Dutch cameraman was killed by Russian cluster bomb

Dutch cameraman Stan Storimans, who was killed in the Georgian city of Gori on 12 August 2008, was the victim of a cluster munition. The munition was propelled by a type of rocket that is only found in Russia’s military arsenal. That is the conclusion of the mission that Minister of Foreign Affairs Maxime Verhagen appointed to investigate the circumstances of Mr Storimans’ death.

Mr Verhagen regards the findings as extremely serious. ‘I have made that clear to the Russian authorities,’ he said. ‘Cluster munitions must not be used in this way. There were no troops present in Gori and innocent civilians were killed.’

Mr Verhagen is taking the initiative to prevent civilians being killed by cluster weapons in such circumstances in the future. On Thursday the Netherlands will raise this issue in the Permanent Council of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). This organisation, of which Russia and Georgia are members, deals with issues such as arms control. The Netherlands will call for a political statement to be issued in which member states pledge not to use cluster weapons in situations of this kind.

Mr Storimans was killed while reporting on the conflict between Russia and Georgia for RTL News. His colleague, reporter Jeroen Akkermans, received minor injuries. Mr Verhagen ordered an investigation after requests to the Georgian and Russian authorities failed to yield useful information regarding Mr Storimans’ death. The Minister has personally spoken to Mr Storimans’ family and the editors of RTL News about the findings.

A team of military and diplomatic experts headed by former ambassador A.P.R. Jacobovits de Szeged interviewed eyewitnesses, representatives of international organisations, military experts, and the Georgian and Russian authorities. Technical and forensic evidence was also analysed, and various independent international media organisations made photo and video material available.