Suspected Cluster-munition Use by Pro-Gaddafi Forces

In April 2011, The New York Times reported that pro-Gaddafi forces used cluster munitions on the civilian population in the city of Misrata.1 Human Rights Watchs on-the-ground inspection discovered the use of Spanish-made MAT-120 120mm mortars produced in 2007, prior to Spains signing of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, targeting residential areas one kilometer away from front-line fighting.2 The mortar “opens in mid-air and releases 21 submunitions over a wide area.”2 A further interview with ambulance drivers conducted by HRW discovered that cluster attacks occurred before 14 April.2 Despite the Libyan government’s denial of cluster-bomb use, doctors in Misrata acknowledge that patient wounds are consistent with cluster munitions.3 HRW describes the danger of these munitions as anti-personnel, as well as anti-material, because the munitions are designed to not only hurt people but damage armored vehicles.2 Libya is not a signatory of the CCM. J

~ Zarina Yancheva, CISR staff

Center for International Stabilization and Recovery
James Madison University
800 S. Main St. MSC 4902
Harrisonburg, VA 22807
cisr(at)jmu.edu
http://cisr.jmu.edu

Endnotes

  1. Chivers, C.J. “Gaddafi Troops Fire Cluster Bombs into Civilian Areas.” The New York Times, 15 April 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/16/world/africa/16libya.html?_r=4&partner=rss&emc=rss. Accessed 17 June 2011.
  2. Human Rights Watch. “Libya: Cluster Munitions Strike Misrata.” 17 June 2011. http://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2011/04/15/libya-cluster-munitions-strike-misrata. Accessed 18 April 2011.
  3. Sherwood, Harriet. “Libya: Gaddafi forces ‘using cluster bombs in Misrata.’ ” 15 April 2011. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/15/libya-cluster-bomb-misrata. Accessed 17 June 2011.