Asiri: Coalition has stopped use of cluster munition
Arab coalition spokesman says it was used only to defend Saudi towns and villages against continuous attacks by Houthi militia
Arab coalition spokesman Ahmed Asiri has announced that the use of cluster munition has now been stopped and clarified that its use was only against legitimate military targets to prevent civilian casualties in Saudi Arabia.
Responding to Amnesty International’s claim, that the BL-755 cluster munition was used between December 2015-January 2016 in the vicinity of Al-Khadra in Yemen, Asiri said that “it must be recalled that international law does not ban the use of cluster munitions”.
“Some states have undertaken a commitment to refrain from using cluster munitions by becoming party to the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions. Neither Saudi Arabia nor its Coalition partners are States Parties to the 2008 Convention, and accordingly, the Coalition’s use of cluster munitions does not violate the obligations of these States under international law,” Asiri said in a statement.
According to the spokesman, the Coalition has conducted an inquiry into the use of cluster munitions in Yemen, including through dialogue with the British authorities and others.
“It has become apparent that there was limited use by the Coalition of the UK-manufactured BL-755 cluster munition in Yemen. This munition was used against legitimate military targets to defend Saudi towns and villages against continuous attacks by Houthi militia, which resulted in Saudi civilian casualties,” he said.
In deploying this munition, the Coalition fully observed the international humanitarian law principles of distinction and proportionality. Furthermore, the munition was not deployed in civilian population centers, said Asiri.
He added that Saudi Arabia confirms that it has decided to cease use of the UK-manufactured BL-755 cluster munitions and that the UK Government has been informed about this decision.