Archives For MAT-120

Under pressure from ongoing investigations by Human Rights Investigations, Patria, the Finnish arms company, have released a  press release this morning (7th July 2011):

Patria’s mortar systems have not been used to fire cluster ammunition in Libya
During the last weeks Patria has been increasingly contacted about the possibility that Patria’s Nemo 120 mm mortar system or Patria Hägglunds’ AMOS 120 mm mortar system would have been used in Misurata, Libya to fire 120 mm cluster ammunition (MAT-120) produced by a Spanish company Instalaza S.A. Patria strongly rejects this possibility. None of AMOS or Nemo mortar systems are in use of the parties in Libya. And Patria does not develop, produce or sell cluster ammunition products.

The suspicion has likely been created by a misinterpretation of publicly available information. A small quantity (305pcs live plus 230 pcs of inert ammuntitions) of MAT-120 rounds were imported to Finland in 2005-2007 for for the program for the Finnish Defence Forces. Patria and the Finnish Defence Forces terminated that program in 2009.

The left-over ammunitions (136 pcs live) are owned and stored by the Finnish Defence Forces. No MAT-120 ammunition imported by Patria has been exported out from Finland.

Patria Hägglunds has a licensing agreement with a US company, AAI Corporation, concerning AMOS. However, under this agreement, no AMOS mortar systems have been produced by AAI. The export of Patria Hägglunds know-how or components related to AMOS are also under the Finnish export control mechanisms.

HRI will be responding in detail in due course.

In the meantime, we request the company answer the detailed questions they have been asked and the additional question: How could Patria possibly know that none of the NEMO or AMOS systems are in use with the parties in the Libyan conflict?

 

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CJ Chivers of the New York Times and to a very limited extent Human Rights Watch (HRW) are now seriously engaging with the Human Rights Investigations probe into the cluster bombing of Misrata.

The first indication from HRW (after weeks of trying to elicit a direct response) was a tweet from the Mary Wareham:

In fact, the case against Gaddafi’s forces is not proven.

The Spanish government should release details of all licenses ever issued and actual exports for cluster bombs and munitions and the machinery to make them.

The export of cluster munitions and bombs is now illegal in Spain (although not incorporated into domestic legisalation) – the Spanish government should release details of all such exports in the past to prevent their use in the future.

HRI has been pressing for this and urges HRW to do likewise.

CJ Chiver’s follow-up article in the New York Times today provides a lot of color to his story and some interesting material but, on the face of it, little in the way of additional evidence as to who actually fired the munitions.

It is certainly the case that, under fire from loyalist forces, an assumption that these forces were responsible for the firing of the MAT-120 is a natural reaction, but he has yet to offer any proof – hopefully his next installment contains something substantial.

It is good that CJ Chivers has released new imagery of the MAT-120 including a sideview photo of the MAT-120, which may be useful to the investigation and to ascertain which weapons system was used and urge him and photographer Bryan Denton to release copies of ALL the photographs (preferably high resolution) they have taken in Misrata so that everyone can get a better view of the full panoply of munitions used by all sides in the battle.

22 June Update

Another update from the New York Times.

The article states that various Spanish officials are claiming that exports of the MAT-120 have been made to Libya.

According to the article, Ramon Muro Martinez, the Deputy Director General for Foreign Trade of Defense Materials and Dual Use Goods wrote to Mr Chivers saying:

One license to Lybia consisting of 5 cluster munitions for demonstration was issued in August 2006. The export took place in October 2006. There were two more licenses issued in December 2007 with a total amount of 1,050 cluster munitions. They were sent in March 2008.

According to the article:

In a follow-up e-mail on the same day, Mr. Martinez confirmed, to be absolutely clear, that the cluster munitions we were discussing were the MAT-120 rounds manufactured by Instalaza SA.

In addition CJ Chivers says that:

the ministry confirmed that the government of Libya had submitted an end-user certificate, or EUC, for MAT-120 rounds to the government of Spain

and that an email

from another ministry official, Ana Terreros Gomez, said that the “EUC issued by the Libya authorites was authenticated by the Spanish Embassy in Tripoli November 28th 2007.”

The Spanish government needs to produce a credible account of these matters, of course, and come clean on its whole record. They also need to actually provide some real evidence, not just on the MAT-120 but on the other cluster munitions which have gone AWOL as well.

Another update from the New York Times today (23 June)

A lot about HRI. Less of relevance to the investigation, unfortunately.

For the record:

1. HRI is entirely unconvinced about the Spanish officials claims in this matter and is still awaiting documentation requested weeks ago

2. HRI has shown the evidence presented by CJ Chivers regarding the MAT-120 and short stub case is mistaken.

3. Yes, HRI does frequently change its mind on the basis of the evidence received and analysis of it. That kind of happens in investigations.

4. We thank those who have provided useful information and evidence relevant to the Misrata and Spanish cluster bomb investigations and would urge those yet to reply to do so.

Update 19 July CJ Chivers is now back in Libya and producing some important work

On this page, HRI presents some of the evidence relevant to the use of cluster munitions in Misrata in April 2011.

As more information comes to light, and in response to the requirements of the on-going investigation, this page is updated on a fairly regular basis.

Unlike those who jump to instant conclusions based on propaganda and partial truths,  HRI is sceptical and unbiased – which clearly isn’t popular in some quarters.

For those looking for a 100% definite answer as to who fired the munitions into Misrata, this page will be a bit of a disappointment but more about links between the banks, governments, arms traders and the military is being uncovered on an almost daily basis.

The use of cluster munitions in Misrata

On 15th April 2011, during the day, sub-munitions of a MAT-120 cluster munition were shown to Human Rights Watch (HRW) and C.J. Chivers, a journalist for the New York Times, in Misrata. That evening, during ongoing clashes between rebel and loyalist forces, HRW workers witnessed 3 or 4 cluster munitions landing in residential areas of Misrata. HRW attest to further subsequent such bombings.

Initial Reactions

Civilians were reportedly killed in these attacks and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, condemned:

“The reported repeated use of cluster munitions and heavy weaponry by Libyan government forces in their attempt to regain control of the besieged city of Misrata.”

She noted that one cluster munition had reportedly exploded a few hundred metres from a hospital in Misrata while another two clinics were apparently hit by mortar or sniper fire.

“Using imprecise weaponry such as cluster munitions, multiple rocket launchers and mortars, and other forms of heavy weaponry, in crowded urban areas will inevitably lead to civilian casualties.”

These attacks were immediately blamed these attacks on the Gaddafi regime and the news has been a front page and first item on the television news around the world.

Here are the relevant HRW and NYT reports:

The Human Rights Watch Report of 15th April on which the Ghaddafi forces fired cluster munitions story has been based.

CJ Chiver’s report on 15th April, ‘Qaddafi Troops Fire Cluster Bombs Into Civilian Areas’

Fred Abrahams on BBC Radio 4 Today Program 16 April 2011

In response to the question of why he assumed the munitions were fired by Libyan rather than NATO forces, Fred Abrahams said,

“Because the MAT-120 is mortar-fired and NATO has no troops on the ground.”

When initially confronted with the information that cluster munitions had been found in Misrata, Hillary Clinton’s reaction was:

“That is worrying information. And it is one of the reasons the fight in Misrata is so difficult, because it’s at close quarters, it’s in amongst urban areas and it poses a lot of challenges to both NATO and to the opposition.”

The MAT-120 cluster munition

The MAT-120 cluster bomb

The MAT-120 can be fired from a number of smoothbore 120mm mortar systems. A 12omm mortar system is a large calibre mortar, operated by a small team and in service with a number of nations.

The systems which can fire the MAT-120  include the NEMO and AMOS systems mounted in a turret.

Here is the AMOS system mounted on a CB-90 in action:

The combination of the AMOS and the Combat Boat 90H has been described as ideal for fire support in urban environments. As Captain Evin H. Thompson, Commander of US Naval Special Warfare Group Four, said in June 2007, in relation to a specific question about US Navy use of the CB90-H and AMOS system (which fires the MAT-120):

“The Amos or something like that – tied into my reduced signature boat gives special operations and our Navy the ability to clandestinely be someplace with the capability to act if circumstances allow.”

Spanish sales of the MAT-120 to Libya.

Spanish media reports indicate that Instalaza have denied selling these weapons to Libya.

The Spanish Industry Minister, Miguel Sebastian (himself linked to a bank who have financed US cluster munition manufacture), has so far failed to meet the HRI request to release details of all exports of cluster munitions.

The Spanish government  needs to confirm exactly what happened to all stocks of MAT-120 produced, where the machinery for making the MAT-120 has ended up, where the MAT-120 was exported to and where they have been stored.

As far as official exports go, a lot hangs on whether the MAT-120 is regarded as a category 3 munition (ML3) – in which case, of the countries to which category 3 exports were officially made in 2007 and 2008, only the USA has not signed the Convention against Cluster Munitions and is involved in the conflict in Libya – or if it is categorised as a Category 4 munition (ML4) in which case the USA, Qatar and Libya fit the bill. According to Nicholas Marsh of NISAT, who is an expert in these matters, “There is a blurred division between weapon categories, and especially ML3 and ML4.”

If exports of the MAT-120 were made to Libya, it has to be explained why, who made the decision, how many were sent there, at what time, of which batches and where else these munitions went.

There is additional detail on this in the section on Spanish bombs.

The United States leadership fully approve of cluster munitions

Although Spain has apparently gone to extraordinary effort to try and clear the USA of any involvement in the use of cluster munitions in Misrata, the USA has refused to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions and these weapons are an important part of their arsenal with the USA possessing a large stockpile of cluster munitions.

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has said cluster munitions are regarded by the US as:

“Legitimate weapons with clear military utility.”

As Richard Kidd, Director of the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, U.S. Department of State, wrote in “Is There a Strategy for Responsible U.S. Engagement on Cluster Munitions?” April 28, 2008:

“Cluster munitions are available for use by every combat aircraft in the U.S. inventory, they are integral to every Army or Marine maneuver element and in some cases constitute up to 50 percent of tactical indirect fire support.”

Yet, incredibly, the alleged war crime of bombing Misrata is also being used by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other authorities to justify an escalation of the conflict in Libya.

The US government position in favour of the use of cluster munitions, their widespread possession by US forces and the weakening of the Convention on Cluster Munitions to accommodate nations fighting in coalition with US forces,  implicates the US government in the use of cluster munitions anywhere in the world.

The Battle for Misrata

As part of the investigation, HRI is looking into both land and naval forces  involved in the Misrata operation, as the specific units involved, operating at night, who made use of the cluster munitions is not yet clear.

There is no doubt that this was fierce urban warfare, with hundreds killed in the battle and NATO, including US Naval forces, about which HRI has written, were deeply involved.

On the 14th of April, NATO Secretary-General Rasmussen confirmed that Admiral Stavridis had briefed foreign ministers that Gadaffi’s forces were now in populated areas and that “to avoid civilian casualties we need very sophisticated equipment.”

Certainly coalition forces were providing fire support and (allegedly) special services support to the rebels in order to secure the town for the rebels and establish a major foothold in western Libya.

Our update on the bombing of Misrata shows that on the eve of the Royal Wedding, NATO admitted to using “certain weapons” within the city of Misrata and some more detail on this has been provided by the RAF.

So it is quite clear that coalition forces were deeply involved in the bombing of Misrata, using deadly force in a civilian area, contrary to the spirit of UN Resolution 1973.

Human Rights Investigations calls for:

1). A full investigation by the United Nations into the use of munitions (including cluster munitions and DU weapons), particularly in urban areas.

2) For all parties in the Libyan conflict to confirm they will not use cluster munitions in the current conflict and to pledge to sign up to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

3). Suspension of military personnel found to be involved pending investigation for war crimes.

4). An end to the ‘information war’ and military distortion of the public debate.

5). An end to the ongoing bombing of Libya which is against the spirit and intent of UN Resolution 1973 which was intended to protect civilians, not justify bombing of civilian areas.

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:
 
DESCRIPTION OF THE 22 ARTICLES FIGURING ON THE LIST OF DEFENCE MATERIAL (ROYAL DECREE 1782/2004 OF 30 JULY)

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:

Bankinter
Barclays Bank
Banco Popular
Cajalón
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.

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 solidaridad.net on 15th September 2008, written by Javier L. Noriega.
Author: Javier L. Noriega-Date: 2008-09-15 http://www.solidaridad.net/noticias.php?not=5282

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.

Translation:
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.
Translation:
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

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.

On 15th April Human Rights Watch issued a statement asserting,

“Government forces loyal to the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, have fired cluster munitions into residential areas in the western city of Misrata.”

Subsequent reports indicate a large number of civilians died in these attacks.

According to Fred Abrahams, Human Rights Watch assigned responsibility for these attacks to the loyalist forces on the basis that this munition was only fired from land-based mortars.

In fact, the MAT-120 is a specialised heavy cargo mortar system which is typically fired from a turret and which can be mounted on a small sea-based vessel.

The assignment of responsibility for these attacks to the Gaddafi forces is therefore, at best, premature.

Indeed, there is evidence these munitions are in the armoury of the coalition forces, the weapons systems needed to deliver them are in the coalition armoury and the coalition military leadership, including US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates regard the use of these weapons as effective and legitimate.

As the purported use of these munitions by Gaddafi’s forces has been an important factor in escalation of the Libyan conflict, it is a matter of urgency that Human Rights Watch correct their original report and ensure the world’s press are aware of the mistake made.

In addition, we would ask Human Rights Watch to provide a full explanation of

1) How this mistake was made, including from where the false information came from that these weapons could only be delivered by land-based weapons systems.

2) Why later investigation by HRW did not turn up this error.

Given the new information we have uncovered we would also expect Human Rights Watch

1) To issue a demand for full disclosure of coalition possession and use of cluster munitions in the Libyan conflict.

2) To issue a demand the coalition forces provide a full explanation of their operations, including special operations, off the coast of Misrata.

Update 23 June – No reply received – see later articles for updates on the HRI investigation.