Armenian Use of Cluster Munitions Condemned as ‘Cruel and Reckless’ by Amnesty International
Experts from Amnesty International have verified the use of banned cluster bombs by Armenia during the bombing of Barda on October 28. The death toll currently stands at 21 killed and over 70 injured, according to the Azerbaijani Prosecutor General’s Office.
Marie Struthers, Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, explained: “The firing of cluster munitions into civilian areas is cruel and reckless, and causes untold death, injury and misery.” At approximately 13.30hrs local time, several Russian-made Smerch rockets were fired on Barda by Armenian forces, striking a residential neighbourhood close to a hospital.
Amnesty’s Crisis Response experts verified pictures (taken by Vice News reporters) showing fragments of 9N235 cluster munitions from 9M55 Smerch rockets. These appeared to have been fired into the city by Armenian forces.
Struthers continued: “Cluster munitions are inherently indiscriminate weapons, and their use in any circumstances is banned under international humanitarian law.” Cluster munitions inflict suffering for civilian populations years after their use, and are internationally banned by a treaty, backed by more than 100 states. They scatter hundreds of bomblets, or submunitions, over a wide area. It is estimated that 5–20% of cluster bomblets fail to explode. They are then left behind, posing a long-term threat to civilians, similar to that of anti-personnel landmines.