Human Rights Watch challenges Israel’s use of cluster bombs

February 17, 2008 11:49 PM Saed Bannoura Arab World, Lebanon war, News Report 0

The internationally-renowned organization Human Rights Watch has demanded an independent inquiry into Israel's use of cluster bombs during its 2006 invasion of Lebanon. An internal investigation carried out by the Israeli government recently released its findings, concluding that Israel did not violate international law when it dropped several thousand cluster bombs containing millions of bomblets all over southern Lebanon. One of the lead authors of the Human Rights Watch report stated, "Ninety percent of the (bombing) strikes occurred in the last three days (of the war when) Israel knew a ceasefire was imminent. Many, many of those strikes occurred on towns and villages across south Lebanon. Munitions left behind by those attacks continue to kill civilians today." Already, over 200 people, both Lebanese civilians and internationals, have lost limbs or been killed by the unexploded bomblets left by the cluster bombs.

The report was released at the beginning of a conference in New Zealand that was convened for the purpose of building a campaign to end the use of cluster bombs worldwide. In fact, cluster bombs are illegal under the current laws of warfare as stated in international law.

The title of the report is "Flooding South Lebanon: Israel's Use of Cluster Munitions in Lebanon in July and August 2006”, and it contains data on hundreds of "indiscriminate and disproportionate cluster munitions attacks on Lebanon."

Human Rights Watch called on the United Nations to head up an investigation into the Israeli use of cluster bombs in Lebanon, to see if Israeli forces deliberately targeted civilian populations, as many of the Lebanese victims and their families are claiming.

If that is the case, Israel could be forced to stand trial in an international court of justice. But the Israeli government, along with the US government, have refused to recognize the legitimacy of the International Court of Justice, so the decision would hold no sway in those countries. The two are virtually the only countries in the world that have not agreed to the legitimacy of the international court body.

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Saed Bannoura

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