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Israeli military prosecutor says use of cluster bombs in Lebanon war legal

[JURIST] An Israeli military prosecutor has concluded that Israel's use of cluster bombs [FAS backgrounder] during the 2006 Lebanon war [JURIST news archive] was justified and did not violate any standards of international law, according to an Israeli army statement released Monday. Maj. Gen. Gershon HaCohen found that "the use of this weaponry was legal once it was determined that, in order to prevent rocket fire onto Israel, its use was a concrete military necessity." HaCohen's findings were delivered to Brig. Gen. Avihai Mandelblit, who has decided not to press charges against Israeli officers who authorized the use of cluster bombs.

Human rights groups have denounced the use of cluster bombs [Cluster Munition Coalition advocacy website] in civilian areas by both Israel and Hezbollah during the 2006 conflict because of the inaccuracy of the weapons and the strong possibility of hitting unintended targets. Cluster bomblets have been responsible for 30 deaths [BBC report] since the conclusion of the Lebanon war. Cluster munitions are considered by many to be weapons designed to spread damage indiscriminately and could therefore be considered illegal [CMC backgrounder] under multiple provisions of Protocol I [text] of the Geneva Conventions (1977). AP has more.

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