Ten-Year Review: Non-signatory Cambodia has expressed interest in the convention, but has not taken any steps to join it. Cambodia has participated as an observer at meetings of the convention, but not since 2015. It was absent from the vote on a key annual United Nations (UN) resolution promoting the convention in December 2019.
Cambodia is not known to have produced, used, or exported cluster munitions, but it has acquired them. Cambodia has not shared information on the types and quantities of its stockpiled cluster munitions. Cambodia is contaminated by cluster bombs used by the United States (US) in the 1960s and 1970s. In 2011, non-signatory Thailand fired cluster munitions into Cambodian territory.
The Kingdom of Cambodia has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
Cambodia has shown interest in the convention, but has not taken any steps to join it, aside from holding stakeholder consultations in 2013–2014. Cambodia has given various reasons for not joining the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The Ministry of Defense has expressed concern at its capacity to destroy stockpiled cluster munitions under the convention and replenish defense capabilities accordingly. Cambodia has emphasized the need for its neighboring states to accede to the convention. Since 2015, Cambodia has commented less frequently on the matter of when it will accede to the convention.
Cambodia was an early, prominent, and influential supporter of the Oslo Process that produced the Convention on Cluster Munitions and advocated forcefully for the most comprehensive and immediate ban possible. It hosted the first regional forum on cluster munitions in Phnom Penh in March 2007. Cambodia joined in the consensus adoption of the convention at the end of the Dublin negotiations in May 2008.
Yet, despite this extensive and positive leadership role, it attended the Oslo Signing Conference in December 2008 only as an observer and its representative said that Cambodia could not sign the convention due to “recent security developments” and needed “more time” to study the implications of joining.
Cambodia participated as an observer in every meeting of the convention until the First Review Conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia in September 2015. Since then, it has been invited, but has not attended, any official meetings of the convention. However, it has attended regional workshops on the convention, such as one hosted by Lao PDR in Vientiane, in April 2019.
In December 2019, Cambodia was absent from the vote on a key UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution urging states outside the Convention on Cluster Munitions to “join as soon as possible.” Cambodia has never explained why it has been absent from the vote on this annual UNGA resolution promoting the convention since the resolution was first introduced in 2015.
Cambodia has condemned new use of cluster munitions.
The Cambodia Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Bombs continues to urge the government to approve the country’s accession to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
Cambodia is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is also party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).
Use, production, and transfer
Cambodia is not known to have used, produced, or exported cluster munitions.
The US used some 80,000 air-dropped cluster munitions containing 26 million submunitions on Cambodia in the 1960s and 1970s during the Vietnam War, mostly in the east and northeast of the country.
In June 2011, Thailand fired cluster munitions into Cambodian territory, killing two men and injuring seven. Afterwards, Cambodian officials told a meeting of the convention that, “we have refrained from employing cluster munitions in our response” to Thailand, “despite being confronted and threatened.”
Cambodia has not shared information on the types and quantities of cluster munitions that it stockpiles.
Cambodia possesses BM-21 Grad and RM-70 multi-barrel 122mm rocket launchers, according to standard international reference publications. Cambodian officials have sought clarification as to whether multi-barrel rocket launchers capable of firing a variety of warheads are banned under the convention. Such rockets are prohibited if they deliver a payload of explosive submunitions, but not if they fire unitary munitions.
In 2008, a defense official remarked that Cambodia has “missile launchers that use cluster munitions that weigh more than 20kg”, in addition to cluster munitions weighing 250kg left over from the 1980s. It is unclear if this was a reference to the total weight of the warhead or the individual submunitions contained within it.
 In April 2014, an official said the convention’s “lack of clearly defined definition of cluster munitions” requires Cambodia to undertake “a much more vigorous study among key national technical stakeholders…to explore technical matters and to seek a possible consensus.” The official said Cambodia would consider accession to the convention when it “concludes all relevant assessments.” Statement of Cambodia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 7 April 2014. See also, statement of Cambodia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fourth Meeting of States Parties, Lusaka, 10 September 2013.
 Peter Sombor, “Cambodia Still Undecided About Signing Cluster Munitions Treaty,” The Cambodia Daily, 9 September 2013; and The Monitor archives, ‘‘Cambodia: Cluster Munition Ban Policy,’’ updated 21 October 2010.
 In March 2017, a Cambodian official told the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) that the government views the convention positively and hopes to join in the future. Meeting of Serei Kosal, 1st Vice President, Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA), with Megan Burke, Director, ICBL-CMC. Notes by the CMC. See also, CMAA , “H.E. Senior Minister Serei Kosal, CMAA’s 1st Vice President met Ms. Megan Burke, Director of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines,” 14 March 2017.
 For details on Cambodia’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. 193–195.
 Cambodia participated in Meetings of States Parties of the convention until 2014 and attended the First Review Conference in 2015 as well as intersessional meetings in Geneva in 2011–2015.
 Regional Seminar on Landmines, Cluster Munitions and Explosive Remnants of War, Vientiane, Lao DPR, 29–30 April 2019. See, “Experts Discuss Landmine-related Risks At A Regional Seminar,” Lao News Agency, 2 May 2019.
 “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 74/62, 12 December 2019.
 See, Facebook page of the Cambodia Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Bombs.
 At the convention’s first intersessional meetings in 2011, Cambodia describe its accession as “just a matter of time.” Statement of Cambodia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 27 June 2011.
 International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance 2011 (London: Routledge, 2011), p. 229; and Colin King, ed., Jane’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal 2008, CD-edition, 3 December 2007 (Surrey: Jane’s Information Group, 2008).
 Letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen from Steve Goose, CMC, 30 November 2011.
 Weapons with submunitions that weigh more than 20kg each are not defined as cluster munitions by the Convention on Cluster Munitions and are thus not prohibited. According to Article 2.2: “‘Cluster munition’ means a conventional munition that is designed to disperse or release explosive submunitions each weighing less than 20 kilograms, and includes those explosive submunitions.”