Use of cluster bombs in Libya presents a clear legal challenge for those nations that have ratified the Convention on Cluster Weapons. Many of the members of NATO have ratified this treaty which specifically prohibits their participation in any activity that uses these banned weapons. Some NATO member states that are taking part in the bombing of Libya, such as Denmark, France, Norway, and the United Kingdom, have ratified the treaty. For such States Parties to the Convention to participate in a NATO military campaign using cluster bombs clearly violates the spirit, if not the letter, of the treaty.*
The Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) prohibits the use, transfer, and stockpile of cluster bombs, which scatter "bomblets" over a large area. The CCM went into force on 1 August 2010. Currently, 63 states have ratified it (purple) including Britain, France, Norway and Denmark, NATO member states that are participating in the bombing of Libya. States that have signed the Convention but have not yet ratified it are in blue.
Each State Party undertakes never under any circumstances to:
(a) Use cluster munitions;
(b) Develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer to anyone, directly or indirectly, cluster munitions;
(c) Assist, encourage or induce anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Convention.
It should be noted that Denmark, Norway, France, and Britain are among the NATO member states participating in the aerial bombardment of Libya. These states are therefore assisting in an illegal "activity", i.e. the use of cluster weapons, which is prohibited to them as States Parties to the Convention.
The current Secretary General is Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former prime minister of Denmark. Because Rasmussen is currently the head of NATO, Denmark is clearly obliged to charge Rasmussen, as a citizen of Denmark bound to its laws, under Article 9 of the CCM:
Each State Party shall take all appropriate legal, administrative and other measures to implement this Convention, including the imposition of penal sanctions to prevent and suppress any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Convention undertaken by persons or on territory under its jurisdiction or control.
* Note: The CCM provides the following legal loophole for States Parties to violate the spirit of the treaty when engaged in illegal NATO "gang activity":
Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 1 of this Convention and in accordance with international law, States Parties, their military personnel or nationals, may engage in military cooperation and operations with States not party to this Convention that might engage in activities prohibited to a State Party.