International Cluster Bomb Ban Imminent

30 May 2008 (Last Updated May 30th, 2008 06:22)

More than 100 countries have agreed to sign a treaty to ban the use of cluster bombs. The treaty, developed in Dublin this week, will outlaw all current designs and require the destruction of stockpiles within eight years. Expected to be signed in December, the draft declares

More than 100 countries have agreed to sign a treaty to ban the use of cluster bombs.

The treaty, developed in Dublin this week, will outlaw all current designs and require the destruction of stockpiles within eight years.

Expected to be signed in December, the draft declares that a signatory nation "undertakes never under any circumstances to use cluster munitions" nor "develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer to anyone, directly or indirectly, cluster munitions," the Associated Press reports.

The pact would allow countries that sign the treaty to keep cooperating militarily with those that do not, a concession to the US, who were not involved in the talks.

The treaty's detailed definition of what a cluster bomb is - and is not - also leaves the door open for signatories to develop a future generation of smaller cluster bombs that pick targets more precisely and contain self-destruct technology.

The document specifies that future designs will be permitted if each bomb, shell or rocket contains fewer than ten 'bomblets' inside.

In addition, each bomblet must weigh more than 4kg; contain targeting technology designed to single out a target; and have inbuilt security measures that defuse any duds.

By staff writer