Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Convention on Cluster Munitions

Today, the Convention on Cluster Munitions opens for signature in Oslo. The United States will not be among the signatories. However, the U.S. Department of Defense has recently indicated that, as a matter of policy, by 2018 it will not employ cluster munitions that, after arming, "result in more than 1% unexploded ordnance (UXO) across the range of intended operational environments." An alternative process for the conclusion of a treaty pertaining to the use of cluster munitions is ongoing within the framework of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW). The United States is taking part in those negotiations, as are other major users, producers, and stockpilers of cluster munitions. The chairman's draft of this CCW protocol (as of October 30, 2008) is available here (click on the fifth 2008 session of the Group of Governmental Experts).