Who is responsible for the cluster bombs, used in South Sudan?

By: Bol Khan Rom

March 12, 2014 (SSNA) — There’s an urgent need to find out who should be responsible for the use of internationally banned cluster bombs in South Sudan current war. These bombs were essentially used in Juba-Bor road in January, 2014. It was reported by multiple reliable sources. Human Right Watch (HRW) and United Nations (UN) are among the most concerned world Organizations which confirmed the use of cluster bombs in South Sudan. Therefore, it would be legal to find out and held immediately accountable the user(s) of such fatal bombs.

Cluster munitions are a form of air-dropped or ground-launched explosive weapons that releases or ejects smaller sub munitions. Commonly, a cluster bomb that ejects explosive bomb lets is designed to kill personnel and destroy vehicles. Other clusters munitions are designed to destroy runways, lines, disperse, chemical, biological weapons, or to scatter land mines. Some sub munitions-based weapons can disperse non-munitions, such as leaflets.

Cluster bombs what’s more release many small bomb lets over a wide area and kill immensely. This was the reason why International Community banned such munitions’ use in wars, whether fought between the nations (countries) or within one nation like South Sudan. These bombs once used do not only kill soldiers of the all sides to the conflict. They also kill or pose risks to civilians both at the time of attacks and afterwards. During attacks, the weapons are prone to have indiscriminate effects, especially in populated areas. Unexploded bomb lets can kill or maim civilians and/or unintended targets long after a conflict has ended, and are costly to locate and remove, remnants. These cluster bombs were used in South Sudan war, Juba-Bor road in January, 2014. Allegedly, by UPDF-SPLA allies forces. And it must be true.

UN later proved the use of these internationally banned bombs in South Sudan’s said road. Its spokesperson Martin Nesirky, in his report in New York, said it was not clear which side in the South Sudan war was using cluster bombs."We are not in a position to say by whom the cluster bombs were used but such munitions were used," Nesirky said. This report by UN’s Spokesman was made in the middle days of January. But in a long run since that month, I think the UN has now identified as to who uses (used) cluster bombs in South Sudan’s Jonglei state.

This implies, UN knows who used cluster bombs. So, it should do everything to end such myriad sufferings in the world newest nation. If not it has to start doing that and immediately hold accountable any side that could be found to have had used the said weapons. Whether, it was rebel or SPLA-UPDF forces. These quick investigations and accountability needed must be in a public interest. Hence, everything is obvious, because all investigations will depend on capacity one side Army has, in term of military equipments. The rebels have neither a country which support them nor warplanes to drop these dangerous bombs. However, the UPDF of Uganda with its all war-equipments allowed in the territory of South Sudan by the SPLA could use such bombs. As explained already by some analysts as well as international institutions. This is authentic. UPDF’s air defense force bombs rebels controlled areas every now and then. As a matter of fact, bombarding rebels had to be/is a right choice. Because rebels are fighting Government and Government has a mandate to protect its people and not to kill them. Thus, civil population shouldn’t be targeted. For instance, the exclusion of Duk and Twic East counties populations from these armed conflicts is an exemplary step which shows objectivity of the cause.

But the worst part of it; is that, the SPLA-UPDF has been dropping bombs without putting into considerations the civilians who are innocently have been living in their villages. SPLA, together with its all military allies use wild styles toward civilians. Until recently, according to Rebels’ spokesman, these bombs were again dropped on the innocent civilians by UPDF’s air forces in Gading, Uror County and other Nuer people areas. When I personally contacted the people on the ground I could only find that it was really again used in Uror County. Squarely on civilians, but there is no quick action being taken yet by International Community to curb such practices against innocent civilians or held accountable the user(s) of these cluster bombs.

Therefore, the aim of this piece is to add more call upon IGAD, AU, UN and the International Community to embark on quick action, by investigating whoever really (ordered the) used those banned bombs and immediately held him/her accountable.

The author can be reached for comment on [email protected].

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