• "Cluster munition" means a conventional munition that is designed to disperse or release explosive submunitions each weighing less than 20 kilograms, and includes those explosive submunitions.
• A cluster munition is a form of air-dropped or ground-launched explosive weapon that releases or ejects smaller submunitions.
• Commonly, this is a cluster bomb that ejects explosive bomblets that are designed to kill personnel and destroy vehicles.
• Other cluster munitions are designed to destroy runways or electric power transmission lines, disperse chemical or biological weapons, or to scatter land mines.
• Some submunition-based weapons can disperse non-munitions, such as leaflets.
Convention on Cluster Munitions:
• The Convention on Cluster Munitions was concluded by the Dublin Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions at Dublin on 30 May 2008.
• The Convention entered into force and became binding international law upon ratifying states on 1 August 2010.
• It bans the stockpiling, use and transfer of virtually all existing cluster bombs and provides for the clearing up of unexploded munitions.
• It had been signed by 108 countries, of which 38 had ratified it by the affected date, but many of the world's major military powers including the United States, Russia, Brazil and China are not signatories to the treaty.
Countries that ratify the convention will be obliged "never under any circumstances to":
• Use cluster munitions;
• Develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer to anyone, directly or indirectly, cluster munitions;
• Assist, encourage or induce anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Convention.
It also includes several positive obligations to ensure no further use and to redress past harm caused by the weapons.
Under the terms of the Convention, a number of responsibilities have been entrusted to the Secretary-General of the UN, including:
– Collection and dissemination of transparency reports by and to the States parties;
– Facilitation of clarification of compliance;
– Convening of the Meetings of States Parties.
• The convention addresses the humanitarian consequences and unacceptable harm caused to civilians by cluster munitions, through a categorical prohibition and a framework for action.
• The Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) is an international civil society movement campaigning against the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions.
• The CMC, formed in November 2003, is a network of civil society organizations, including NGOs, faith-based groups and professional organizations.