Rights watchdog says Russia fired cluster bombs on Georgians

August 16th, 2008 - 3:13 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Aug.16 (ANI): Human Rights Watch (HRW) officials have claimed that they have evidence of Russia using cluster bombs against civilian targets and infrastructure in Georgia.
Citing eyewitness accounts, as well as video and photographic evidence, the HRW officials said that Russian aircraft dropped RBK-250 cluster bombs, each containing 30 PTAB 2.5M submunitions, on the town of Ruisi in the Kareli district of Georgia on Tuesday.
The Washington Times further quoted it as saying that the attack killed three civilians and wounded five. The group says that a cluster strike took place the same day in the center of the city of Gori, killing at least eight civilians and injuring dozens.
Human Rights Watch spokesman Mark Hiznay denied a request by the paper to see the video and photos, citing the need to protect journalists and researchers in the field.
In May, 107 countries agreed to a ban on cluster munitions. Neither Russia nor the United States participated in the talks.
Human Rights Watch researchers said they interviewed victims, doctors and military personnel in Georgia, analyzed photos of craters and had seen video footage of Tuesday’’s attack on Gori. Researchers also say they saw a photo of the sub-munition carrier assembly and nose cone of an RBK-250 bomb in Gori.
The Gori video showed more than two-dozen simultaneous explosions during the attack, which is characteristic of cluster bombs, the organization said.
Human Rights Watch said doctors at Tbilisi’’s two main hospitals described numerous injuries to civilians in the attack on Gori that they think were consistent with cluster bombs. And the group’’s researchers said they saw a doctor extract a submunition fragment from a victim’’s head. (ANI)

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