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in September 2016. It attended the convention’s First Review Conference in 2015 and engaged in regional workshops on the convention, most recently in Kampala, Uganda in May 2017. [6]

In December 2018, Kenya voted in favor of a UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution that calls on states outside the Convention on Cluster Munitions to “join as soon as possible.” [7] It has voted in favor of the annual UNGA resolution supporting the convention since it was first introduced in 2015.

Kenya is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.

Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling

Kenya is not known to have ever produced cluster munitions.

In May 2016, Kenya denied an allegation that it used air-delivered cluster munitions in Somalia, which became a State Party to the convention on 1 March 2016. [8] A UN investigation found that air strikes by Kenyan forces in Somalia’s Gedo region on 15–23 January 2016 reportedly killed livestock and destroyed homes and water wells, but could not confirm if Kenya used cluster munitions in the attacks. The Monitor also could not conclusively determine on the basis of available evidence if Kenya used cluster munitions.

The Monitor is not aware of any other evidence or allegations of cluster munition use by Kenya.

Kenya has not indicated if it has imported and stockpiled cluster munitions. [9]

 [1] Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) meeting with Kenneth Okoki Dindi, Director of Prosecution, Kenyan Defense Forces, Geneva, 6 September 2016. In 2013, Kenya said that the ratification “is under consideration.” Statement of Kenya, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fourth Meeting of States Parties, Lusaka, 11 September 2013. In 2012, Kenya informed a regional meeting that the ratification was “ongoing.” Statement of Kenya, Accra Regional Conference on the Universalization of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Accra, 28 May 2012.

 [2] Statement of Kenya, Convention on Cluster Munitions Second Meeting of States Parties, Beirut, 14 September 2011.

 [3] CMC meeting with the Kenyan delegation, Convention on Cluster Munitions First Meeting of States Parties, Vientiane, 9–12 November 2010. Notes by the CMC; and CMC meeting with Salim Mohamed Salim, Second Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Kenya to the UN in New York, 14 October 2009. Notes by the CMC.

 [4] In 2012, Kenya said the 2010 constitution “provides that international treaties which Kenya has ratified form part of the national law.” Statement of Kenya, Convention on Cluster Munitions Third Meeting of States Parties, Oslo, 12 September 2012. Notes by the CMC.

 [5] For details on Kenya’s policy and practice regarding cluster munitions through early 2009, see Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 102–103.

 [6] Convention on Cluster Munitions Ratification Seminar, Kampala, 29–30 May 2017. See also, Norwegian People’s Aid, “Kampala hosts East African Community Countries on cluster bomb ban,” 21 May 2015.

 [7]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 73/54, 5 December 2018.

 [8] UN Security Council, “Report of the Secretary-General on Somalia (S/2016/430),” 9 May 2016, p. 10, para. 51. Somali media reported that cluster munitions were used in the Gedo region of Somalia in January 2016 and published photographs reportedly taken at the site of the attack that showed dead livestock and the remnants of United Kingdom-made BL755 cluster bombs and their submunitions. See, “Losses shelling forces arrested Gedo and Juba,” Calanka Media, 24 January 2016. See also, “Sawirro: Kenya Oo Qaaday Weerar Culus Oo Aar goosi Ah!!,” Raacdo, 24 January 2016.

 [9] Kenya is reported to possess Grad 122mm surface-to-surface rockets, but it is not known if these include versions with submunition payloads. International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance 2011 (London: Routledge, 2011), p. 429.