This publication is a summary report of the ICRC Expert Meeting on the Humanitarian, Military, Technical and Legal Challenges of Cluster Munitions, held 18 to 20 April 2007 in Montreux, Switzerland. This event was organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to examine the cluster munitions problem and to consider all possible means of reducing their negative impact on civilian populations. The meeting brought together a representative group of governmental and independent experts for frank and in-depth dialogue. More than 80 experts participated in the event.
The issues addressed in the meeting included the following:
- An historical overview of the use and humanitarian impact of cluster munitions;
- The military role of cluster munitions and their technical evolution;
- Possible future alternatives to cluster munitions;
- Potential technical developments to improve reliability and accuracy;
- The adequacy or inadequacy of existing international humanitarian law;
- Potential restrictions on the use of cluster munitions; and
- Next steps foreseen at the national and international levels.
The report contains a short summary by each speaker of his or her presentation, a résumé by the ICRC of key issues raised in the discussions and a synthesis by rapporteurs of the state of the debate on three key themes: military aspects, technical issues and international humanitarian law. The meeting did not adopt formal conclusions or recommendations.