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Amnesty warns of dangers posed by indiscriminate, illegal weapons

[JURIST] In a statement released in London Thursday in the wake of Iraqi accusations made Wednesday that Coalition forces were using cluster bombs [UPI report], Amnesty International [advocacy website] called upon the US, UK and Iraqi authorities to immediately halt the use of "weapons which are inherently indiscriminate or otherwise prohibited under international humanitarian law," especially landmines and cluster bombs that post latent threats to civilians. Amnesty noted that the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction [text] (the Ottawa Treaty), which entered into force on 1 March 1999 and has been ratified by combatants UK and Australia (but not the US or Iraq), forbids the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention and transfer of anti-personnel weapons. Listen to an audio briefing by AI's Brian Wood.

An additional AI briefing on indiscriminate weapons notes that Article 51 (4) of 1977 Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions [text] (to which the US, but not Iraq, is a party) prohibits indiscriminate attacks, including "those which employ a method or means of combat which cannot be directed at a specific military objective" and "those which employ a method or means of combat the effects of which cannot be limited as required by this Protocol".

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