University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

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Law Professor to Speak at UW-Eau Claire
About Destructiveness of Cluster Bombs

 MAILED:  March 22, 2004

EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Geography Club and the Center for International Education is sponsoring Dr. Virgil Wiebe, assistant professor of law at the University of St. Thomas and international legal consultant for the Mennonite Central Committee, to speak about the effects of cluster bombs in Iraq at 7 p.m. Monday, April 5, in Phillips Science Hall, Room 007. The presentation, “Cluster Bombs in Iraq: WMD in Slow Motion,” is free and open to the public.

Cluster munitions are containers that break open in mid-air, scattering smaller bombs the size of soda cans or a baseball. They are usually dropped from aircraft or shot from rocket launches and artillery projectiles. The munitions may cover an area the size of several football fields and are designed to explode on impact.

Wiebe will discuss the need for action to remove cluster bombs from military arsenals. Cluster bombs have been used in the Vietnam War, Gulf War and the former Yugoslavia. According to Wiebe, these munitions not only cause physical suffering and loss, but also hurt the agricultural and economic development of lands for years.

The rate at which cluster bombs fail to explode at the intended time is 5 to 30 percent. Unexploded bombs may rest on top of soil in clear view or hide in weeds, sand or water. The bombs are small and alluring in shape and color and may explode with the slightest touch, when picked up, stepped on or kicked by an unsuspecting passerby.

Wiebe has served as an advocacy fellow at the Center for Applied Legal Studies and practiced law as director of immigration services and as a supervising attorney for Interfaith Community Services in New York City. He was a Root-Tilden-Snow Public Interest Law Scholar and an editor of the Journal of International Law & Politics, New York University Law School. Wiebe also has published articles on international humanitarian law and immigration law and policy.

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 Judy Berthiaume, Director
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Updated: March 22, 2004