Cluster Munitions

Defence written question – answered on 23rd February 2009.

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Photo of Colin Challen Colin Challen Labour, Morley and Rothwell

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what mechanisms his Department uses to monitor levels of compliance across military bases with the Government's commitments on cluster munitions under the Oslo Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

All UK cluster munitions, prohibited once the Cluster Munition Convention enters into force, were withdrawn from operational service on 30 May 2008, when the Convention was adopted. All were immediately segregated for disposal to prevent use and transfer and some have already been destroyed.

Those that are awaiting disposal are stored in a number of secure licensed munitions storage locations and, as such, all cluster munitions are fully accounted for at all times. The MOD has contractual control and oversight over all disposal contracts and disposal certificates are issued when each cluster munition has been destroyed. The MOD carries out checks on contractors to ensure compliance. There is no scope in the disposal contracts for a disposal contractor to do anything other than destroy the munitions. Furthermore, cluster munitions are recorded on the Department's inventory and explosives safety management IT systems, which means that they can be tracked and prevented from being inadvertently issued for either operational or training purposes.

In withdrawing these munitions from service on 30 May 2008, the UK complied with the spirit of the Convention immediately and well ahead of ratification at which point the provisions of the Convention will become a legal requirement.

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