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Country Reports


The Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya has not signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It has not made a clear statement of its cluster munition policy. It has used cluster munitions in the past and is believed to stockpile the weapon. Libya is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.

Libya did not attend the initial meeting in Oslo to launch the Oslo Process in February 2007 or any of the three international diplomatic conferences to develop the convention text in Lima, Vienna, and Wellington.

Libya did participate in the African regional conference in Livingstone from 31 March to 1 April 2008, where it endorsed the Livingstone Declaration, which called on African states to support the negotiation in Dublin of a “total and immediate” prohibition on the use, production, stockpiling, and transfer of cluster munitions.[1]

Libya subsequently attended the formal negotiations of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Dublin in May 2008, but only as an observer. Thus, it did not join 107 other states in adopting the convention. It made no interventions during the negotiations.

Libya also attended the African regional conference in Kampala in September 2008 and endorsed the Kampala Action Plan, which declared that states should sign and “take all necessary measures to ratify the convention as soon as possible.”[2]

The CMC and the NGO Protection Against Armaments and Consequences conducted an advocacy mission to Libya on 2–4 November 2008. A military official told them that the military had studied the convention and informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that it did not object to signing.[3]

However, Libya did not attend the Oslo signing conference in December 2008.

Libya has used cluster munitions in the past and is believed to possess a stockpile, although the current status and composition of the stockpile are unknown. Libya is not thought to have produced cluster munitions.

Libyan forces used aerial cluster bombs, likely RBK bombs of Soviet/Russian origin, containing AO-1SCh and PTAB-2.5 submunitions at various locations during its intervention in Chad during the 1986–1987 conflict.[4] Jane’s Information Group lists Libya as possessing KMG-U dispensers (which deploy submunitions) and RBK-500 aerial cluster bombs, again presumably of Soviet/Russian origin.[5]

[1] Livingstone Declaration, Livingstone Conference on Cluster Munitions, 1 April 2008.

[2] CMC, “Report on the Kampala Conference on the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” 30 September 2008; and Kampala Action Plan, Kampala Conference, 30 September 2008.

[3] Interview with Col. Aladdin Hanish, General Committee for Defense, Ministry of Defense, Tripoli, 3 November 2008.

[4] Handicap International, “Circle of Impact: The Fatal Footprint of Cluster Munitions on People and Communities,” Brussels, 2007, p. 48, en.handicapinternational.be.

[5] Robert Hewson, ed., Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons, Issue 44 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2004), p. 842.