Thursday, May 29, 2008

Convention on Cluster Munitions

Yesterday, 111 countries adopted the Convention on Cluster Munitions at a diplomatic conference in Dublin. (New York Times story here; Washington Post story here; BBC story here; The Guardian stories here and here; Times story here.) Article 1 of the Convention provides that "Each State Party undertakes never under any circumstances to: a) Use cluster munitions; b) Develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile, retain anyone, directly or indirectly, cluster munitions; c) Assist, encourage or induce anyone to engage prohibited to a State Party under this Convention." (What appears to be the final or near-final text is available here.) A signing ceremony will take place in Oslo in December. Brazil, China, India, Israel, Pakistan, Russia, and the United States boycotted the conference. The United Kingdom agreed to the conference text at the conclusion of the negotiations once language was drafted that allowed parties to the Convention to "engage in military cooperation and operations with States not parties to this Convention that might engage in activities prohibited to a State party" (article 21(3)).