• February 26, 2017

The MOD has responded to our query about the use of cluster munitions in Yemen against civilian targets we had written to them in December (see link)
The response is a combination of obfuscation and hypocrisy as while not denying the use of the munitions they say the issue of investigating the incidents alleged is a matter for the Saudi led coalition.
The MOD maintains they comply with the International Convention on Cluster Munitions but it’s clear the UK and the Saudis are guilty of war crimes against the Yemeni civilian population:
The text of the response from the UK Ministry of Defence is set out below:
“Dear Mr Moffatt,
Thank you for your letter dated 19 December 2016. I am responding on behalf of the Secretary of State for Defence.
You draw attention to a BBC article published following the oral statement on Yemen on 19 December 2016. In this statement, the Secretary of State for Defence explained that, following their own internal investigation, the Saudi-led Coalition had concluded that BL-755 cluster munitions made in the UK in the 1980s and exported before the UK ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions, were dropped in Yemen by Coalition aircraft, including in the incident alleged by Amnesty International.
The Coalition has stated that the munitions were used against legitimate military targets and you ask if the UK will “be making effort to establish just what ‘military targets’ were attacked”. Let me reassure you that we carefully analysed the allegation and raised the issue with the Saudi-led Coalition. However, as the Secretary of State for Defence made very clear in the House, such an allegation is a matter for the Coalition to investigate. Indeed, he explained that the Coalition “have shown through this process that they are able to do that. They have investigated, and they have…announced the findings and taken action as a result”.
Finally, let me make clear that the UK has fulfilled and continues to fulfil its obligations under the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Yours sincerely,

MOD Operations Directorate”

Image: Civilian area bombed at Sanaa Yemen – cluster munitions hamper and endanger Civil Defence rescuers.

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