Archives For Cluster munitions

Analysis of official Spanish government documents indicates Spanish company Instalaza may not have exported the MAT-120 cluster weapon to Libya in 2007/08.

In the 2008 report, Libya is listed as a recipient of category 4 munitions (which include bombs) – this is the source of the reports that Libya was provided with the MAT-120 by Spain.

However, the MAT-120 appears not to be a category 4 munition (bomb), but a category 3 one (ammunition for mortar).

Below is an extract from the Spanish National Report on Exports of 2007 showing the way different items are categorised:

2 Smooth-bore weapons with a calibre of 20 mm or more:
Firearms (including pieces of artillery), rifles, howitzers, cannons, mortars, anti-tank weapons, projectile launchers, flame throwers, recoilless rifles, signature reduction devices, military smoke, gas and pyrotechnic projectors or generators and weapons sights.

3 Ammunition, devices and components
Ammunition for the weapons subject to control by articles 1, 2 or 12. Fusesetting devices including cases, links, bands, power supplies with high operational output, sensors, submunitions

4 Bombs, torpedoes, rockets, missiles
Bombs, torpedoes, grenades, smoke canisters, rockets, mines, missiles, depth charges, demolition charges, “pyrotechnic” devices, cartridges and simulators, smoke grenades, incendiary bombs, missile rocket nozzles and re-entry vehicle nosetips.

These categories, used in the Spanish Report, are in line with those of the Common Military List of the European Union:

What does this mean?
This information appears to undermine the contention that the MAT-120, the mortar fired ammunition found in Misrata, was exported to Libya from Spain. In fact, if this reading of the Report is correct, Libya could not have been supplied with the MAT-120.

Of the countries to which category 3 exports were actually made in 2007 and 2008 only the following countries have not signed the Convention against Cluster Munitions:

Andorra, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Israel, Poland, Singapore, Switzerland, Thailand and the USA.

This information links in to the HRI investigation into who really cluster bombed Misrata.

Barclays Bank is implicated in the use of cluster munitions in Misrata. Analysis of the accounts of Instalaza, the manufacturer of the cluster munitions used in Misrata, by Profundo shows that Barclays Bank has been a major funder of the Spanish arms manufacturer.

In 2007, Instalaza generated annual revenues of € 14.9 million, resulting in a net profit of €0.2 million. On 31 December 2007, Instalaza owned total assets of € 31.8 million. These assets were financed by the following financial stakeholders:

Shareholders: € 17.1 million 53.8%
Banks: € 12.0 million 37.7%
Other: € 2.7 million 8.5%

The banks involved included:.

Deutsche Bank (Germany): €3,068,951
Cajalón, part of Grupo Caja Rural (Spain): €2,692,750
Caja España (Spain): €2,153,297
Caja Mediterráneo (Spain): €1,602,438
Bankinter (Spain): €852,310
Barclays Bank (United Kingdom): €593,978
Ibercaja (Spain): €498,993
Banco Popular (Spain): €299,308
Banco Sabadell (Spain): €87,906
La Caixa (Spain): €33,000
Others €117,856
Total €12,000,787
Source: Instalaza SA, “Depósitos De Cuentas: 2007”, Instalaza SA, 2008.

Some of the bank loans have been repaid since 2007 but the following banks still had loans outstanding on 31 December 2009:

Barclays Bank
Banco Popular
Caja España
Deutsche Bank

Media reports suggest the cluster munitions were fired by Libyan forces. In fact, neither Qatar nor the USA have signed to sign up to the CLuster Munitions Convention.

Under the terms of the Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Act 2010, it is a criminal offence to encourage or assist in the development, production or acquisition of cluster munitions. According to the UK government this includes “the direct financing of cluster munitions.” (Chris Bryant, Houses of Parliament, Hansard 7 December 2009

Terms of the Act include:

(1)It is an offence for a person to—.
(a)use a prohibited munition,.
(b)develop or produce a prohibited munition,.
(c)acquire a prohibited munition,.
(d)make arrangements under which another person acquires a prohibited munition,.
(e)have a prohibited munition in the person’s possession,.
(f)transfer a prohibited munition, or.
(g)make arrangements under which another person transfers a prohibited munition..
(2)It is an offence for a person to assist, encourage or induce any other person to engage in any conduct mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (g) of subsection (1)..
(3)A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years or to a fine, or to both..

Updated 10 June

Banking institutions have been implicated in the use of cluster munitions in Misrata. Deutsche Bank granted Spanish company Instalaza, the cluster bomb manufacturer, a loan of about €3.1 million according to information from non-governmental organisation Urgewald, as reported in the weekly Die Zeit on Wednesday.

More than 100 countries signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions at the end of 2008 – it became binding international law for those who signed at the start of August 2010. The convention bans not only the use but also the support of manufacture of cluster munitions.

A spokesman for Deutsche Bank told Die Zeit he could not comment on specific customer relationships, but denied the bank financed the sale of the controversial munitions.

“Deutsche Bank does no business directly connected to certain types of weapons like personnel landmines, cluster bombs or ABC weapons,” he said.

The paper said the Deutsche Bank loan was made in 2007 and reported that other German companies have continued to invest in cluster bomb manufacturers since then. More than a dozen insurers offer Germans taking part in the Riester-Funds pension scheme the option of putting their money in funds which have invested in cluster bomb makers.

These include Deutscher Ring, Basler, Condor, Stuttgarter, Volkswohlbund and WWK. The paper noted that because the Riester-Funds contracts are co-funded by the German government, it should be assumed that public money is also finding its way into the coffers of cluster bomb manufacturers.

The question of who actually fired the cluster munitions into Misrata remains open, with none of Qatar, Libya and the USA having signed up to the Convention.

Will US and Qatari war crimes be investigated by the ICC?

As far as the HRI investigation into the cluster bombing of Misrata is concerned the crucial passage in today’s statement seeking arrest warrants for Muammar Abu Minya Gaddafi, Saif Al Islam Gaddafi and the Head of the Intelligence Abdullah Al Sanousi is:

The Office will further investigate allegations of massive rapes, war crimes committed by different parties during the armed conflict that started at the end of February, and attacks against sub-Saharan Africans wrongly perceived to be mercenaries. “There will be no impunity for such crimes in Libya,” said the Prosecutor.

We will see if Luis Moreno-Ocampo has the balls to thoroughly investigate the war crimes committed by coalition forces.

On the issue of the apparent targeting of Africans by the ICC, there is a denial in the Q&A section. This denial doesn’t really hold water. If Libya was guilty of the cluster bombing of Misrata, Gaddafi could be held responsible by the ICC, if Barack Obama or Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani are found to be responsible the ICC will not be able to prosecute them.

The reason for this is the following paragraph which the US insisted on before allowing the referral to the ICC:

6. Decides that nationals, current or former officials or personnel from a State outside the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya which is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of that State for all alleged acts or omissions arising out of or related to operations in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya established or authorized by the Council, unless such exclusive jurisdiction has been expressly waived by the State.

USA and Qatari officials are not subject to the jurisdiction of the ICC unless their States waive their jurisdiction as they are not party to the Rome Statute.

Something seems to have been forgotten here by the American exceptionalists: something even the ancient Romans knew – the goddess Justicia is blind.

Did Qatar bomb Misrata? – the dangers in allying with an Arab dictatorship.

There have been a number of breaks in our ongoing investigation into the cluster bombing of Misrata over the last few days. We now have a lot more information about the disposition of forces on the relevant days (mid-April) and a new line of enquiry has opened up – and that is the involvement of the Qatar Emirates navy and marines.

At this stage HRI cannot release all the information or sources as investigation are ongoing, but we are going to release throw a few facts out there because it is important that journalists and politicians start asking more of the relevant questions.

There is evidence that Qatari naval forces possessed the particular weapons system used to deliver the MAT-120 (the cluster munition found in Misrata).

The evidence that Spain sold Qatar category 4 munitions (bombs) at the relevant time is in the Spanish National Report.

Qatar has refused to sign up to the Convention against Cluster Munitions.

We also have evidence regarding the presence of Qatari military units in the Mediterranean around 14th April.

The knowledge that a Qatari C-17 has been involved in supply of material to the war against Libya is a matter of public record as are some of the movements of this craft.

As Hillary Clinton said when confronted with the information about the use of cluster munitions in Misrata – the situation on the ground in Misrata was complex.

This is a long and complicated investigation and we are following up several lines of investigation.

Update 31 August:

Footage of captured Qatari weapons being smuggled to the Libyan rebels:


UPDATE: 1 June 2011 – See later articles for updates

UPDATE: 23 July 2011 – We’re still waiting for the Spanish government to produce the cluster bomb licenses, proof of export and end-user certificates. More here and here


More on the evidence Libya possessed cluster munitions:

HRI has located the original source of the Spanish media reports quoted as the basis by Amnesty International for the assumption that Libya possessed the MAT-120.

The original article was published on on 15th September 2008, written by Javier L. Noriega.
Author: Javier L. Noriega-Date: 2008-09-15

The specific passage in this report is,

Instalaza, por su parte, no quiso hacer declaraciones al respecto, pero puede ser la principal perjudicada.
En la última legislatura, el Gobierno compró varios lotes de sus granadas de mortero MAT-120 y, además, aprobó dos contratos de exportación de este material a Finlandia y Libia.

In the last parliament, the government purchased several lots of mortar MAT-120 and also approved two contracts for export of this material to Finland and Libya.

The report is unsourced. All we know from the Javier Noriega’s report is that the source is not Instalaza:

Oficialmente, el fabricante Instalaza no hace ningún tipo de declaraciones sobre las bombas de racimo.
Officially, the manufacturer Instalaza makes no statements on cluster munitions.

It should also be noted that the Spanish Defence Ministry has denied any knowledge of the export of MAT-120 to Libya, which seems highly unusual, even if they are not responsible for the actual decision to export.:

Al respecto, el Ministerio de Defensa no tiene constancia del armamento está utilizando el régimen libio

The Spanish Government’s Report on the statistics of the export of military goods for 2007 had come out at the beginning of July 2008.

Relevant extracts from the Report:

From Annex II – Authorised Exports – licenses by country
A few of the most interesting ones:
Qatar, 6 licences, 1,177,299 euros
USA, 61 licences, 159,585,721
UAE, 2 licences, 0 value
Libya, 3 licences, 3,823,500
Finland, 5 licences, 10,796
UK, 39 licenses, 58,173,209
Israel, 22 licenses, 4,365,309

Category 4 (Covering bombs, missiles etc) Authorised exports 2007
A few of the most relevant ones:
Qatar, 1,149,550
USA, 1,885,959
Finland, 0 value
Libya, 3,823,500
UAE, 0 value
UK, 1,785,000
Israel, 0 value
(The ‘0’s indicate licences were issued but with no Euro value, perhaps as they were part of a larger contract)

So the assumption the MAT-120 was licensed to Libya is just an assumption – actually Spain issued licences in Category 4 to:
Argentina, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, France, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Qatar, Slovenia (0), Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, United Kingdom, United States

UPDATE: 1 June 2011 – See later articles for updates

UPDATE: 23 July 2011 – We’re still waiting for the Spanish government to produce the cluster bomb licenses, proof of export and end-user certificates. More here and here

Speaking on 8th of May to National Public Radio U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Mark Ramsay had the following to say:

“We have absolutely irrefutable evidence that he [Gaddhafi] used likely mortar fire to drop cluster munitions on his own people for the express purpose of killing and injuring them.”

Maj. Gen. Mark F. Ramsay is the Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations and Intelligence, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, NATO, Casteau, Belgium.

This is a long way from Robert Gates’ earlier position on this issue, not to mention Hillary Clinton’s initial reaction (about which more later).

The claim here goes beyond saying Gaddhafi used cluster bombs “likely from mortar fire” to saying this was for the “express purpose” of killing and injuring his own people. Maj. Gen. Ramsay is suggesting NATO have a communications intercept – and one in which Gaddafi (or perhaps his officers) expressly order the use of cluster munitions to kill and injure his own people.

Why has this information not been released? Has this information been shared with the ICC and Louis Moreno Ocampo? How will this be assessed by the ICC?

Will the USA give evidence to the ICC regarding Misrata and how will this be squared with the use, stockpiling and transfer by the USA of millions of cluster bombs and of the use of about 1.2 million cluster bomblets by Israel?

HRI demands the immediate release of the absolutely irrefutable evidence mentioned by U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Mark Ramsay.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression (although it cannot currently exercise jurisdiction over the crime of aggression). It was set up in 2002.

The prosecutor of the ICC is Luis Moreno-Ocampo. Luis Moreno-Ocampo told the UN Security Council on May 4 that “crimes against humanity have been and continue to be committed in Libya,” but for now he is targeting just three people for arrest.

“I will request the judges to issue arrest warrants against three individuals who appear to bear the greatest criminal responsibility for crimes against humanity committed in the territory of Libya since February 15, 2011,” Moreno-Ocampo said.

It seems from media reports that he will issue arrest warrants for Gaddafi, his son Saif and the one other shortly.

It will be interesting to see whether the charges against Gaddafi will include the cluster bombing of Misrata.

We hope there will also be full investigation of any rebel, NATO or coalition war crimes.

To date, the ICC has only EVER charged people from Africa. What are the chances of anyone from the USA (Who do not accept its jurisdiction anyway) being charged?

Certain large human rights organisations, in particular Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, are wedded to this project so loathe to criticise it.

Nevertheless, Human Rights Investigations calls for

1) An end to the selective enforcement of human rights by the ICC which could be said to amount to institutional racism.

2) Human rights activists to organise themselves using the internet, blogs, twitter and all the other tools at our disposal to investigate and expose human rights abuses, especially the massive human rights abuses perpetrated by the richest and most powerful governments.

Update 19 July

The Associated Press reports the African Union has called on its members to disregard the International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant for Moammar Gadhafi, an official confirmed 2 July 2011. The decision was passed by the African Union 1 July stating that the warrant against Gadhafi “seriously complicates” efforts by the organization to find a solution to the Libyan crisis.

Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union Jean Ping also told reporters that the ICC is “discriminatory” and only goes after crimes committed in Africa, while ignoring those he says were committed by Western powers in places like Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Jean Ping - formerly Foreign Minister of Gabon and President of the General Assembly of the United Nations

“With this in mind, we recommend that the member states do not cooperate with the execution of this arrest warrant,” said the motion, which was shown to The Associated Press and whose passage was confirmed by Daniel Adugna, a spokesman in the AU commissioner’s office.

Instalaza has been claiming 40 million euros, according to Spanish newspaper Cincodias in compensation for damages and lost profits after Spain decided to ban cluster bombs.

The claim was put into the Spanish Executive, but the company refuses to say what the result has been. For their part, according to this newspaper report, the Spanish Defence Ministry denies receiving any such demand.

The newspaper repeats the claims that Instalaza exported to Libya and points out that if this is the case it would have needed the approval of the Directorate General of Armament and Equipment of the Ministry of Defence which was headed in 2007 by the current Chief of Staff of Defense, Air Force General José Julio Rodríguez.

The arms sale would have had to have the approval of the the Interministerial Regulatory Board of Foreign Trade in Defence and Dual-Use.

This Board is chaired by the Secretary of State for Commerce, vice-chaired by the Foreign Minister and has the participation of the general director of Strategic Affairs and Terrorism, the intelligence director of the CNI, the director general of Ordnance, the director of the Customs Revenue Agency, deputy director of the Guardia Civil operation, the Police, the Secretary General of Foreign Trade and the general secretary of the Ministry of Industry. Its decisions are binding on the Ministry of Foreign Trade, which is the body granting export licenses.

If this is the case, it is a scandal and would mean the Spanish National Reports on Arms Exports were written to deceive the Spanish and international public.

The paper claims Instalaza was granted three licenses to export cluster munitions to Libya in 2007 amounting to 3,83 million euros. It seems unlikely that three licenses would be required for this export.

Human Rights Investigations demands:

1) The public release of the full details of the exports of all cluster munitions by Instalaza as these weapons were apparently used in war crimes.
2) A full account by Spain of why their National Reports did not mention the export of cluster munitions to Libya and action to be taken against the officials involved.
3) We repeat our call for every one of the parties to the conflict, including Libya, Qatar, the UAE and the USA to sign up to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

See our article on the cluster bombing of Misrata for a balanced view as to who used cluster munitions in Misrata.

Amnesty International have published a flawed report on human rights violations in Misratah.

Of the MAT-120 the author states “Spain sold these to Libya in 2007.”

Asked for evidence, one of Amnesty’s writers pointed to speculative reports in the Spanish press.

The report is one-sided, with almost no mention, let alone criticism of the rebels or of the military intervention in Libya. There is little historical context and no attempt to understand the nature of the conflict in Libya or to even discuss considering the conflict in terms of a war of aggression.

The only context given to the conflict is in the footnotes, where it is briefly explained that,

As anti-government protests rocked Misratah – Libya’s third largest city – on 19 February, the first protester was killed by forces loyal to Colonel Mu’ammar al-Gaddafi. His funeral the following day drew large crowds and, as was happening elsewhere in eastern Libya, most members of the army and security forces left the town (and a small percentage joined the protesters). The (mostly light) weapons left behind by the departing forces were seized by the thuuwar (or revolutionaries, referring to the protesters who took up arms against Colonel al-Gaddafi’s regime) and shortly after, the city declared its allegiance to the Interim Transitional National Council (TNC) based in Benghazi (Libya’s second city, in the east of the country).

There is no discussion of the smuggling of arms and fighters into the city, under the guise of humanitarian aid, even though the footnotes allude to this smuggling and that it includes 106mm rockets.

Reading this report, you would have little idea that NATO have been bombing inside the city of Misrata for the last four weeks, as reported here and as even NATO have admitted.