Presentation and position of France [fr]
Cluster munitions are conventional munitions, designed to give off or disperse multiple smaller explosives. The fact that they cover a large range and are very sensitive makes them a threat to civilian populations who are the main victims of these weapons. The presence of active but unexploded cluster mines also hinders the economic and social life of certain areas which become inhabitable.
The Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) is an international instrument prohibiting the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions, and the outcome of a process launched in 2007 by 46 States, including France. The CCM was adopted in Dublin on 30 May 2008 and signed in Oslo on 3 and 4 December 2008. It entered into force on 1 August 2010. There are currently 106 States Parties. According to Article 2 of the Convention, the term "cluster munition" means "a conventional munition that is designed to disperse or release explosive submunitions each weighing less than 20 kilograms, and includes those explosive submunitions."
The text, which follows the same disarmament dynamic as the Ottawa Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, provides for:
- the prohibition of the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of most cluster munitions. There are exceptions according to capacity, weight or the presence of a self-de-activation or self-destruction mechanism;
- the clearance of cluster munition remnants in contaminated areas within a period of ten years that can be extended in the event of difficult circumstances;
- the destruction of prohibited cluster munitions within a period of eight years that can also be extended;
- advanced international cooperation and victim-assistance measures. However, the CCM gives States Parties the possibility to engage in military cooperation and operations with States not party to the Convention.
The States Parties convene at the same period each year to monitor the Convention. Intersessional Meetings are also held twice a year.
France has not used cluster munitions since 1991 and ceased to manufacture them in 2002.
During the Oslo Convention negotiations, France distinguished itself through a significant gesture by announcing the immediate withdrawal of 90% of French cluster munition stockpiles. Even before the Convention entered into force, France had thus decided to decommission all its munitions that had been prohibited by the Convention, namely the M26 rocket and the 155 mm grenade shell.
From the outset of negotiations, France has played a key role as facilitator between cluster munition affected States and cluster munition States, industrialized countries and developing countries, and also between governments and NGOs so as to ensure that this Treaty would be as effective as possible from a humanitarian standpoint. It has mobilized to rally the greatest number of supporters. France has defended an unambiguous position, namely banning all cluster munitions, which are unacceptable because of the humanitarian damage they cause.
Internally, the national bill implementing the Treaty was passed by the National Assembly on 6 July 2010 and enacted on 20 July (Act No. 2010-819): the Convention entered into force on 1 August 2010 and was published on that date (Decree No. 2010-900).
In addition, the national implementation of the Oslo Convention is ensured by the National Commission for the Elimination of Anti-Personnel Mines (CNEMA), whose mandate has been expanded to include cluster munitions.
Lastly, the Convention currently only covers the holders of 10% of cluster munition stockpiles in the world. It is for this reason that France is permanently working on outreach and advocacy, both with Signatories which are close to ratification, and with non-Signatories, in order to universalize the norm introduced by the Convention.