Cluster Munition Monitor 2023

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 02 September 2023

Introduction

As this report was being finalized, the United States (US) announced that it would transfer a portion of its stockpiled cluster munitions to Ukraine for use in the war with Russia. Since Russia’s all-out invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, Russian forces have used cluster munitions extensively, causing civilian casualties, damaging civilian infrastructure, and contaminating agricultural land. Ukrainian forces have also used cluster munitions in the conflict, resulting in civilian deaths and injuries.

The unexpected and controversial transfer attracted global media coverage, sparked public outcry, and triggered congressional and parliamentary debates. It has been criticized by world leaders and officials.

This visceral reaction demonstrates how deeply cluster munitions have been stigmatized, especially over the past 15 years since the Convention on Cluster Munitions was adopted in Dublin, Ireland on 30 May 2008.

The response shows how there is now much greater awareness and understanding of the two-fold dangers posed by cluster munitions. Delivered from aircraft or fired in rockets, missiles, and artillery projectiles, cluster munitions open in the air to disperse multiple submunitions over a wide area and their impact can be devastating when used in civilian areas. Moreover, many submunitions fail to detonate as designed and pose a threat long after conflict ends.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions provides a comprehensive framework for eradicating these weapons. It prohibits any use, production, stockpiling, and transfer of cluster munitions under any circumstances. The convention requires the destruction of cluster munition stocks, clearance of areas contaminated by cluster munition remnants, and assistance to victims of these weapons.

The convention entered into force on 1 August 2010 and is in good standing, with a total of 112 States Parties and 12 signatories.[1] Nigeria ratified the convention during the reporting period, while South Sudan acceded to it on 3 August 2023.

There have been no confirmed reports or allegations of new use, production, or transfers of cluster munitions by any State Party since the convention was adopted. Under the convention, a collective total of nearly 1.5 million cluster munitions and more than 179 million submunitions have now been destroyed, representing 99% of the stocks once held by States Parties.

Bulgaria completed the destruction of its stockpile in June 2023, while Peru and Slovakia are making steady progress in their ongoing destruction of cluster munition stocks. These three States Parties collectively destroyed a total of at least 4,166 cluster munitions and 134,598 submunitions during 2022 and the first half of 2023.

The convention is not without implementation challenges. It is unclear if South Africa will meet its 1 November 2023 stockpile destruction deadline as it has not destroyed any cluster munitions in more than a decade. The pace of national implementation legislation has slowed, with no new laws enacted during 2022 or the first half of 2023. Compliance with the convention’s annual transparency reporting requirement under Article 7 has been sporadic, while eight States Parties still have not provided their initial reports.

Such challenges show the need for continued effort by and collaboration between the convention’s community of States Parties and its Implementation Support Unit (ISU), as well as United Nations (UN) agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

The greatest problems facing the international community working to eradicate cluster munitions lie outside the convention, in states that refuse to join it.

During the reporting period (August 2022–July 2023), cluster munitions were used in Ukraine by both Russian and Ukrainian forces, while new use was also recorded in Myanmar and Syria. Russia and the US continue to invest in the development of new cluster munitions, while evidence points to the apparent domestic production of a cluster bomb in Myanmar.

It is clear that the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) is needed now, more than ever. Co-founded 20 years ago and launched in The Hague in November 2003 by 85 NGOs from nearly 50 countries, the CMC aims to provide a coordinated global civil society response to the numerous problems created by cluster munitions.

This ban policy overview covers the second half of 2022 and the first half of 2023. The findings are drawn from detailed country profiles, which are available on the Monitor website.[2]

Universalization

The Convention on Cluster Munitions requires its States Parties to encourage other states to ratify, accept, approve, or accede to the convention, with the goal of attracting adherence by all.[3]

Accessions

Since the convention entered into force in August 2010, states can no longer sign it, but must join through a one-step process known as accession.[4]

During the reporting period, South Sudan acceded to the convention on 3 August 2023, after the National Assembly approved a proposal to accede on 9 May 2023, which was signed into law by President Salva Kiir Mayardit. Previously, Saint Lucia acceded to the convention in September 2020.

Convention on Cluster Munitions membership by regional or security body[5]

Regional body

Support (%)

Support (number of member states)

Non-signatories to the convention

African Union (AU)

81%

44 of 54

Algeria, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Zimbabwe

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

30%

3 of 10

Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam

European Union (EU)

78%

21 of 27

Estonia, Finland, Greece, Latvia, Poland, Romania

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

77%

24 of 31

Estonia, Finland, Greece, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Türkiye, US

Organization of American States (OAS)

77%

27 of 35

Argentina,Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Dominica, Suriname, US, Venezuela

Pacific Islands Forum (PIF)

56%

10 of 18

Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu

 

Ratifications

During the reporting period, Nigeria ratified the convention on 28 February 2023, becoming the 111th State Party. This was the convention’s first ratification since São Tomé and Príncipe did so in January 2020.

Of the 12 signatories still to ratify the convention, eight are in Sub-Saharan Africa, two are in the Caribbean, one is from Europe, and one is from Asia.[6]

Signatories to the Convention on Cluster Munitions

Angola

Central African Republic

Cyprus

DRC

Djibouti

Haiti

Indonesia

Jamaica

Kenya

Liberia

Tanzania

Uganda

 

The vast majority of signatories have ultimately followed through on their pledge to ratify the convention, though it is clear that the pace of ratifications has slowed significantly.[7]

Most of the remaining signatories do not appear to have referred requests to ratify the convention to their respective parliaments for consideration and approval. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) said in August 2022 that its delay in ratifying the convention was “more a procedural technical matter than one of political will,” and indicated that legislative approval will again be pursued in order to complete the ratification.[8]

Meetings on Cluster Munitions

The convention’s Tenth Meeting of States Parties took place at the UN in Geneva from 30 August to 2 September 2022, under the presidency of Ambassador Aidan Liddle, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom (UK) to the Conference on Disarmament. A total of 96 countries attended the meeting—74 States Parties, eight signatories, and 14 non-signatories—in addition to UN agencies, the ICRC, and the CMC.[9]

The meeting took stock of the implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and progress made since the Second Review Conference held in 2020–2021, which adopted the 50-point Lausanne Action Plan to guide the convention’s work over the period 2021–2026.[10] At the conclusion of the Tenth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva, States Parties adopted a final report condemning the use of cluster munitions as follows:

"The Meeting underscored the obligation of States Parties never under any circumstances to use cluster munitions and, in accordance with the object and provisions of the Convention, condemned any use of cluster munitions by any actor. In this connection the Meeting expressed its grave concern at the increase in civilian casualties and the humanitarian impact resulting from the repeated and well-documented use of cluster munitions since the Second Review Conference. This grave concern applies in particular to the use of cluster munitions in Ukraine."[11]

The Convention on Cluster Munitions remains the sole international instrument to eliminate these weapons and the unacceptable harm they cause. During the reporting period there were no formal proposals for the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) to consider cluster munitions again, after its failure in 2011 to adopt a new protocol that aimed to legitimize them.

Ambassador Abdul-Karim Hashim Mostafa, Permanent Representative of Iraq to the UN in Geneva, has been designated as president of the convention’s Eleventh Meeting of States Parties, to be held at the UN in Geneva from 11–14 September 2023.

UN General Assembly Resolution 77/79

The annual United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution promoting the Convention on Cluster Munitions is useful for gauging interest in and support for the convention, especially in states that have not joined. Since its introduction in 2015, support for the annual UNGA resolution on the convention has grown and remains high.

UNGA Resolution on the Convention on Cluster Munitions[12]

Year

Resolution

In Favor

Against

Abstained

2015

70/54

139

2

39

2016

71/45

141

2

39

2017

72/54

142

2

36

2018

73/54

144

1

38

2019

74/62

144

1

38

2020

75/62

147

0

38

2021

76/47

146

1

37

2022

77/79

144

1

37

 

On 7 December 2022, a total of 144 states voted in favor of UNGA Resolution 77/79 on the Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, of which 36 were non-signatories to the convention.[13]

Russia again voted against the resolution, making it the only country to do so in 2022.[14] In contrast, Myanmar voted for the resolution for the first time.

A total of 37 states abstained from voting on the UNGA resolution.[15] No States Parties abstained from voting, but three signatories did so: the Central African Republic, Cyprus, and Uganda.

During the debate, several states not party explained their vote on the 2022 UNGA resolution.[16] Russia repeated its argument that cluster munitions are “legitimate weapons” that are “only harmful when misused.” Brazil, Iran, Pakistan, and South Korea reiterated their long-held and well-worn objections over certain provisions of the convention as well as how it was negotiated and adopted outside of UN auspices. Signatory Cyprus—the last European Union (EU) member state to have signed but not ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions—repeated that it cannot ratify the convention until it resolves “the special security situation on the island.”[17]

Use of Cluster Munitions

Global Overview

Since the end of World War II in 1945, at least 23 governments have used cluster munitions in 41 countries and five other areas. Almost every region of the world has experienced cluster munition use at some point over the past 70 years, including Southeast Asia, Southeast Europe, the Caucasus, the Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Past use of cluster munitions[18]

User state

Locations used

Armenia

Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan

Nagorno-Karabakh

Colombia

Colombia

Eritrea

Ethiopia

Ethiopia

Eritrea

France

Chad, Iraq, Kuwait

Georgia

Georgia, possibly Abkhazia

Iraq

Iran, Iraq

Israel

Egypt, Lebanon, Syria

Libya

Chad, Libya

Morocco

Mauritania, Western Sahara

Netherlands

Former Yugoslavia (Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia)

Nigeria

Sierra Leone

Russia

Afghanistan (as USSR), Georgia, Syria, Ukraine, Chechnya

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia, Yemen

South Africa

Admitted past use, but did not specify where

Sudan

Sudan

Syria

Syria

Thailand

Cambodia

Ukraine

Ukraine

UK

Iraq, Kuwait, former Yugoslavia (Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia), Falklands/Malvinas

US

Afghanistan, Albania, BiH, Cambodia, Grenada, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Vietnam, Yemen, former Yugoslavia (Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia)

Yugoslavia (former Socialist Federal Republic of)

Albania, BiH, Croatia, Kosovo

Note: other areas are indicated in italics; USSR=Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Article 1 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions contains the convention’s core obligations designed to eliminate future humanitarian impact, most crucially the absolute ban on use of cluster munitions.

There have been no confirmed reports or allegations of new cluster munition use by any State Party since the convention was adopted in 2008.[19] Several past users and producers of cluster munitions, such as France, the Netherlands, South Africa, and the UK, are now States Parties to the convention and have committed to never use cluster munitions under any circumstances.

Most states outside the convention have never used cluster munitions. Despite rhetoric to the contrary, only Israel, Russia, and the US are known to be major users and producers of cluster munitions.[20]

Since the convention entered into force in August 2010, cluster munitions have been used by nine non-signatories: Armenia and Azerbaijan in 2020; Libya in 2011, 2015, and 2019; Russia in 2014–2015 and 2022–2023; Saudi Arabia in 2015–2017; Sudan in 2012–2015; Syria in 2012–2023; Thailand in 2011; and Ukraine in 2014–2015 and 2022–2023.

New Use

Cluster munitions were used extensively in Ukraine during the reporting period, while new use was also recorded in Myanmar and Syria. None of these countries have joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Ukraine

The Russian Armed Forces have used cluster munitions repeatedly in Ukraine since Russia’s all-out invasion of the country on 24 February 2022. This use by Russia has caused civilian casualties, damaged civilian infrastructure, and contaminated agricultural land.[21] Ukrainian forces have also used cluster munitions, causing civilian deaths and injuries.

At least 10 types of cluster munitions and three types of individual submunitions have been used in Ukraine since 24 February 2022. The types used are all launched from the ground in missiles, rockets, and artillery projectiles, except for the RBK-series cluster bomb, which is delivered by aircraft. With the exception of an Israeli-designed cluster munition mortar projectile, the cluster munitions used in Ukraine were manufactured in the Soviet Union prior to 1991 or in Russia, some as recently as 2021.

Cluster munitions used in Ukraine in 2022–2023

Ground-fired rockets and missile

  • The 220mm 9M27K-series Uragan (“Hurricane”) cluster munition rocket, which has a range of 10–35km and delivers 30 9N210 or 9N235 fragmentation submunitions;
  • The 300mm 9M55K-series Smerch (“Tornado”) cluster munition rocket, which has a range of 20–70km and delivers 72 9N210 or 9N235 fragmentation submunitions;
  • The 300mm 9M54-series “Tornado-S” cluster munition guided missile, which delivers 552 3B30 dual-purpose 9M544 submunitions or 72 9M549 antipersonnel submunitions;
  • The 9M549 Tornado-S cluster munition guided missile, which delivers 72 9N235 fragmentation submunitions;
  • The 9M79-series Tochka ballistic missile, which is equipped with the 9N123K warhead containing 50 9N24 fragmentation submunitions; and
  • The 9M723K1 Iskander-M ballistic missile, which contains 54 9N730 dual-purpose submunitions.

Ground-fired artillery and mortar projectiles

  • The 3-O-14 203mm artillery projectile, each delivering 24 O-16 fragmentation submunitions;
  • The 3-O-13 152mm artillery projectile, each delivering eight O-16 fragmentation submunitions;
  • The 3-O-8 240mm mortar projectile, each delivering 14 O-10 fragmentation submunitions; and
  • The M971 120mm mortar projectile, each containing 24 M87 dual-purpose submunitions.

Air-dropped bomb

  • The RBK-500 PTAB-1M cluster bomb, containing 268 PTAB-1M high explosive/antitank submunitions;
  • Individual ShOAB-0.5 fragmentation submunitions; and
  • Individual PTAB-2.5 dual purpose submunitions (photographed being modified for use in munitions dropped via drones).

Russia has stated that it regards cluster munitions as “a lawful form of munitions” that “are only harmful when misused.”[22] Russia has generally avoided admitting using cluster munitions in Ukraine and has sought to draw attention elsewhere. Following the July 2023 decision by the US to transfer cluster munitions to Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin told media, “I want to note that in the Russian Federation there is a sufficient stockpile of different kinds of cluster bombs. We have not used them yet. But of course, if they are used against us, we reserve the right to take reciprocal action.”[23]

The New York Times first reported that Ukrainian forces used Uragan cluster munition rockets in an attack on Husarivka village, Kharkiv oblast, on either 6 or 7 March 2022, when the village was under Russian control.[24] Ukraine did not deny this use of cluster munitions, but told The New York Times that “the Armed Forces of Ukraine strictly adhere to the norms of international humanitarian law.”

The Armed Forces of Ukraine used cluster munitions in attacks on Izium city, Kharkiv oblast, between March and September 2022, when it was controlled by Russian forces, according to the Independent Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine.[25] In July 2023, Human Rights Watch (HRW) also reported on Ukraine’s cluster munition rocket attacks in Izium city and surrounding areas during 2022, when Russian forces had controlled the area.[26] Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence rejected the research findings shared by HRW, responding that “cluster munitions were not used within or around the city of Izium in 2022 when it was under Russian occupation.”[27]

As of 3 August 2023, the use of cluster munitions in Ukraine has been condemned by at least 40 states in national or joint statements at UN bodies such at the Human Rights Council, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), and the UNGA.[28] The cluster munition attacks in Ukraine have also been condemned by the EU, the Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Human Rights Special Rapporteurs and Experts, and the CMC.

Myanmar

In the past, Myanmar has stated that it has never used, produced, or transferred cluster munitions. However, evidence has emerged that indicates the Myanmar Armed Forces used an apparently domestically-produced cluster bomb in 2022 and the first half of 2023.

The Monitor has reviewed photographs of cluster bomb remnants and other evidence from attacks by the Myanmar Air Force in Chin, Kayah, Kayin, and Shan states over the past 15 months.

Most recently, on 6 June 2023, photographs of the aftermath of an airstrike in Kedong village tract in Kawkareik township, Kayin state, showed cluster bomb remnants among the debris at a damaged school.[29]

On 25 April 2023, cluster bomb remnants were found after an attack by the Myanmar Air Force on a hospital—which injured five people, including two doctors—in Saung Pwe village in Pekhon township, Shan state.[30] On the same day, the Myanmar Air Force dropped a cluster bomb near the village of Mae Ka Neh in Myawaddy township, Kayin state, wounding four civilians.[31] Another attack that resulted in casualties in April 2023 in Mindat township, Chin state, also involved cluster bomb use.[32]

Between 17 February and 7 March 2023, witnesses to Myanmar Air Force attacks near the villages of Kon Tha, Nam Mae Kon, and Warisuplia, in Demoso township, Kayah state, reported hearing multiple explosions indicating the use of cluster bombs, and later found cluster bomb remnants.

In December 2022, Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG) published photographs of remnants from an apparent domestically-produced cluster bomb used in an April 2022 attack in the P’Loo village tract, in Myawaddy township, Kayin state, adjacent to the border with Thailand.[33]

Syria

Syrian government forces used cluster munitions extensively from 2012–2020, before reports of new use dropped off in 2021.[34] Cluster munitions were used again in November 2022, in attacks documented by the UN, HRW, and the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR).

On 6 November 2022, eight civilians were killed and at least 75 injured when Syrian government forces, with Russian military support, used cluster munitions in attacks on the Maram camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) near Kafr Jalis, and other IDP camps in Idlib governorate.[35]The cluster munitions used were 220mm 9M27K-series Uragan rockets containing 9N235 or 9N210 fragmentation submunitions. HRW previously reported the Syrian government’s use of this type of cluster munition rocket, including in an attack targeting an IDP camp in October 2015.[36]

The civilian harm caused by the use of cluster munitions in Syria has attracted widespread media coverage, global public outcry, and condemnations from more than 145 states.[37] Since May 2013, the UNGA has adopted 10 resolutions condemning the use of cluster munitions in Syria.[38] Since 2014, states have also adopted more than 18 Human Rights Council resolutions condemning use of cluster munitions in Syria.[39] The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria has issued numerous reports detailing cluster munition attacks by Syrian government forces.[40]

Non-State Armed Groups

Few non-state armed groups (NSAGs) have used cluster munitions, due in part to the complexity of these weapons and their delivery systems. In the past, use of cluster munitions by NSAGs has been recorded in Afghanistan by the Northern Alliance; in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) by Croat and Serb militias; in Croatia by a Serb militia; in Israel by Hezbollah; in Libya by the Libyan National Army (LNA); in Syria by the Islamic State; and in Ukraine by Russian-backed separatists.

Unilateral Restrictions on Use

Several states outside the Convention on Cluster Munitions have imposed certain restrictions on using cluster munitions in the future.

The US maintains that cluster munitions have military utility, but has not used them since 2003 in Iraq with the exception of a single attack in Yemen in 2009. However, in 2017, the US revoked a Department of Defense directive that had required the US to no longer use cluster munitions that resulted in more than 1% unexploded ordnance (UXO), due to come into effect in 2018.

Estonia, Finland, Poland, and Romania have committed not to use cluster munitions outside their own territories. Thailand claims to have removed cluster munitions from its operational stocks.

Production of Cluster Munitions

Since World War II, at least 34 states have collectively developed or produced more than 200 types of cluster munitions. This includes 18 countries that ceased manufacturing these weapons prior to or upon joining the Convention on Cluster Munitions.[41]

Producers

There were no changes during the reporting period to the list of 16 countries that produce cluster munitions and have yet to commit to never producing them in the future. None of these states are party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Cluster munition producers

Brazil

Korea, South

China

Pakistan

Egypt

Poland

Greece

Romania

India

Russia

Iran

Singapore

Israel

Türkiye

Korea, North

US

New Development and Production

Russia continued to produce new cluster munitions in 2022, including two newly developed cluster munitions that its forces have used during the conflict in Ukraine. The Russian Armed Forces have used the 300mm 9M54-series guided missile, produced by Splav State Research and Production Enterprise, which is delivered by the 9K515 “Tornado-S” rocket launcher. The 9M544 model contains 552 3B30 dual-purpose submunitions, while the 9M549 model contains 72 antipersonnel submunitions. The same company is producing guided 9M54-series cluster munition missiles made for the new Tornado-S launcher system.[42] Russia has also used a cluster munition variant of its new Iskander-M 9M723 ballistic missile system.

The last US manufacturer of cluster munitions, Textron Systems Corporation, ended its production of the weapon in 2016.[43] However, the US is developing and producing replacements for cluster munitions that may fail to meet the submunition reliability policy of its own Department of Defense, and may still fall under the definition of cluster munitions prohibited under the convention.

The US military is developing several replacements for ground-launched cluster munitions. The US Army has budgeted nearly US$500 million from 2022–2028 to research and develop replacements for the 155mm artillery projectiles containing older M42/M46 dual-purpose improved conventional munitions (DPICM). In 2018, two parallel research and development tracks began to develop Cannon-Delivered Area Effects Munitions (C-DAEM) as “policy-compliant munitions” as a replacement.[44]

The intent behind the C-DAEM project is reportedly to attack targets ranging from personnel to soft-skinned vehicles. The US Army has approved acquiring an advanced Israeli-designed M999 antipersonnel munition to fulfil this requirement, and has renamed it the XM1208. Hardware and some components of this projectile are being imported from Israel in cooperation with the Israeli Ministry of Defense.[45] The XM1208 projectile dispenses nine M99 “advanced submunitions.”[46]

Another replacement program is the Alternative Warhead variant for the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) rocket, which began production in 2015 to replace M26 rockets, which deliver M77 DPICM munitions. This GMLRS Alternative Warhead contains 160,000 pre-formed tungsten fragments, but no explosive submunitions. A longer-term US research project will test a “Sensor Fuzed Weapon” (type not specified) for delivery by the GMLRS rocket by 2030. Efforts under this project will “determine the feasibility and effectiveness of utilizing GMLRS rockets to dispense anti-armor submunitions for engaging medium and heavy armor targets.”[47]

Limited or No Current Production

Greece, Israel, Poland, Romania, Singapore, and Türkiye have indicated no active production, but the Monitor will continue to list them as producers until they commit to never produce cluster munitions in the future.[48] States that say their policy is aligned with the convention’s prohibitions should elaborate how specific policies, practices, and doctrines have changed in this regard, and detail any measures put in place to deter and prevent such activities in future.

Since the adoption of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, several companies that once manufactured cluster munitions have ceased their production. For example, in July 2023, Romanian company AEROTEH S.A. shared the following statement with the Monitor:

"Although Romania is not yet a signatory to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, AEROTEH S.A. has decided since 2008 not to be involved in the production of cluster munitions and is firmly committed not to produce any type of components for such ammunition in the future nor to participate in any governmental or industrial cooperation program with other companies for the production or development of cluster munitions."[49]

Previously, in 2015, Singapore’s only cluster munition manufacturer, Singapore Technologies Engineering, announced that it would no longer produce them, stating, “As a responsible military technology manufacturer we do not design, produce and sell anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions and any related key components.”[50] Israel’s last cluster munition manufacturer, Israel Military Industries (IMI), was acquired in late 2018 by Elbit Systems Ltd., which announced that it would discontinue the production of cluster munitions.[51]

Apparent Production

Myanmar was not known to have produced cluster munitions. Yet evidence emerged in 2023 that indicates it may have manufactured a cluster bomb since 2021, which was used in several attacks. The air-delivered bomb consists of a shell casing that contains twelve 120mm mortar projectiles, attached on an internal frame as submunitions. Each one has a plastic arming vane attached to an impact fuze that detonates on contact. The origin of this rudimentary cluster bomb is unknown, but it appears similar to other products made by the state-owned weapons production facility “KaPaSa,” or Defense Products Industries of Myanmar. Photographic evidence and witness descriptions of this weapon indicate that it appears to meet the definition of a cluster munition under the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, which prohibits a “conventional munition that is designed to disperse or release explosive submunitions each weighing less than 20 kilograms.”

Former Producers

Under Article 1(1)(b) of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, States Parties undertake to never develop, produce, or acquire cluster munitions. Since the convention took effect in August 2010, there have been no confirmed instances of new production of cluster munitions by any State Party.

Eighteen states have ceased production of cluster munitions; all are States Parties to the convention with the exception of Argentina. There were no changes to this list during the reporting period.

Former producers of cluster munitions

Argentina

Italy

Australia

Japan

Belgium

Netherlands

BiH

Slovakia

Chile

South Africa

Croatia

Spain

France

Sweden

Germany

Switzerland

Iraq

UK

 

Several States Parties have provided information on the conversion or decommissioning of cluster munition production facilities in their Article 7 transparency reports, including BiH, Croatia, France, Japan, Slovakia, Sweden, and Switzerland.[52]

Transfer of Cluster Munitions

Since joining the Convention on Cluster Munitions, no State Party is known to have transferred cluster munitions other than for the purposes of stockpile destruction or to retain them for research and training in the detection and clearance of cluster munition remnants, as permitted by the convention.[53]

The true scope of the global trade in cluster munitions is difficult to ascertain due to the overall lack of transparency on arms transfers. Few cluster munition transfers have been documented by non-signatories to the convention over the past fifteen years since the convention was adopted.

Transfers to Ukraine

Ukraine has publicly asked to be supplied with cluster munitions for use in the ongoing war with Russia.[54]On 7 July 2023, the administration of President Joe Biden announced that an unspecified quantity of US cluster munitions, with a failure rate exceeding 1%, would be transferred to Ukraine.[55] According to the US Department of Defense, “155mm artillery rounds” will be transferred, including ones that deliver, what it and the Department of State describe as, “highly effective and reliable” DPICM submunitions.[56] Department of Defense officials claim the DPICM submunitions “have a dud rate less than 2.35 percent” but say that the testing data behind this figure is “classified.”[57]

It appears that the US will transfer 155mm M864 cluster munition artillery projectiles that each contain 72 DPICM submunitions, as well as 155mm M483A1 artillery projectiles that each contain 88 DPICM submunitions. The projectiles deliver M42 and M46 DPICM submunitions, and historic data for these DPICM submunitions shows a failure rate of 6% to 14%, often higher in operations due to wind, soft soil, dense vegetation, and other factors.[58]

Ukraine’s Minister of Defence, Oleksii Reznikov, welcomed the US decision to provide Ukraine with cluster munitions, which he said “will significantly help us to de-occupy our territories while saving the lives of the Ukrainian soldiers.”[59] He outlined five “key principles” guiding Ukraine’s use of the cluster munitions which he said “we will abide by and which we have clearly communicated to all our partners, including the US.”[60]

As of 3 August 2023, world leaders and officials from 21 countries have expressed concern over cluster munitions after the US decision to transfer them to Ukraine.[61] The US decision has led media coverage worldwide and has been criticized by UN officials and civil society organizations, including the CMC. On 13 July 2023, 147 US congressional representatives (98 Republicans and 49 Democrats) voted to prohibit the sale and transfer of cluster munitions to Ukraine, but the measure did not pass as 276 representatives voted against it.[62] The original amendment sought to prohibit cluster munition transfers to any country and was accompanied by a letter from Sara Jacobs, Ilhan Omar, and seventeen other House Democrats renouncing the US transfer of cluster munitions.[63]

Ukraine may have acquired cluster munitions from other countries during 2022–2023. US defense officials alleged in June and July 2023 that certain unnamed countries have supplied cluster munitions to Ukraine.[64]

Senior government officials from Türkiye and Ukraine denied a January 2023 media report that claimed Türkiye had transferred cluster munitions to Ukraine in November 2022.[65] In 2021 and 2022, Türkiye informed the president of the Convention on Cluster Munitions that “Turkey has never used, produced, imported or transferred cluster munitions since 2005, nor does it intend to do so in the future.”[66]

Also in January 2023, Estonian state media reported that Estonia was considering providing Ukraine with German-made DM632 155mm cluster munition projectiles.[67] Such a transfer would require approval from the German government and, in February 2023, Germany’s defense minister Boris Pistorius said that “Germany won’t authorize the transfer of cluster bombs to Ukraine.”[68]

Israeli-made or copied M971 120mm cluster munition mortar projectiles were photographed in possession of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in December 2022.[69] Israel originally produced this type of cluster munition, but it is not known how or from whom Ukraine acquired it.

Previous Transfers

The Monitor has identified at least 15 countries that have in the past transferred more than 50 types of cluster munitions to at least 60 other countries.[70] While the historical record is incomplete and there are variations in publicly available information, the US was most likely the world’s leading exporter as it transferred hundreds of thousands of cluster munitions, containing tens of millions of submunitions, to at least 30 countries and other areas.[71]

Cluster munitions of Russian/Soviet origin are reported to be in the stockpiles of at least 36 states, including countries that inherited stocks after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.[72] The full extent of China’s exports of cluster munitions is not known, but unexploded submunitions of Chinese origin have been found in Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, and Sudan.

Stockpiles of Cluster Munitions and their Destruction

Global Stockpiles

The Monitor estimates that prior to the start of the global effort to ban cluster munitions, 95 countries stockpiled millions of cluster munitions, containing more than one billion submunitions.[73]

Countries that stockpiled cluster munitions[74]

States Parties

Signatories

Non-signatories

Afghanistan

Austria

Belgium

BiH

Botswana

Bulgaria

Cameroon

Canada

Chile

Colombia

Congo, Rep. of

Côte d’Ivoire

Croatia

Cuba

Czech Republic

Denmark

Ecuador

France

Germany

Guinea

Guinea-Bissau

Honduras

Hungary

Iraq

Italy

Japan

Moldova

Montenegro

Mozambique

Netherlands

Nigeria

North Macedonia

Norway

Peru

Philippines

Portugal

Slovakia

Slovenia

South Africa

Spain

Sweden

Switzerland

UK

Angola

Cent. African Rep.

Cyprus

Indonesia

 

Algeria

Argentina

Armenia

Azerbaijan

Bahrain

Belarus

Brazil

Cambodia

China

Egypt

Eritrea

Estonia

Ethiopia

Finland

Georgia

Greece

India

Iran

Israel

Jordan

Kazakhstan

Korea, North

Korea, South

Kuwait

Libya

Mongolia

Morocco

Oman

Pakistan

Poland

Qatar

Romania

Russia

Saudi Arabia

Serbia

Singapore

Sudan

Syria

Thailand

Türkiye

Turkmenistan

Ukraine

UAE

US

Uzbekistan

Venezuela

Yemen

Zimbabwe

 

43 (3 current)

4 (2 current)

48 (47 current)

Note: countries in bold still possess stockpiles.

Stockpiles Possessed by States Parties

In the past, the convention’s States Parties stockpiled a collective total of nearly 1.5 million cluster munitions, containing more than 179 million submunitions. At least 43 countries—39 States Parties, two signatories, and one non-signatory—that once possessed cluster munition stocks have now destroyed them.

At least three States Parties have cluster munition stocks still to destroy. Questions remain over whether Guinea knowingly possesses cluster munitions, as it apparently imported them in the past. Guinea must report any stocks in its initial Article 7 transparency report for the convention, which was due in April 2015 but still has not been submitted.[75]

Cluster munitions held by States Parties still to complete stockpile destruction[76]

State Party

Cluster munitions

Submunitions

Deadline

Peru

2,012

162,417

1 April 2024

Slovakia

1,235

299,187

1 January 2024

South Africa

1,485

99,465

1 November 2023

Total

4,732

561,069

 

 

Stockpiles Possessed by Signatories

At least two signatories to the Convention on Cluster Munitions stockpile cluster munitions:

  • Cyprus transferred 3,760 4.2-inch OF mortar projectiles, containing a total of 2,559 M20G submunitions, to Bulgaria in 2014. By August 2019, they had been destroyed by private company EXPAL Bulgaria.[77] Cyprus has never made a public statement or provided a voluntary transparency report to confirm if it has now destroyed all its stockpiled cluster munitions.
  • Indonesia has acknowledged possessing cluster munitions, but has not shared information on its plan to destroy them under the convention. In June 2022, an Indonesian official told the Monitor that the stockpile consists of approximately 150 “very old” cluster bombs.[78]

Two signatories possessed cluster munitions in the past:

  • Angola stated in 2017 that all of its stockpiled cluster munitions were destroyed in or by 2012.[79]
  • The Central African Republic stated in 2011 that it had destroyed a “considerable” stockpile of cluster munitions and no longer had stocks on its territory.[80]

After ratifying the Convention on Cluster Munitions in February 2023, Nigeria provided an Article 7 transparency report in April 2023, which stated that it has not produced cluster munitions and has no stockpiled cluster munitions, including for research and training purposes.[81]

Stockpiles Possessed by Non-Signatories

It is not possible to provide a global estimate of the quantity of cluster munitions held by non-signatories to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, as few have publicly shared information on the types and quantities in their possession.

The US reported in 2011 that its stockpile was comprised of “more than six million cluster munitions.”[82] Georgia destroyed 844 RBK-series cluster bombs, containing 320,375 submunitions, in 2004.[83] Venezuela destroyed an unspecified quantity of cluster munitions belonging to its air force in 2011.[84]

Stockpile Destruction

Under Article 3 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, each State Party is required to declare and destroy all stockpiled cluster munitions under its jurisdiction or control as soon as possible, but no later than eight years after entry into force of the convention for that State Party.

States Parties that have Completed Stockpile Destruction

Of the 42 States Parties that have stockpiled cluster munitions, at least 38 have now completed destruction of those stocks, collectively destroying nearly 1.5 million cluster munitions containing 178.5 million submunitions. This represents 99% of all cluster munitions that States Parties have reported stockpiling.

Bulgaria was the last State Party to complete stockpile destruction under the convention, in June 2023.

States Parties that have completed stockpile destruction[85]

State Party (year of completion)

Cluster munitions

Submunitions

Austria (2010)

12,672

798,336

Belgium (2010)

115,210

10,138,480

BiH (2011)

445

148,059

Botswana(2018)

510

14,400

Bulgaria (2023)

6,905

190,919

Cameroon (2017)*

6

906

Canada (2014)

13,623

1,361,958

Chile (2013)

249

25,896

Colombia (2009)

72

10,832

Côte d’Ivoire (2013)

68

10,200

Croatia (2018)

7,235

178,318

Cuba (2017)**

1,856

N/R

Czech Republic (2010)

480

16,400

Denmark (2014)

42,176

2,440,940

Ecuador (2004)

117

17,199

France (2016)

34,876

14,916,881

Germany (2015)

573,700

62,923,935

Hungary (2011)

287

3,954

Italy (2015)

4,963

2,849,979

Japan (2015)

14,011

2,027,907

Moldova (2010)

1,385

27,050

Montenegro (2010)

353

51,891

Mozambique (2015)

293

12,804

Netherlands (2012)

193,643

25,867,510

North Macedonia (2013)

2,426

39,980

Norway (2010)

52,190

3,087,910

Philippines (2011)

114

0

Portugal (2011)

11

1,617

Slovenia (2017)

1,080

52,920

Spain (2018)

6,837

293,652

Sweden (2015)

370

20,595

Switzerland (2019)

206,061

12,211,950

UK (2013)

190,832

38,759,034

Total

1,485,056

178,502,412

Note: N/R=not reported.

*Cameroon did not destroy its stockpiled cluster munitions, but instead retained them all for research and training.

**Cuba reported the total number of cluster munitions destroyed, but not the quantity of submunitions destroyed.

 

Five States Parties that once stockpiled cluster munitions are not listed in the overview table, due to insufficient information on the quantities destroyed:

  • Afghanistan and Iraq have reported completing stockpile destruction, but neither provided a specific date of completion or information on the types and quantities destroyed. Both countries have reported the discovery and destruction of cluster munitions found in abandoned arms caches.
  • The Republic of the Congo has stated that it has no stockpiles of cluster munitions on its territory, but it must provide a transparency report to formally confirm that it does not possess stocks.[86]
  • Guinea-Bissau initially reported possessing cluster munitions in 2011, but did not provide information on the types or quantities.[87] It subsequently clarified in May 2022 and reported in July 2022 that it does not possess any stocks.[88]
  • · Honduras provided a transparency report in 2017, but did not declare any cluster munitions as it had destroyed its stockpile long before the convention’s entry into force.[89]

Destruction Underway

In 2022 and the first half of 2023, three States Parties—Bulgaria, Peru, and Slovakia—destroyed a total of at least 4,166 cluster munitions and 134,598 submunitions from their stocks.

Cluster munitions destroyed by States Parties in 2022 and the first half of 2023

State Party

Cluster munitions destroyed

Submunitions destroyed

Bulgaria

3,588

98,814

Peru

542

34,834

Slovakia

36

950

Total

4,166

134,598

 

Previously, in 2021 and the first half of 2022, the three States Parties destroyed a total of 1,658 cluster munitions and 46,733 submunitions.

According to Bulgaria’s Ministry of Defence, the last of Bulgaria’s stockpiled cluster munitions were destroyed at the end of June 2023, six months in advance of the 31 December 2023 deadline.[90] By the end of 2022, all remaining cluster munition stocks once held by the Bulgarian Armed Forces had been transferred to Italy for destruction by a private company, Esplodenti Sabino Srl.[91] The destruction of Bulgaria’s stocks resumed in Italy in February 2022 and scaled up rapidly, with 1,303 cluster munitions and 51,285 submunitions destroyed as of the end of 2022. During the first half of 2023, Bulgaria destroyed 2,285 cluster munitions and 47,529 submunitions.[92] Bulgaria is expected to formally announce the completion of its stockpile destruction at the Eleventh Meeting of States Parties in September 2023.

Peru told the convention’s Tenth Meeting of States Parties in September 2022 that it is striving to complete destruction of its stockpile by the end of 2023, in advance of its 1 April 2024 deadline.[93] At the same meeting, Slovakia reiterated its commitment to destroy its stockpile “on time and in line with our stipulated destruction deadline.” Slovakia’s deadline is1 January 2024.[94]

South Africa told the Tenth Meeting of States Parties that it “remains fully committed to concluding this destruction process under Article 3 within the specified time frame.”[95] It is unclear if South Africa will meet its stockpile destruction deadline of 1 November 2023 as it has not destroyed any cluster munitions since 2012. According to South Africa’s Article 7 transparency report submitted in June 2023, the stockpile destruction “will take place strictly based on priorities.” The report also stated that destruction of stocks planned for 2020–2021 “was curbed by COVID-19 restrictions.”[96]

Retention

Article 3 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions permits the retention of cluster munitions and submunitions for the development of training in detection, clearance, and destruction techniques, and for the development of countermeasures such as armor to protect troops and equipment from the weapons.

Cluster munitions retained for training (as of 31 December 2022)[97]

State Party

Quantity of cluster munitions (submunitions)

Year first reported

Currently retained

Consumed in 2022

Initially retained

Germany

129 (11,102)

22 (2,485)

685 (62,580)

2011

Switzerland

28 (1,299)

14 (798)

138 (7,346)

2013

Belgium

9 (792)

166 (15,576)

276 (24,288)

2011

Cameroon

6 (906)

0 (0)

6 (906)

2014

Bulgaria

6 (300)

0 (0)

8 (400)

2017

France

3 (189)

0(0)

55 (10,284)

2011

Spain

2 (275)

5 (247)

711 (16,652)

2011

Denmark

0 (2,816)

N/R

170 (0)

2011

Netherlands

0 (1,854)

0 (0)

272 (23,545)

2011

Sweden

0 (100)

0 (13)

0 (125)

2013

BiH

0 (23)

0 (7)

0 (30)

2013

Note: N/R=not reported.

A total of 11 States Parties are retaining cluster munitions for training and research purposes. Germany retains the highest number of cluster munitions of any State Party. It reported consuming 22 cluster munitions during 2022.[98] Switzerland retains the second-highest number of cluster munitions, after consuming one-third of its retained cluster munitions in 2022.[99] BiH, Spain, and Sweden also consumed cluster munitions or submunitions in 2022.[100]

Belgium no longer retains the highest number of cluster munitions among States Parties, having destroyed 95% of its retained cluster munitions in 2022.[101] According to Belgium’s transparency report, it intends to destroy its remaining cluster munitions retained for training in 2023.

Bulgaria, Cameroon, France, and the Netherlands did not consume any retained cluster munitions during 2022. It is unclear if Denmark consumed any retained cluster munitions in 2022 as it has not submitted its annual updated transparency report, as of 3 August 2023. Cameroon provided a transparency report in June 2023, which reported no change in the status of its retained cluster munitions since its previous report was submitted in 2017.[102]

Most States Parties retaining cluster munitions for training have reduced their stocks significantly since making their first declarations, indicating that the initial amounts retained were not the “minimum number absolutely necessary” for the permitted purposes under the convention.

Some States Parties such as Chile, Croatia, Moldova, and the Netherlands have declared retaining inert items or those rendered free from explosives, which are no longer considered to be cluster munitions or submunitions under the convention.

The majority of States Parties see no need or reason to retain and use live cluster munitions for training purposes, including 28 States Parties that once possessed stocks.[103]

Transparency Reporting

Under Article 7 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, States Parties are obliged to submit an initial transparency report within 180 days of the convention taking effect for that country. Timely submission of the report is a legal obligation.[104]

As of 3 August 2023, 104 States Parties have submitted an initial transparency report, including Nigeria and São Tomé and Príncipe in the reporting period.[105] South Sudan provided four voluntary transparency reports prior to acceding to the convention. Of the seven States Parties with outstanding initial Article 7 reports, Cabo Verde and Comoros are more than a decade overdue.

States Parties with initial Article 7 deadlines

State Party

Date due

Cabo Verde

28 September 2011

Comoros

30 June 2011

Congo, Rep. of

28 August 2015

Guinea

19 April 2015

Madagascar

30 April 2018

Rwanda

31 July 2016

Togo

29 May 2013

 

After providing an initial transparency report, States Parties must submit an updated annual report by 30 April each year, covering developments during the previous calendar year. Compliance with the annual reporting requirement has been poor and sporadic, as more than half of States Parties do not provide Article 7 reports annually. Twelve States Parties have not provided an annual update since submitting their initial Article 7 report.[106]

In 2022, signatory the DRC submitted its fourth voluntary Article 7 transparency report since 2011. Prior to acceeding to the convention in August 2023, South Sudan had provided four voluntary reports as a non-signatory since 2020. Canada and Palau provided voluntary reports prior to ratifying the convention.

The CMC continues to encourage States Parties to submit their Article 7 transparency reports by the deadline and provide complete information, including definitive statements.[107]

National Implementation Legislation

According to Article 9 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, States Parties are required to take “all appropriate legal, administrative and other measures to implement this Convention, including the imposition of penal sanctions.” The CMC urges all States Parties to enact comprehensive national legislation to enforce the convention’s provisions and provide binding, enduring, and unequivocal rules.

A total of 33 States Parties have enacted specific implementing legislation for the convention. Prior to the convention’s entry into force in August 2010, a total of 11 states had enacted implementing legislation, while 22 states have done so since.

National implementation legislation for the Convention on Cluster Munitions

State Party (year enacted)

Afghanistan (2018)

Australia (2012)

Austria (2008)

Belgium (2006)

Bulgaria (2015)

Cameroon (2016)

Canada (2014)

Colombia (2012)

Cook Islands (2011)

Czech Republic (2011)

Ecuador (2010)

France (2010)

Germany (2009)

Guatemala (2012)

Hungary (2012)

Iceland (2015)

Ireland (2008)

Italy (2011)

Japan (2009)

Liechtenstein (2013)

Luxembourg (2009)

Mauritius (2016)

Namibia (2019)

New Zealand (2009)

Niue (2021)

Norway (2008)

Saint Kitts and Nevis (2014)

Samoa (2012)

Spain (2015)

Sweden (2012)

Switzerland (2012)

Togo (2015)

UK (2010)

 

Niue was the last country to enact national implementation legislation for the convention, in 2021. The Monitor is not aware of any State Party enacting implementing legislation for the convention during 2022 or the first half of 2023. Nigeria reported in April 2023 that it “needs to enact specific legislation to enforce provisions of the Convention.”[108]

A total of 22 States Parties have indicated that they are either planning or are in the process of drafting, reviewing, or adopting specific legislative measures to implement the convention.[109]

A total of 43 States Parties have indicated that they regard existing laws and regulations as sufficient to enforce their adherence to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.[110]

Other States Parties are still considering whether specific implementing legislation for the convention is needed.

Several guides are available to encourage the preparation of robust legislation. The CMC prepared model legislation in 2020.[111] HRW and Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) have identified key components of comprehensive legislation.[112] The ICRC has proposed a model law for common law states.[113] New Zealand has prepared a model law for small states that do not possess cluster munitions and are not contaminated by their remnants.[114]

Interpretive Issues

During the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the final negotiations in Dublin where the convention was adopted on 30 May 2008, it appeared that there was not a uniform view on certain important issues relating to states’ interpretation and implementation of the convention. The CMC encourages States Parties and signatories that have not yet done so to express their views on three key issues of concern:

  1. The prohibition on assistance during joint military operations with states not party that may use cluster munitions (“interoperability”);
  2. The prohibitions on transit and foreign stockpiling of cluster munitions; and
  3. The prohibition on investment in the production of cluster munitions.

Several States Parties and signatories have elaborated their views on these issues, including through Article 7 transparency reports, statements at meetings, parliamentary debates, and direct communications with the CMC and the Monitor. Several strong implementation laws provide useful models for how to implement certain provisions of the convention. Yet, more than three dozen States Parties have not articulated their views on even one of these interpretive issues, and there were no new statements during the reporting period.[115] Please refer to previous Cluster Munition Monitor reports, in addition to Monitor country profiles, for detailed positions on key interpretive issues.

More than 400 US Department of State cables made public by Wikileaks in 2010–2011 demonstrate how the US—despite not participating in the Oslo Process—made numerous attempts to influence its allies, partners, and other states on the content of the draft Convention on Cluster Munitions, particularly with respect to interoperability, US stocks, and foreign stockpiling.[116]

Interoperability and the Prohibition on Assistance

Article 1 of the convention obliges States Parties “never under any circumstances to…assist, encourage or induce anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Convention.” Yet during the Oslo Process, some states expressed concern about the application of the prohibition on assistance during joint military operations with countries that have not joined the convention. In response to these “interoperability” concerns, Article 21 on “Relations with States not Party to this Convention” was included in the convention. The CMC has strongly criticized Article 21 for being politically motivated and for leaving a degree of ambiguity about how the prohibition on assistance would be applied in joint military operations.

Article 21 states that States Parties “may engage in military cooperation and operations with States not party to this Convention that might engage in activities prohibited to a State Party.” It does not, however, negate States Parties’ obligation under Article 1 to “never under any circumstances” assist with prohibited acts. The article also requires States Parties to discourage use of cluster munitions by states not party, and to encourage them to join the convention.

Together, Article 1 and Article 21 should have a unified and coherent purpose, as the convention cannot require States Parties to both discourage the use of cluster munitions and, by implication, allow them to encourage it. Furthermore, to interpret Article 21 as qualifying Article 1 would run counter to the object and purpose of the convention, which is to eliminate cluster munitions and the harm they cause to civilians.

Therefore, States Parties must not intentionally or deliberately assist, induce, or encourage any activity prohibited under the Convention on Cluster Munitions, even when engaging in joint operations with states not party. Forms of prohibited assistance include, but are not limited to:

  • Securing, storing, or transporting cluster munitions that belong to a state not party;
  • Agreeing to rules of engagement that allow cluster munition use by a state not party;
  • Accepting orders from a state not party to use cluster munitions;
  • Requesting a state not party to use cluster munitions;
  • Participating in planning for use of cluster munitions by a state not party; and
  • Training others to use cluster munitions.

At least 38 States Parties and signatories have agreed that the convention’s Article 21 provision on interoperability should not be read as allowing states to avoid their specific obligation under Article 1 to prohibit assistance with prohibited acts.[117]

States Parties Australia, Canada, Japan, and the UK have indicated their support for the contrary view, that the convention’s Article 1 prohibition on assistance with prohibited acts may be overridden by the interoperability provisions contained in Article 21. In discussions relating to the Second Review Conference, these States Parties and Lithuania used Article 21 as a justification to argue forcefully against unequivocally condemning new use of cluster munitions.

States Parties France, the Netherlands, and Spain have provided the view that Article 21 permits military cooperation in joint operations, but have not indicated the forms of assistance allowed.

Transit and Foreign Stockpiling

The CMC has stated that the injunction not to provide any form of direct or indirect assistance with prohibited acts contained in Article 1 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions should be seen as banning the transit of cluster munitions across or through the national territory, airspace, or waters of a State Party. The convention should also be seen as banning the stockpiling of cluster munitions by a state not party on the territory of a State Party.

At least 35 States Parties and signatories have declared that transit and foreign stockpiling are prohibited by the convention.[118]

States Parties Australia, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, and the UK have indicated support for the opposite view, that transit and foreign stockpiling are not prohibited by the convention.

US Stockpiling and Transit

States Parties Norway and the UK have confirmed that the US removed its stockpiled cluster munitions from their respective territories during 2010.

US Department of State cables released by Wikileaks show that the US has stockpiled and therefore may still store cluster munitions in States Parties Afghanistan, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Spain, as well as in non-signatories Israel, Qatar, and possibly Kuwait.

Disinvestment

Several States Parties, as well as the CMC, view the convention’s Article 1 ban on assistance with prohibited acts as constituting a prohibition on investment in the production of cluster munitions. The Lausanne Action Plan, adopted by States Parties at the convention’s Second Review Conference in September 2021, encourages the adoption of national legislation prohibiting investment in producers of cluster munitions.[119]

Since 2007, a total of 11 States Parties have enacted legislation that explicitly prohibits investment in cluster munitions.

Disinvestment laws on cluster munitions

State Party

Year enacted

Belgium

2007

Ireland

2008

Italy

2021

Liechtenstein

2013

Luxembourg

2009

Netherlands

2013

New Zealand

2009

Saint Kitts and Nevis

2014

Samoa

2012

Spain

2015

Switzerland

2013

 

At least 38 States Parties and signatories have stated that they regard investments in cluster munition production as a form of assistance that is prohibited by the convention.[120]

A few States Parties to the convention have expressed the contrary view that the convention does not prohibit investment in cluster munition production, including Germany, Japan, and Sweden.

Government pension funds in Australia, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway, and Sweden have either fully or partially withdrawn investments, or banned investments, in cluster munition producers.

Financial institutions have acted to stop investment in cluster munition producers and promote socially responsible investment in States Parties Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK.

Several private companies in non-signatory states have ceased production of cluster munitions, in part due to inquiries from financial institutions keen to screen their investments for prohibited weapons. These companies include Elbit Systems Ltd. of Israel, Singapore Technologies Engineering, and US companies Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK and Textron Systems.

 


[1] Only 16 of the 107 governments that participated in the Dublin negotiations and adopted the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 30 May 2008 have not joined the convention: Argentina, Bahrain, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Estonia, Finland, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Morocco, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Serbia, Sudan, Timor-Leste, Vanuatu, and Venezuela. Adoption does not carry any legal obligations.

[2] See, Monitor country profiles, www.the-monitor.org/cp.

[3] Accession, ratification, and other methods of joining the convention usually require parliamentary approval, typically in the form of legislation.

[4] Accession is essentially a process that combines signature and ratification into a single step.

[5] The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic is an African Union (AU) member, but Western Sahara’s lack of official representation at the UN prevents it from joining the Convention on Cluster Munitions. See, ICBL-CMC, “Country Profile: Western Sahara: Cluster Munition Ban Policy,” updated 13 September 2021, bit.ly/MonitorWesternSahara2021.

[6] Signatories are bound by the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties not to engage in acts that “would defeat the object and purpose” of any treaty they have signed. The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties is considered customary international law and binding on all countries.

[7] A total of 40 states ratified the convention before it entered into force on 1 August 2010, while 46 ratified between then and the First Review Conference held in September 2015. Another 10 states ratified in the five years leading to the Second Review Conference, held in two parts, in November 2020 and September 2021. Since then, two states have ratified (Nigeria and South Sudan).

[8] Statement of the DRC, Convention on Cluster Munitions Tenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 30 August 2022, bit.ly/DRCStatementMSP30Aug2022.

[9] Non-signatories Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Finland, Marshall Islands, Myanmar, Nepal, Serbia, South Sudan, Thailand, Türkiye, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Yemen, and Zimbabwe participated in the meeting as observers.

[10] Final Report of the Second Review Conference of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, “Annex II: Lausanne Action Plan,” CCM/CONF/2021/6, 6 October 2021, bit.ly/LausanneActionPlanAnnexII.

[11] Convention on Cluster Munitions, “Final Report of the Tenth Meeting of States Parties,” Geneva, 19 September 2022, bit.ly/CCM10MSPFinalReport.

[12] See, “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 77/79, 7 December 2022, bit.ly/UNGAResolutionCCMDec2022; “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 76/47, 6 December 2021, www.undocs.org/en/A/RES/76/47; “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 75/62, 7 December 2020, www.undocs.org/en/A/RES/75/62; “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 74/62, 12 December 2019, www.undocs.org/en/A/RES/74/62; “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 73/54, 5 December 2018, www.undocs.org/en/A/RES/73/54; “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 72/54, 4 December 2017, www.undocs.org/en/A/RES/72/54; “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 71/45, 5 December 2016, www.undocs.org/en/A/RES/71/45; and “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 70/54, 7 December 2015, www.undocs.org/en/A/RES/70/54.

[13] “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 77/79, 7 December 2022, bit.ly/UNGAResolutionCCMDec2022. The non-signatories that voted in favor were Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, China, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sudan, Suriname, Thailand, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Yemen.

[14] Previously, Russia abstained from the vote on the UNGA resolution in 2018 and 2020. Russia voted against in 2015–2017, 2019, and 2021. Zimbabwe voted against in 2015–2018, but has abstained from the vote since 2019.

[15] The 37 states that abstained from the vote are non-signatories Argentina, Bahrain, Belarus, Brazil, Cambodia, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Greece, India, Iran, Israel, Latvia, Morocco, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Korea, Syria, Tajikistan, Türkiye, Ukraine, UAE, US, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe, plus signatories Central African Republic, Cyprus, and Uganda.

[16] UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, video record, New York, 1 November 2022, bit.ly/UNGAVideoRecord1Nov2022.

[17] Statement of Cyprus, UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 2 November 2022. See, UN, “Approving 21 Drafts, First Committee Asks General Assembly to Halt Destructive Direct-Ascent Anti-Satellite Missile Tests in Outer Space,” 1 November 2022, bit.ly/UNGAFirstCommittee1Nov2022.

[18] This accounting of states using cluster munitions is incomplete, as cluster munitions have been used in other countries, but the party responsible for the use is not clear. This includes use in Angola, Armenia, DRC, Liberia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Uganda, and Zambia.

[19] However, State Party Lebanon reports that it has experienced the use of cluster munitions from the conflict in Syria. According to its clearance deadline extension request, northeast Lebanon became contaminated by cluster munitions used when fighting in Syria spilled over the border into Lebanon in 2014–2017. See, Lebanon Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 4 deadline Extension Request, December 2019, bit.ly/LebanonArt4ExtRequestCCMDec2019.

[20] Nine non-signatories that produce cluster munitions have stated that they have never used cluster munitions (Brazil, China, Egypt,Greece, Pakistan,Poland, Romania,South Korea, and Türkiye), while the Monitor has not verified any use of cluster munitions by four other producers (India, Iran, North Korea, and Singapore). This leaves Israel, Russia, and the US as the only countries to both produce and use cluster munitions.

[21] Human Rights Watch (HRW), “Intense and Lasting Harm: Cluster Munition Attacks in Ukraine,” 11 May 2022, bit.ly/HRWUkraine11May2022.

[22] UN press release, “First Committee Approves 8 Drafts, Continuing Action Phase, as Delegates Differ over Definition of Legitimate Arms Control Treaties,” 2 November 2021, press.un.org/en/2021/gadis3677.doc.htm.

[23] “Putin says Russia will use cluster bombs in Ukraine if it has to,” Reuters, 16 July 2023, bit.ly/Reuters16July2023.

[24] Thomas Gibbons-Neff and John Ismay, “To Push Back Russians, Ukrainians Hit a Village With Cluster Munitions,” The New York Times, 18 April 2022, bit.ly/NewYorkTimes18April2022.

[25] Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, Human Rights Council, 15 March 2023, bit.ly/HRCUkraine15March2023.

[26] HRW, “Ukraine: Civilian Deaths from Cluster Munitions,” 6 July 2023, bit.ly/HRWUkraine6July2023.

[27] Letter to HRW from the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, 22 June 2023, bit.ly/44O4JKm.

[28] Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Mexico, Republic of Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the UK.

[29]Facebook post by the Karen National Union (KNU), 6 June 2023, bit.ly/KNUFacebookPost6June2023; and correspondence on Signal with an officer of the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), 20 June 2023. The KNLA officer requested anonymity.

[30] The casualties could have been caused by other munitions used in the same attack. See, Facebook post by Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG), 25 April 2023, bit.ly/KHRGFacebookPost25April2023.

[31] Photographic evidence provided to the Monitor by an officer of the KNLA via correspondence on Signal, 8–11 May 2023. The KNLA officer requested anonymity.

[32] Cluster bomb remnants were previously found in the same township after a July 2022 aerial attack that wounded 13 civilians. See, Amnesty International, “Myanmar: Deadly Cargo: Exposing the Supply Chain that Fuels War Crimes in Myanmar,” 3 November 2022, pp. 28–29, bit.ly/AmnestyMyanmar3Nov2022. Photographs of an impact ‘splatter’ pattern were identified by the Monitor as typical of a mortar strike. This was attributed to a submunition from an air-dropped cluster bomb in Kayah state in the Amnesty International report.

[33] KHRG, “Bombs and Bullets Like Rain: Air strikes in the ‘peace town’ and places of refuge in Dooplaya District: December 2021 to May 2022,”23 December 2022, bit.ly/KHRG23Dec2022. See, photographs of cluster bomb tail, nose, and interior framing bent from the impact, p. 10. KHRG had not identified the bomb type.

[34] Previously, the last evidence of cluster munition use in Syria was by government forces near Aleppo on 14 March 2021, but subsequent attacks could have gone unreported. According to Syria Civil Defense, cluster munitions were used in attacks on Al-Hamran and Tarhin villages, east of Aleppo, on 14 March 2021. See, The White Helmets (SyriaCivilDef), “The regime and Russia’s shelling on Tarhin and Al-Hamran villages east of #Aleppo yesterday has left unexploded cluster bombs that threaten the lives of civilians in the area. The #WhiteHelmets UXO teams scan the area to locate and destroy any unexploded cluster bombs.” 15 March 2021, 16:31 UTC. Tweet, https://bit.ly/3On0qyv.

[35] HRW, “Syria: Cluster Munitions Used in November 6 Attacks,” 23 November 2022, bit.ly/HRW23Nov2022; Human Rights Council, “Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic,” 7 February 2023, bit.ly/HRCSyria7Feb2023; and SNHR, “Investigation: The Syrian Regime Used Cluster Munitions to Target a Gathering of IDPs Camps in Northwestern Idlib City,” 21 March 2023, bit.ly/SNHRIdlib21March2023.

[36] HRW, “Russia/Syria: Extensive Recent Use of Cluster Munitions,” 20 December 2015, bit.ly/HRWRussiaSyria20Dec2015.

[37] More than 145 countries, including 53 non-signatories to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, have condemned use of cluster munitions in Syria through national statements and/or by endorsing resolutions or joint statements.

[38] “Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution 77/230, 9 January 2023, bit.ly/UNGASyria9Jan2023.

[39] See, for example, Human Rights Council, “The human rights situation in the Syrian Arab Republic,” A/HRC/52/L.16, 27 March 2023, bit.ly/HRCSyria27March2023.

[40] Human Rights Council, “Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic,” 7 February 2023, bit.ly/HRCSyria7Feb2023; Human Rights Council, “Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic,” 21 January 2021, bit.ly/HRCSyria21Jan2021; Human Rights Council, “Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic,” 28 January 2020, bit.ly/HRCSyria28Jan2020; Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) press release, ““They have erased the dreams of my children”: children’s rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” 13 January 2020, bit.ly/OHCHRSyria13Jan2020; and Human Rights Council, “The siege and recapture of eastern Ghouta,” 20 June 2018, bit.ly/HRCEasternGhouta20June2018.

[41] The loading, assembling, and packaging of submunitions and carrier munitions into a condition suitable for storage or use in combat is considered production of cluster munitions. Modifying the original manufacturers’ delivery configuration for improved combat performance is also considered a form of production.

[42] According to Rostec (the parent company of Splav State Research and Production Enterprise), Russian president Vladimir Putin reportedly set an objective in 2016 for the company to use only Russian components in the modernized multi-launch rocket systems. See, Rostec, “The New Rocket System Passes Official Tests,” 25 January 2017, rostec.ru/en/news/4519813/.

[43] Orbital ATK (formerly Alliant Techsystems) of Hopkins, Minnesota, US, manufactured a solid rocket motor for the BLU-108 canisters contained in the CBU-105 cluster munition, but produced it only for use in that weapon. See, Marjorie Censer, “Textron to discontinue production of sensor-fuzed weapon,” Inside Defense, 30 August 2016, bit.ly/TextronDiscontinue; and “Last US cluster-bomb maker to cease production,” Agence France-Presse (AFP), 1 September 2016, bit.ly/AFPClusterBombs1Sept2016.

[44] US Department of Defense, Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Estimates, RDT&E: Volume II, Budget Activity 5B, “Cannon-Delivered Area Effects Munitions,” March 2023, Volume 3B, pp. 154–163.

[45] Ibid. It is unclear if the original Israeli manufacturer is involved in this transfer of technology. Previously, in October 2020, Elbit Systems Ltd. stated that it had “discontinued production, sales and deliveries of IMI’s M999 submunition, as well as all other munitions that are prohibited under the Convention on Cluster Munitions.” Email to PAX from David Block Temin, Executive Vice President, Chief Compliance Officer, and Senior Counsel, Elbit Systems Ltd., 14 October 2020.

[46] US Department of Defense, Joint Program Executive Office: Armaments and Ammunition, “C-DAEM DPICM Replacement (XM1208),” undated, bit.ly/USDoDC-DAEM.

[47] US Department of Defense, Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Estimates, RDT&E: Volume III, Budget Activity 7, “Guided Multiple-Launch Rocket System (GMLRS),” March 2023, Volume 4B, pp. 301–308.

[48] For example, in April and October 2021, Türkiye informed the president of the Convention on Cluster Munitions that “Turkey has never used, produced, imported or transferred cluster munitions since 2005 and does not intend to do so in the future.” Letter to Amb. Aidan Liddle of the UK, President of the Tenth Meeting of States Parties of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, from Amb. Sadik Arslan, Permanent Representative of Türkiye to the UN in Geneva, 5 October 2021.

[49] Email to the Monitor from Dumitru Banut, General Director, AEROTEH S.A., 6 July 2023. A letter attached to the email referred to the company’s “Statement of Principles,” bit.ly/AEROTEHStatementofPrinciples. The letter also stated that during 2022, a meeting of AEROTEH S.A. shareholders decided “to delete from its object of activity ‘Manufacturing of Armament and Ammunition - CAEN code 2540’…from the industrial activities of our company.” According to the letter, the decision to delete this code “represents also, the commitment of AEROTEH S.A. not to manufacture any type of armaments or ammunition in the future, therefore implicitly no type of components for cluster submunitions.” See, AEROTEH S.A., “Decision of the Extraordinary General Assembly of Shareholders: AEROTEH S.A, No. 1 of 08.11.2022,” 8 November 2022, bit.ly/AEROTEHMeeting8Nov2022.

[50] See, Singapore Technologies Engineering website, www.stengg.com/en; PAX, “Singapore Technologies Engineering stops production of cluster munitions,” 19 November 2015, bit.ly/StopExplosiveSTE2015; and Local Authority Pension Fund Forum, “ST Engineering Quits Cluster Munitions,” 18 November 2015. The president of the company said the decision came about in part because “we often get asked by the investment community [about] our stand on cluster munitions.” Letter to PAX from Tan Pheng Hock, President and Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Technologies Engineering, 11 November 2015.

[51] According to Elbit Systems Ltd. vice president David Vaknin, “As part of the Elbit Systems organization, IMI Systems will not be continuing its prior activities with respect to cluster munitions. All of Elbit Systems activities relating to munitions, including those activities to be continued by IMI Systems, will be conducted in accordance with applicable international conventions or US law.” See, Tovah Lazaroff, “Elbit rejects HSBC’s BDS disclaimer stating: ‘We don’t produce cluster bombs’,” The Jerusalem Post, 3 January 2019, bit.ly/JerusalemPost3Jan2019; and PAX, “Elbit Systems confirms cluster munitions exit,” 23 January 2019, bit.ly/PAXElbitSystems23Jan2019.

[52] Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the UK did not report on the conversion or decommissioning of production facilities, most likely because production of cluster munitions ceased before they became States Parties to the convention. BiH, which inherited some of the production capacity of the former Yugoslavia, has declared that “There are no production facilities for [cluster munitions] in Bosnia and Herzegovina.” BiH Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form E, 20 August 2011. See, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Database, bit.ly/Article7DatabaseCCM.

[53] States Parties Chile, France, Germany, the Republic of Moldova, Slovakia, Spain, and the UK exported cluster munitions before they adopted the Convention on Cluster Munitions. At least 11 States Parties have transferred cluster munition stocks to other countries for the purposes of destruction: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK.

[54] For example, at the Munich Security Conference in February 2023, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, Olexander Kubrakov, and foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, appealed for Ukraine to be supplied with cluster munitions. Kubrakov said, “Russia is using cluster munitions every day. Our people are dying. Why can’t we receive and use such weapons? The US has millions of rounds, which we want. It’s complicated with conventions, but we can use such weapons.” See, Munich Security Conference, “Spotlight: Ukraine,” undated, bit.ly/MSCUkraine2023; and “NATO Secretary General rejects Ukraine’s demand for cluster munitions,” Ukrainska Pravda, 18 February 2023, bit.ly/UkrainskaPravda18Feb2023.

[55] “Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan,” The White House, 7 July 2023, bit.ly/WhiteHousePressBriefing7July2023; and US Department of Defense, “Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Dr. Colin Kahl Holds Press Briefing,” 7 July 2023, bit.ly/DoDPressBriefing7July2023.

[56] US Department of Defense press release, “Biden Administration Announces Additional Security Assistance for Ukraine,” 7 July 2023, bit.ly/DoDPressRelease7July2023.

[57] US Department of Defense, “Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Dr. Colin Kahl Holds Press Briefing,” 7 July 2023, bit.ly/DoDPressBriefing7July2023.

[58] John Ismay, “Cluster Weapons U.S. Is Sending Ukraine Often Fail to Detonate,” The New York Times, 8 July 2023, bit.ly/NewYorkTimes8July2023; andKaren DeYoung, Alex Horton, and Missy Ryan, “Biden approves cluster munition supply to Ukraine,” The Washington Post, 7 July 2023, bit.ly/WashingtonPost7July2023.

[59] Oleksii Reznikov (oleksiireznikov), “We welcome the decision of the US to provide Ukraine with the new liberation weapons that will significantly help us to de-occupy our territories while saving the lives of the Ukrainian soldiers.” 7 July 2023, 21:13 UTC. Tweet, bit.ly/OleksiiReznikovTweet7July2023.

[60] Ibid. The five “key principles” are summarized by the Monitor as: Ukraine will use cluster munitions on its own territory and not in Russia; Ukraine will not use cluster munitions “in urban areas (cities)” and “only in the fields where there is a concentration of Russian military;” Ukraine will keep a strict record of its use of cluster munitions and “the local zones where they will be used;” areas where cluster munitions are used by Ukraine will be prioritized for post-conflict clearance; and Ukraine will “report to our partners about the use of these munitions, and about their efficiency to ensure the appropriate standard of transparent reporting and control.”

[61] Australia, Austria, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Germany, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Lao PDR, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Philippines, Spain, Switzerland, and UK.

[62] Clerk of the US House of Representatives, “Final vote results for roll call 317 on HR2670, recorded vote, Green of Georgia Amendment No. 48,” 13 July 2023, bit.ly/USHouseVote13July2023.

[63] Branko Marcetic, “As Cluster Bombs Head to Ukraine, Progressive Dissent on the War Is Suddenly Allowed Again,” Jacobian, 14 July 2023, bit.ly/Jakobian14July2023.

[64] In June 2023, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US Army, Gen. Mark Milley, told media that “other European countries have provided some” cluster munitions to Ukraine in recent months. See, Ashley Roque, “White House weighing controversial cluster munitions deliveries to Ukraine,” Breaking Defense, 30 June 2023, bit.ly/BreakingDefense30June2023; Sabrina Singh, Deputy Press Secretary, US Department of Defense, on “Meet The Press NOW – July 13,” NBC News, YouTube.com, 13 July 2023, bit.ly/NBCNewsYouTube13July2023; and US Department of Defense, “Lt. Gen. Douglas A. Sims II (USA), Director for Operations, J-3, The Joint Staff; Brigadier General Pat Ryder, Pentagon Press Secretary, Hold a Press Briefing,” 13 July 2023, bit.ly/USDoDBriefing13July2023.

[65] Jack Detsch and Robbie Gramer, “Turkey Is Sending Cold War-Era Cluster Bombs to Ukraine,” Foreign Policy, 10 January 2023, bit.ly/ForeignPolicy10Jan2023. The Turkish president’s spokesperson, Ibrahim Kalin, denied the report and reportedly stated, “We don't have cluster munitions and we haven’t provided them to Ukraine.” Ragip Soylu, “Russia-Ukraine war: Turkey denies supplying Kyiv with cluster munitions,” Middle East Eye, 14 January 2023, bit.ly/MiddleEastEye14Jan2023. Ukraine’s ambassador to Türkiye, Vasyl Bodnar, denied the alleged transfer as “Russian propaganda.” See, Mustafa Devici, “Ukrainian envoy in Türkiye denies claims Ankara sending cluster bombs to Ukraine,” Anadolu Agency, 11 January 2023, bit.ly/AnadoluAgency11Jan2023.

[66] Letter to Amb. Aidan Liddle of the UK, President of the Tenth Meeting of States Parties of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, from Amb. Sadik Arslan, Permanent Representative of Türkiye to the UN in Geneva, 5 October 2021; and statement of Türkiye, Convention on Cluster Munitions Tenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 30 August 2022, bit.ly/TurkiyeStatement30Aug2022.

[67] Madis Hindre, “Estonia weighing giving Ukraine cluster munitions,” ERR News, 26 January 2023, bit.ly/ERRNews26Jan2023.

[68] Antonia Faltermaier, “Cluster bombs for Ukraine? Pistorius makes a clear statement,” Berliner Morgenpost, 23 February 2023, bit.ly/BerlinerMorgenpost23Feb2023.

[69] Each M971 120mm mortar projectile delivers 24 M87 DPICM submunitions. See, War in Ukraine (Rinegati), “In Ukraine, something very similar to Israeli M971 mortar cluster munitions has been spotted. Unlike standard cluster munitions, the M971 has a built-in self-destruct mechanism for unexploded submunitions, making them much safer for civilians.” 12:50 UTC, 18 December 2022. Tweet, bit.ly/UkraineWarTweet18Dec2022; Ukraine Weapons Tracker (UAWeapons), “Who supplied them to Ukraine? That’s not clear. A very limited number of countries reported possession of such mortar bombs and we tend to believe what we see was exported from a country which previously purchased these bombs from Israel.” 20:18 UTC, 17 December 2022. Tweet, bit.ly/UkraineWeaponsTrackerTweet17Dec2022; and “Ukraine received M971 cluster bombs (VIDEO),” UA.TV, 18 December 2022, bit.ly/UATV18Dec2022.

[70] There is no comprehensive accounting of global transfers of cluster munitions, but at least seven States Parties exported them in the past (Chile, France, Germany, Republic of Moldova, Slovakia, Spain, and the UK) in addition to exports by non-signatories Brazil, Egypt, Israel, Russia, South Korea, Türkiye, US, and the former Yugoslavia.

[71] Recipients of US exports include Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, Türkiye, the UAE, and the UK, as well as Taiwan.

[72] Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Egypt, Georgia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, India, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Libya, Republic of Moldova, Mongolia, Mozambique, North Korea, North Macedonia, Peru, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Yemen. In addition, cluster munition remnants of Soviet origin have been identified in South Sudan and Sudan.

[73] The number of countries that have stockpiled cluster munitions has increased significantly since 2002, when HRW provided the first list identifying 56 states that stockpiled cluster munitions. This is largely due to new information disclosed by States Parties under the Convention on Cluster Munitions. HRW, “Memorandum to CCW Delegates: A Global Overview of Explosive Submunitions,” 20 May 2002.

[74] This information is drawn from Monitor Cluster Munition Ban Policy country profiles, which in turn use information provided by states in their Article 7 transparency reports as well as statements and other sources. Armenia has been added to the list of stockpilers following evidence of its use of cluster munitions in 2020.

[75] The Republic of Moldova has reported that it transferred 860 9M27K-series cluster munition rockets, each containing 30 fragmentation submunitions, to Guinea in 2000, for use in its 220mm Uragan multi-barrel rocket launchers. Republic of Moldova, UN Register of Conventional Arms, Submission for calendar year 2000, 30 May 2001.

[76]This table lists the total number of cluster munitions declared by these States Parties, and does not reflect the cluster munitions destroyed to date.

[77] Bulgaria Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 29 June 2017; Bulgaria Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 30 April 2019; and Bulgaria Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 25 April 2020. The Greek-made GRM-20 4.2-inch (107mm) mortar system uses these projectiles, each of which contain 20 submunitions.

[78] CMC meeting with Risha Jilian Chaniago, Second Secretary, Permanent Mission of Indonesia to the UN in Geneva, Geneva, 24 June 2022.

[79]Statement of Angola, Convention on Cluster Munitions Seventh Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 4 September 2017, bit.ly/CCMStatementAngola4Sep2017.

[80] Statement of the Central African Republic, Convention on Cluster Munitions Second Meeting of States Parties, Beirut, 14 September 2011, bit.ly/StatementCAR14Sep2011.

[81] Nigeria Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form E, 30 March 2023.

[82] Statement of the US, CCW Fourth Review Conference, Geneva, 14 November 2011, bit.ly/CCWUSStatement14Nov2011. The types of cluster munitions included in this figure were listed on a slide projected during an informal briefing to CCW delegates by a member of the US delegation. Several of the types (such as CBU-58, CBU-55B, and M509A1) were not listed in the “active” or “total” inventory by the US Department of Defense in a report to Congress in 2004.

[83] “Time schedule for cluster bomb disposal: Attachment 1.4,” undated. This document was provided by the press office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Secretariat, 7 May 2014.

[84] “The Ministry of Defense of Venezuela destroys cluster bombs,” InfoDefensa, 26 August 2011, bit.ly/InfoDefensa26Aug2011.

[85] See the relevant Monitor country profiles for further information, www.the-monitor.org/cp. Some quantities of cluster munitions and/or submunitions have changed since previous reports due to adjusted information provided in Article 7 reports. In addition, before the convention took effect, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the UK destroyed a collective total of 712,977 cluster munitions containing more than 78 million submunitions.

[86] In September 2011, the Republic of the Congo stated that it had no stockpiles of cluster munitions on its territory. In May 2013, it reported that it had destroyed its remaining 372 antipersonnel landmines that were held for training and research purposes, following the massive explosions at a weapons depot in Brazzaville in March 2012. It reported that it was now a country free of landmines and cluster munitions. Statement of the Republic of the Congo, Convention on Cluster Munitions Second Meeting of States Parties, Beirut, 15 September 2011,bit.ly/StatementRepCongo15Sep2011; statement by Col. Nkoua, National Focal Point of the Struggle Against Mines, seminar to mark the 20th Anniversary of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) hosted by the Congolese Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Bombs (CCBL), Kinshasa, 19 December 2012; and statement of the Republic of the Congo, Lomé Regional Seminar on the Universalization of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Lomé, 22 May 2013. Notes by Action on Armed Violence (AOAV).

[87] Guinea-Bissau Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 1 January 2020; and statement of Guinea-Bissau, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fifth Meeting of States Parties, San Jose, 3 September 2014, bit.ly/StatementGuinea-BissauSep2014. Guinea-Bissau told States Parties that it had asked for help to destroy its stockpile in 2013 from the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), which had conducted a technical assessment in 2011 that found the cluster munition stocks were held by the armed forces “in very bad conditions.” See, statement of Guinea-Bissau, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fourth Meeting of States Parties, Lusaka, 11 September 2013, bit.ly/StatementGuinea-Bissau11Sep2013. A 2011 inventory review by the National Mine Action Coordination Center (Centro Nacional de Coordenação da Acção Anti-Minas, CAAMI) found that an air force base in Bissau City held stocks of cluster munitions. Interview with César Luis Gomes Lopes de Carvalho, General Director, CAAMI, in Geneva, 27 June 2011. RBK-series air-dropped bombs and PTAB-2.5 submunitions were among munitions ejected by an explosion at anammunition storage facility on the outskirts of Bissau City in 2000. See, Cleared Ground Demining, “Guinea Bissau,” undated, bit.ly/ClearedGroundGuinea-Bissau.

[88] Statement of Guinea-Bissau, Convention on Cluster Munitions intersessional meetings, Geneva, 19 May 2022, bit.ly/Guinea-BissauStatement19May2022; and Guinea-Bissau Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form C, 6 July 2022.

[89] According to officials, the stockpile of air-dropped Rockeye cluster bombs and an unidentified type of artillery-delivered cluster munition were destroyed before 2007. HRW meetings with Honduran officials, in San José, 5 September 2007, and in Vienna, 3–5 December 2007.

[90] Email to Mary Wareham, Advocacy Director, Arms Division, HRW, from Stoyan N. Karastoyanov, Chief Expert, EU and International Organizations Department, Defence Policy and Planning Directorate, Bulgaria Ministry of Defence, 7 July 2023.

[91]Bulgaria Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 28 April 2023.

[92] During the first half of 2023, Bulgaria destroyed: 46 RBK 250-275 AO-1 SCh bombs and 6,900 submunitions; 120 RBK 500 AO-2.5 RT bombs and 7,200 submunitions; 15 RBK 500 SHOAB-O.5M bombs and 8,190 submunitions; 672 BKF AO-2.5 RT bombs and 8,064 submunitions; 1,431 BKF AO-2.5 RTM bombs and 17,172 submunitions; and one RBS 100 AO-25-33 bomb and three submunitions. Email to Mary Wareham, HRW, from Stoyan N. Karastoyanov, Chief Expert, EU and International Organizations Department, Defence Policy and Planning Directorate, Bulgaria Ministry of Defence, 10 July 2023.

[93] Statement of Peru, Convention on Cluster Munitions Tenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 31 August 2022, bit.ly/PeruStatement31Aug2022.

[94] Statement of Slovakia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Tenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 31 August 2022, bit.ly/SlovakiaStatement31Aug2022.

[95] Statement of South Africa, Convention on Cluster Munitions Tenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 31 August 2022, bit.ly/SouthAfricaStatement31Aug2022. South Africa has regularly expressed its intent to meet the stockpile destruction deadline. See, statement of South Africa, Convention on Cluster Munitions Ninth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 2 September 2019, bit.ly/SouthAfricaStatement2Sept2019; and statement of South Africa, Convention on Cluster Munitions Eighth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 3 September 2018, bit.ly/SouthAfricaStatement3Sept2018.

[96] South Africa Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 23 June 2023.

[97] For more information on retention, including the specific types of cluster munitions retained by each country, see Monitor country profiles, www.the-monitor.org/cp; and the Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Database, bit.ly/Article7DatabaseCCM.

[98] Germany Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form C, 31 March 2023.

[99] Switzerland Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form C, 30 April 2023.

[100] Spain Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form C, 22 May 2023; and BiH Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form D, 19 May 2023.

[101]Belgium Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form C, 30 April 2023.

[102]Cameroon Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form C, 27 June 2023.

[103] Afghanistan, Austria, BiH, Botswana, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Hungary, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Mozambique, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Slovenia, and UK.

[104]The transparency report should be emailed to the UN Secretary-General via the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs at ccm@un.org. For more information, see: www.clusterconvention.org/reporting-forms.

[105] Afghanistan, Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belize, Benin, BiH, Bolivia, Botswana, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eswatini, Fiji, France, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Holy See, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Republic of Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Niue, North Macedonia, Norway, Palau, Palestine, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, UK, Uruguay, and Zambia. See, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Database, bit.ly/Article7DatabaseCCM.

[106] Benin, Burundi, Fiji, Iceland, Lesotho, Mali, Nauru, Niue, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sierra Leone, and Sri Lanka.

[107] Often states do not provide definitive statements throughout their reports. Notably, some simply submit “not applicable.” States should, for example, include a short narrative statement on Form E on conversion of production facilities, i.e., “Country X never produced cluster munitions,” instead of simply putting “N/A” on the form. In addition, only a small number of states used voluntary Form J.

[108] Nigeria Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form A, 30 March 2023.

[109] Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Republic of the Congo, Eswatini, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, and Zambia.

[110] Albania, Andorra, Benin, BiH, Bolivia, Chad, Chile, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Denmark, El Salvador, Fiji, Guyana, Holy See, Honduras, Iraq, Lithuania, Malta, Mauritania, Mexico, Republic of Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Mozambique, Nauru, Netherlands, Nicaragua, North Macedonia, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, San Marino, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, and Uruguay.

[111]CMC, “2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions: Model Legislation. Act to implement the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” 2020, bit.ly/CMCModelLegislation2020.

[112]HRW and IHRC, “Staying Strong: Key Components and Positive Precedent for Convention on Cluster Munitions Legislation,” September 2014, bit.ly/StayingStrong2014.

[113]ICRC, “Model Law: Convention on Cluster Munitions: Legislation for Common Law States on the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions,” March 2013, bit.ly/CCMModelLegislationICRC.

[114]New Zealand, “Model Legislation: Cluster Munitions Act,” 7 September 2011, bit.ly/CCMModelLegislationNZ2011.

[115] The States Parties that have yet to publicly elaborate a view on any of these interpretive issues include: Afghanistan, Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Cabo Verde, Cook Islands, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Eswatini, Fiji, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Iraq, Lesotho, Lithuania, Maldives, Mauritania, Republic of Moldova, Monaco, Mozambique, Nauru, Palau, Palestine, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, São Tomé and Príncipe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, and Uruguay.

[116] As of July 2012, Wikileaks had made public a total of 428 cables relating to cluster munitions, that originated from 100 locations between 2003 and 2010.

[117] Austria, Belgium, BiH, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cameroon, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, DRC, Ecuador, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Holy See, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Portugal, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Senegal, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and Togo. See, CMC, Cluster Munition Monitor 2012 (Geneva: ICBL-CMC, September 2012), pp. 34–35, bit.ly/ClusterMunitionMonitor2012; CMC, Cluster Munition Monitor 2011 (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, October 2011), pp. 25–27, bit.ly/ClusterMunitionMonitor2011; ICBL, Cluster Munition Monitor 2010 (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, October 2010), pp. 20–21, bit.ly/ClusterMunitionMonitor2010; HRW and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 25–26, bit.ly/HRWLandmineAction2009; and HRW and IHRC, “Staying Strong: Key Components and Positive Precedent for Convention on Cluster Munitions Legislation,” 3 September 2014, pp. 19–23, bit.ly/StayingStrong2014.

[118] Austria, Belgium, BiH, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, DRC, Ecuador, France, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Holy See, Ireland, Lao PDR, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Philippines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Senegal, Slovenia, Spain, and Zambia. See, CMC, Cluster Munition Monitor 2011 (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, October 2011), pp. 27–29, bit.ly/ClusterMunitionMonitor2011; ICBL, Cluster Munition Monitor 2010 (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, October 2010), pp. 20–21, bit.ly/ClusterMunitionMonitor2010; and HRW and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 25–26, bit.ly/HRWLandmineAction2009.

[119] See Action 47 in “Annex II: Lausanne Action Plan,” Final Report of the Second Review Conference of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, CCM/CONF/2021/6, 6 October 2021, bit.ly/LausanneActionPlanAnnexII.

[120] Australia, BiH, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Republic of the Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, DRC, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Holy See, Hungary, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malawi, Malta, Mauritania, Mexico, Montenegro, Niger, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Slovenia, Trinidad and Tobago, UK, and Zambia.