Cluster bombs according to a report by Humans Right Watch, have been used against the city of Misrata. It has come to attention since cluster bombs are used to strike large areas and are indiscriminate. NATO have been given the task to protect the Libyan people under threat by Col. Gadaffi under a UN mandate.
The UN and its country leaders/spokesperson have recognized that Col. Gadaffi is already targeting his own people. – Through early reports of mercenaries funded by the Libyan government shooting at peaceful protesters early before coalition intervention. The use of cluster bombs merely solidifies disregard for civilian losses.
The Libyan government has denied the use of cluster bombs.
The type of munition which is said to have been used, comes from Spain, called the MAT-120, produced by weapons manufacturer Instalaza SA. These cluster munitions can be dropped by artillery, mortars or aircraft. It is believed they were fired by either mobile artillery guns or mortar positions as the west has tightly controlled the airspace since the starting of the conflict. This particular munition (MAT-120) contains 22 smaller sub-munitions which are what eventually fall onto whatever area the munition is fired upon.
It is not the fact that Libya are using cluster bombs, it is how they are using them which is the problem. Under international law, the Libyan government cannot be seen as targeting its own civilians. Though it already has been, this helps solidifies the case or argument that Col. Gadaffi is targeting civilians or has no regard to deaths which may occur through the use of this munition.
These cluster bombs are indiscriminate, especially so when falling onto the city of Misrata, which in-effect means that if the Libyan government is indeed using cluster bombs, NATO can go further in helping the the people in achieving the elimination of its use in Libya by a likely aerial bombing.
NATO have already been urged by Foreign Ministers of France and the UK to do more. — This point concludes these member countries are seeking more aerial bombardments on Col. Gadaffi’s forces and this would be legal under a UN mandate especially with new evidence of the use of cluster bombs as cluster bombs have been banned for use by 43 countries under the Convention on Cluster Munitions. However Libya are not included in this list of 43 countries, these weapons invoke the disregard for civilian life when used in cities such as Misrata. – Which further builds a case against Gadaffi’s regime and its use of weaponry.
Humans Rights Watch¹ have openly given out photo’s which can be viewed here:
In a NATO summit in Berlin, Secretary General Anders, stated that NATO had the equipment to continue aerial bombardment. However stated the mission changed since targeting came an issue as Libyan armoured vehicles are now operating inside cities such as Misrata. Collateral damage is one problem along with the high chance of civilian casualties which NATO would very much try to avoid in the headlines. Though bombarding the launch positions of these cluster bombs can be achieved as mortar/artillery positions fire from a distance, usually not from within cities. The use of rockets have also been apparent, they are also other indiscriminate weapons as they simply drop when they run out fuel, meaning they can hit anything, including civilians dependant on the direction they are fired at. The use of mortars and rockets have been used by both sides, however it is the Libyan forces under Gadaffi using them against cities, occupied by civilians. — Which brings the attention of protecting the civilians under fire.
According to a report by the BBC, it said “The US, UK and France said in a joint statement that the threat to Libyan civilians will not disappear while Colonel Muammar Gaddafi remains in power.”
We heard calls from President Obama stating this was not about regime change, but inadvertently, has this come to regime change?