Reliable reports in the international press suggest that forces loyal to Col. Ghaddafi has used MAT-120 cluster munitions to disperse civilian populations in Misurata.
The use of cluster munitions was first regulated by the Protocol on Explosive Remnants of War (Protocol V to the 1980 Convention), specifically articles 5 and 6, (universally recognised as humanitarian law) and later prohibited by the signatories of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in December 2008 (107 States) in Dublin, Ireland:
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
(Article 1: section 1, Convention on Cluster Munitions, Dec 2008)
According to Jane’s, the MAT-120 projectile which is designed and manufactured by Spanish firm Instalaza SA and carries 21 submunitions up to a range of 5,500 to 6,800 m, depending on barrel length. The MAT-120 incorporates a number of safety features that suggest it is compliant to Protocol V to the 1980 Convention standard, but clearly contravenes the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions.
(Source: The Telegraph, Jane’s 2011, ICRC, Convention on Cluster Munitions)