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Cluster Munitions

Volume 451: debated on Tuesday 7 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale (Tim Farron) of 30 October 2006, Official Report, column 11, on cluster munitions, what definition he uses of ‘properly used’ in relation to the use of cluster munitions in conflict. (99418)

We regard cluster munitions as being used properly when they are used against legitimate targets, and when their use against such targets is based on an assessment that takes into account the nature of that target, the weapons available, and the legal requirements. Prior to the use of any munitions, the UK follows a detailed targeting procedure, to ensure that the UK complies with the rules of proportionality, non-discrimination and distinction in International Humanitarian Law.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 30 October 2006, Official Report, column 11, to the hon. Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale (Tim Farron), on cluster munitions, when he last carried out a review into the consistency of the use of cluster munitions with international humanitarian law. (99419)

The lawful use of any weapon system, including cluster munitions, is scrutinised as part of operational planning, and during the targeting process. This includes consideration of International Humanitarian Law, including the principles of discrimination, proportionality, necessity and humanity.