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Cluster Munitions

Volume 702: debated on Monday 16 June 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What further consultation they will undertake before signing the draft convention on cluster munitions recently agreed in Dublin. [HL3971]

As I made clear in the House on 3 June (Official Report, col. 79) we plan to sign the treaty in Oslo in December. Ratification will follow once both Houses have approved the necessary implementing legislation. We are committed to moving forward as speedily as possible.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What limitations will be imposed on the United Kingdom as a signatory to the convention on cluster munitions; and what descriptions of munitions of this kind the United Kingdom will continue to be permitted to manufacture and use. [HL3972]

Article 1 of the text of the convention adopted in Dublin on 30 May prohibits future states parties from using, developing, producing, otherwise acquiring, stockpiling, retaining or transferring to anyone, whether directly or indirectly, cluster munitions. It also prohibits future states parties from assisting, encouraging or inducing anyone to engage in prohibited activity. Article 19 prevents future states parties from entering reservations against the convention.

The text offers, for the first time, an internationally agreed definition of cluster munitions, based on certain physical and technical criteria. Munitions not falling under the definition of a cluster munition are outside the scope of the convention and are not subject to its provisions. One such munition is the ballistic sensor-fused munition, which is due to enter service with the UK Armed Forces in 2012. As I made clear in the House on 3 June (Official Report, col. 80), Dublin participants were satisfied that this weapon will serve its military purpose without contributing to the post-conflict humanitarian problems which the convention is designed to address.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What are the categories of, and the estimated number of, cluster munitions they need to destroy as a signatory to the convention on cluster munitions; and what is the book value of such munitions. [HL3973]

In line with the provisions of the adopted convention on cluster munitions, the UK will be disposing of:

56,000 L20A1 extended range bomblet shells, with M85 sub-munitions and a net book value of £33 million; and

4,270 CRV-7 multi-purpose sub-munitions, with M73 sub-munitions and a net book value of £1.6 million.