Cluster munitions are weapons which disperse explosive submunitions from a larger container. Submunitions do not always function as designed and unexploded bomblets pose a hazard to civilians and their livelihoods long after conflict has ended.
The Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) is a treaty that prohibits cluster munitions and which requires member states to address the humanitarian consequences they cause. It obliges States Parties to report accurately on the cluster munitions in their possession.
However, weapons within any one country can come from a variety of sources – purchased from several foreign governments over many previous years or left behind when allies withdraw or conflicts end, and non-technical staff may find it difficult to understand the significant differences in definitions. This could result in uncertainty about which stockpiled weapons must be reported on, especially as the definitions of cluster munitions under Article 2 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions are detailed.
In response to this problem, the GICHD has, together with its partners, created a Cluster Munition Identification tool (CM ID tool). The tool is a web-based system that allows for the easy identification of cluster munitions so that staff can assess whether or not they fall within the categories banned under the CCM.
It provides an easily accessible and searchable database with graphic navigation and identification of cluster munitions based on weapon category. It shows types and combinations of explosive submunitions and cluster munitions.
Additionally the tool provides advice on evidence of remains of bomblets and cluster munitions, such as nylon ribbons, parachutes, and metal fragments. It also provides a series of images of typical strike patterns of the most common cluster munition types.
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The GICHD would like to thank the Governments of Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Norway, Spain and Sweden for supporting this project with the provision of technical data on cluster munitions and to the Governments of Japan, Norway and Switzerland for supporting this project financially. The GICHD would also like to thank the following organisations and companies for their assistance in this project: Ballard Chalmers, Fenix Insight, Golden West Humanitarian Foundation, Fort and Human Rights Watch.
For more information please contact Samuel Paunila