Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM)

The Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) is an international treaty that prohibits all use, transfer, production and stockpiling of cluster bombs.

About cluster munition

  • It is an explosive weapon that releases smaller sub-munitions over a large area.
  • It ejects explosive bombs that are designed to kill personnel, destroy vehicles and critical infrastructure like power lines, disperse chemical/biological weapons, etc.
  • They can be dropped from an aircraft or launched in a projectile that spins in flight, scattering many bombs as it travels.

Dangers of cluster munition

  • As cluster munitions are non-precision weapons and they release many small bombs over a large area that can indiscriminately kill civilians.
  • Many of these bombs don’t explode immediately but continue to lie on the ground.
  • It is difficult to locate and remove such unexploded bombs. Hence, even long after the conflict is over they continue to pose threat to the life of civilians.

About CCM

  • It was adopted in Dublin, Ireland, in 2008. It entered into force on 1 August 2010, six months after it was ratified by 30 states.
  • 123 states have joined the Convention, with 110 states that have ratified it, and 13 states have signed the Convention but not yet ratified it. (As of 10th February 2022).
  • Russia and Ukraine are not signatories to this convention.
  • Apart from prohibiting cluster bombs, the convention also establishes a framework to support the victim assistance, clearance of contaminated sites, risk reduction education, and stockpile destruction.
  • It also specifically identifies “cluster munition remnants”, which include “failed or abandoned cluster munitions, unexploded submunitions, and unexploded bomblets”.

Obligations

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.

Exceptions

  • Certain weapons with submunitions that do not have indiscriminate area effects or pose the same unexploded ordnance risks as cluster munitions are allowed.
  • Permitted weapons must contain fewer than ten submunitions, and each must weigh more than 4 kilograms and must contain self-deactivation mechanisms.
  • A limited number of prohibited weapons can be acquired for training and development of, detection, clearance, and destruction techniques and counter-measures.

Russia-Ukraine war

Human rights groups Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and Ukraine’s ambassador to the USA, accused Russia of using cluster bombs in the ongoing war against Ukraine.

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