chapter  3
Resisting the ban on cluster munitions
Pages 18

Introduction The Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) came into force in August 2010. This convention is a legally binding international treaty that prohibits the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions and requires the clearing of remnants as well as the destruction of stockpiles. It also places obligations on countries to clear affected areas and assist victims. Before the CCM was concluded, the use of cluster munitions had been virtually unrestricted. To be precise, the norm which bans the use of excessively injurious weapons had been widely accepted by international society since the nineteenth century. Indeed, the St. Petersburg Declaration of 1868 was the first international agreement referring to this norm.1 Article 23 of the 1899 Convention with Respect to the Laws and Customs of War on Land stipulated the prohibition of the weapons that ‘cause superfluous injury’. However, such a general ban norm does not specify whether a certain weapon is prohibited or not.2 Although quite a few weapons might be excessively injurious, there had been virtually no restriction on the use of most of the weapons, including cluster munitions. Cluster munitions came to be singled out for criticism as early as the 1970s. Those who tried to change the normative status quo, the unrestricted use of cluster munitions, insisted that ‘Cluster munitions should not be used’. Nevertheless, it took decades before the CCM was concluded. It is true that the momentum to ban certain weapons, such as chemical weapons or anti-personnel landmines (APLs), started to gather after the end of the Cold War. When it comes to cluster munitions, however, the momentum only started to gather around 2000 and it took another 10 years to conclude the CCM. This raises an interesting puzzle: despite the fact that cluster munitions have been a focus of protest since the 1970s, why was the ban on cluster munitions only finally realised in 2010? When analysing the diffusion of a new norm, it is often the case that scholars focus on the activities of those who create and attempt to spread the new norm (Finnemore and Sikkink, 1998). Recently, more and more literature has been emphasising the contestation among two or more norms in the norm diffusion

processes (Florini, 1996; Wiener, 2004; Sandholtz, 2008; Bob, 2012). However, little attention has been paid to the activities of norm antipreneurs3 who try to maintain the status quo norm. When the status quo norm is entrenched, norm antipreneurs might employ different campaign strategies from norm entrepreneurs because they may enjoy various ‘strategic’ and ‘tactical’ advantages. Despite these potential advantages for norm antipreneurs, why do they sometimes fail to resist the diffusion of new norms? To better understand norm diffusion processes when status quo norms are entrenched, I would argue it is essential to focus on the tug of war between norm entrepreneurs and norm antipreneurs. In this chapter, I will outline how a new norm on cluster munitions emerged and was eventually institutionalised. Though it was not easy for norm entrepreneurs to change the status quo norm, windows of opportunities for norm entrepreneurs were widened by extrinsic events such as the end of the Cold War and the success of the Ottawa Process. At first, the entrepreneurs’ attempt to ban the cluster munitions during the early post-Cold War era failed repeatedly as norm antipreneurs skilfully resisted and maintained the status quo norm. Eventually, though, norm entrepreneurs managed to overcome the antipreneurs’ counter-campaign. Drawing parallels with the so-called Ottowa Process, which ended with the banning of landmines, will help me highlight the norm entrepreneurs’ innovative strategies which succeeded in concluding the CCM, despite the antipreneurs’ resistance.