Non-signatory Sudan has expressed interest in the Convention on Cluster Munitions but has not taken any steps to accede to it. Sudan has participated as an observer in several meetings of the convention, most recently in November 2020. It voted in favor of a key United Nations (UN) resolution on the convention in December 2020.
There is no evidence to indicate that Sudan has produced or exported cluster munitions, but it has imported and stockpiled them. There have been no new reports or allegations of cluster munition use by Sudan since 2015.
The Republic of Sudan has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
Sudan has expressed interest in the convention, but has not taken any steps to accede. In November 2020, government officials reiterated that Sudan could consider joining the convention if neighboring countries also did so. In 2016, an official described “the regional security situation” as “unfavorable” for it to join the convention.
Sudan participated in the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions, and joined in the consensus adoption of the convention in Dublin in May 2008. At the convention’s Oslo Signing Conference in December 2008, Sudan pledged to sign as soon as it completed the internal process to do so.
Sudan has participated as an observer in meetings of the convention, most recently the first part of the convention’s Second Review Conference held virtually in November 2020.
In December 2020, Sudan voted in favor of a key UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution that called on states outside the Convention on Cluster Munitions to “join as soon as possible.” Sudan has voted in favor of the annual UNGA resolution promoting the convention since it was first introduced in 2015.
Sudan is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty and a signatory to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW). It signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on 22 July 2020.
Production, transfer, and stockpiling
There is no evidence that Sudan has produced or exported cluster munitions. However, Sudan has imported them and possesses a stockpile.
In 2016, a UN Panel of Experts reported “clear evidence” of “current possession by the Sudanese Air Force of cluster munitions.” In 2014, a UN Panel of Experts published photographs showing RBK-500 series cluster bombs at El Fasher Airport in North Darfur state, where Sudan’s armed forces had a forward operating base.
Jane’s Information Group reports that KMGU dispensers, which deploy submunitions, are also in service with the Sudanese 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 2020 or the first half of 2021. The last recorded use of cluster munitions by Sudan was in 2015.
Previous use in 2012–2015
Sudan has repeatedly denied using cluster munitions in the past, but there is strong evidence that it used them in 2012–2015 in Southern Kordofan province bordering South Sudan, during fighting with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North (SPLM-N). Several cluster munition incidents were recorded in Southern Kordofan in 2012–2015:
- At least 23 cluster bombs were dropped in Delami, Umdorein, and Alburam (Tobo) counties in 2015 according to Sudan Consortium, a civil society monitoring project.
- Remnants of RBK-500 cluster bombs containing AO-2.5 RT submunitions can be seen in a video taken after a government air attack on Kauda on 27 May 2015.
- RBK-500 cluster bombs containing AO-2.5 RT submunitions were used in Sudanese Air Force attacks on Tongoli village in Delami county on 6 March 2015, and Rajeefi village in Um Durein county in late February 2015, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).
- At least two RBK-500 cluster bombs were used by the Sudanese Air Force in Karigiyati in June or July 2014, according to the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS).
- Two cluster bombs were reportedly use in a Sudanese government aircraft attack on the village of Lado on 18 April 2013, according to Nuba Reports.
- An RBK-500 cluster bomb containing unexploded AO-2.5RT submunitions was sighted in Ongolo in the aftermath of Sudanese government air strikes on 15 April 2012, according to The Independent.
- Chinese-made Type-81 Dual-Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions (DPICM) were fired during a Sudanese government attack on Troji village on 29 February 2012.
At meetings of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Sudan has repeatedly denied evidence that its forces used cluster munitions. Sudanese military officials have also denied evidence of use. The government’s diplomatic representatives in Geneva have also vehemently denied Sudan’s use of cluster munitions. In November 2020, Sudan told States Parties that it has “contributed to refuting and clarifying all accusations against Sudan of using cluster munitions during the period from 2011 to 2014.”
This use of cluster munitions in Sudan has been widely condemned. In June 2015, a resolution unanimously adopted by the UN Security Council (UNSC) expressed concern “at evidence of possible government use of two cluster bombs near Kirigiyati in North Darfur.”
Other past use
Between 1995 and 2000, Sudanese government forces used air-dropped cluster munitions in southern Sudan, including Chilean-made PM-1 submunitions, according to numerous independent sources. Landmine Action photographed the remnants of a Rockeye-type cluster bomb with Chinese language external markings in Yei in October 2006. Additionally, clearance operators in Sudan have cleared various submunitions, including the Spanish-manufactured HESPIN 21, United States-produced M42 DPICM and Mk-118 (Rockeye), and Soviet-manufactured PTAB-1.5.
 In August 2010, State Minister to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Dr. Mutrif Siddiq, expressed Sudan’s intention to join the convention ahead of its First Meeting of States Parties in November 2010. See, “Sudan Joins Enforcement of Convention on Cluster Munitions,” Sudan Vision, 3 August 2010. In April 2010, the Chief of Staff of the Sudanese Armed Forces, Gen. Mohamed Abd al-Qadir, stated that Sudan was ready to join the convention. See, statement by Gen. Abd al-Qadir, Sudanese Armed Forces, Sudan Mine Action Day Celebration, Khartoum, 1 April 2010.
 Statement of Sudan, Convention on Cluster Munitions Second Review Conference, 25 November 2020. See also Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) meeting with Dr. Ahmed E Yousif, Victim Assistance Officer, National Mine Action Office, in Geneva, 8 April 2014; and 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, in Geneva, 5 September 2016.
 For details on Sudan’s policy and 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 participated in the convention’s meetings of States Parties in 2010–2017, the First Review Conference in Dubrovnik in September 2015, and intersessional meetings in 2011–2015.
 “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 75/62, 7 December 2020.
 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, in 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 (UNSC), “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: Jane’s Information Group, 2004), p. 846; and Colin King, ed., Jane’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal 2007–2008, CD-edition, 10 January 2008 (Surrey: Jane’s Information Group, 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.” See, “Sudan’s army denies using cluster munitions in South Kordofan,” Sudan Tribune, 28 May 2012.
 Sudan Consortium, “Human Rights Violations in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile: 2015 in Review,” 31 December 2015.
 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 07:30 on 27 May 2015, 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.” See, “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.
 UNSC, “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 a report by a network of citizen journalists: “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 Second Review Conference in 2020, Sudan characterized allegations of use as “baseless.” Statement of Sudan, Convention on Cluster Munitions Second Review Conference, 25 November 2020. Previously, at the convention’s First Review Conference in 2015, Sudan described evidence of use as inconclusive “accusations” and “false information that is biased against Sudan.” Statement of Sudan, Convention on Cluster Munitions First Review Conference, Dubrovnik, 7 September 2015.
 In 2015, army spokesperson Col. Alswarmy Khalid denied responsibility for reported cluster munition use and described evidence as “fabricated and baseless.” See, 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, 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.
 At the convention’s intersessional meetings in June 2015, more than two dozen states expressed concern at or condemned the new use of cluster munitions in Sudan, including Austria, Burundi, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, Ecuador, Ireland, New Zealand, and Norway. The UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and the CMC also condemned the use of cluster munitions in Sudan.
 The five permanent members of the UNSC 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.
 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.