United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a statement on 20 April 2011 that the Libyan government forces may have committed war crimes by using heavy weapons and cluster munitions against civilians there.
The German bank granted Spanish company Instalaza a more than €3.1 million loan according to information from non-governmental organisation Urgewald, as reported in the weekly Die Zeit on Wednesday.
Cluster bombs are a controversial munition due to the fact they present a huge danger to civilians. Designed to kill enemy personnel and disable equipment, they are a collection of small bomblets scattered over a wide area. But these often remain unexploded until someone steps on them or picks one up.
According to the Cluster Munition Coalition, a pressure group pushing for a global ban, 60 percent of cluster bomb casualties are injured while undertaking their normal activities. A third of all recorded cluster bomb casualties are children, the group says.
More than 100 countries signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions at the end of 2008 – it became binding international law for those who signed at the start of August 2010. The convention bans not only the use but also the support of manufacture of cluster bombs.
A spokesman for Deutsche Bank told Die Zeit he could not comment on specific customer relationships, but denied the bank financed the sale of controversial munitions.
“Deutsche Bank does no business directly connected to certain types of weapons like personnel landmines, cluster bombs or ABC weapons,” he said.
The paper said the Deutsche Bank loan was made in 2007 and reported that other German companies have continued to invest in cluster bomb manufacturers since then. More than a dozen insurers offer Germans taking part in the so-called Riester pension scheme can put their money in funds which have invested in cluster bomb makers.
These include Deutscher Ring, Basler, Condor, Stuttgarter, Volkswohlbund and WWK. The paper noted that because the Riester contracts are co-funded by the German government, it should be assumed that public money is also finding its way into the coffers of cluster bomb manufacturers.