HRW claim re. cluster bombs


This post does not seek to condone war crimes by Libyan forces. War is a dirty business.

See Amnesty International report:


Amnesty 2010 report


US cluster bombs in Yemen:


A June 7 report from Amnesty International offers photographs of US-made cluster bombs that it says were used in a December attack against suspected Al Qaeda members.

Also see prison population rates per 100 000 of national population. Kings College London

US tops the list 743. Libya is at number 61 with 200.


Sky News 16th 2011

See Human Rights Watch Researched

Libya's military has fired controversial cluster munitions into residential areas as it battles rebels for control of the western city of Misratah, a human rights group says.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said it saw at least three of the controversial devices - which scatter a number of smaller bomblets over the target - explode over the al Shawahda neighbourhood on April 14. Researchers also inspected the remnants of a cluster submunition discovered by a New York Times reporter, which the group said was from a Spanish-produced mortar projectile.

The majority of countries in the world have banned the use of cluster munitions through the Convention on Cluster Munitions, but Libya is not among the signatories. The area where HRW witnessed the use of cluster munitions is near the front line in the fighting which has raged for six weeks. However, Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim rejected the allegations.

"I challenge them to prove it," he said. "To use these bombs, the evidence would remain for days and weeks, and we know the international community is coming en masse to our country soon, so we can't do this."

Rebels said pro-Gaddafi forces fired mortars at residential areas in Misratah on Saturday and that three people were killed in clashes there. A Red Cross team has arrived in the city to assess the situation and help civilians trapped by the fighting. Earlier this week, the organisation said it was opening an office in the capital Tripoli at the invitation of the Libyan government.

HRW said it had not been able to confirm if civilians had been killed or wounded by cluster munitions in Misratah, but said their use was "appalling".

"They pose a huge risk to civilians, both during attacks because of their indiscriminate nature and afterward because of the still-dangerous unexploded duds scattered about," said Steve Goose, HRW's arms division director.

The accusations came as Colonel Gaddafi's forces bombarded Misratah with hundreds of rockets and reportedly battled their way into the city centre.

"Today was very tough... Gaddafi's forces entered Tripoli Street and Nakl al Theqeel road," a rebel spokesman said.

"Witnesses said they saw pro-Gaddafi soldiers on foot in the city centre today. Except for snipers, they usually stay in their tanks and armoured vehicles."

Anti-Gaddafi forces in Misratah have complained that Nato is not doing enough to help them, and it was reported that a Libyan military reconnaissance helicopter was able to fly over the city on Friday.

Meanwhile, six people have been killed and 20 wounded in fighting west of the Libyan town of Ajdabiya, medics said.

Rocket fire by forces loyal to Col Gaddafi struck rebel positions between Ajdabiya and Brega, they claimed.

Britain and France are seeking to convince Nato allies to provide greater fire power, but US President Barack Obama has said the US will not increase its military role.

However, Nato's secretary general has said he expects member nations to provide extra ground-attack aircraft to strike Col Gaddafi's forces.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he was confident military commanders would get the additional resources soon, despite a meeting of the alliance ending with no concrete commitments.