Costa Rica

Last Updated: 12 August 2014

Cluster Munition Ban Policy


The Republic of Costa Rica signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008 and ratified on 28 April 2011. The convention entered into force for Costa Rica on 1 October 2011.

Costa Rica has declared its ratification legislation under national implementation measures.[1] A government official indicated in June 2014 that an interagency commission tasked with monitoring the implementation of Costa Rica’s international obligations on disarmament, peace, security, and terrorism matters is looking at whether specific legislation is needed to enforce the convention’s obligations.[2]

On 13 June 2014, Costa Rica submitted its initial Article 7 transparency report for the Convention on Cluster Munitions.[3]

Costa Rica played an important role in the Oslo Process that produced the convention, including by holding a regional conference in San José in September 2007.[4] It has since actively contributed to the work of the convention and will host the convention’s Fifth Meeting of State Parties in San José in 2-5 September 2014.

Costa Rica has participated in every Meeting of State Parties of the convention, including the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in Lusaka, Zambia in September 2013. It has attended all intersessional meetings of the convention held in Geneva.

At the intersessional meetings in April 2014, Costa Rica chaired discussions on general status and operation of the convention, together with its co-coordinator the Netherlands. Costa Rica’s deputy permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Christian Guillermet Fernández, gave a presentation on the preparations for convention’s Fifth Meeting of States Parties, for which he will serve as president.

Costa Rica attended a regional workshop on cluster munitions in Santiago, Chile on 12–13 December 2013, where Guillermet Fernández presented the meeting’s Santiago Declaration and elements of an action plan.[5] All 24 Latin American and Caribbean nations participating in the meeting endorsed the non-binding declaration (including non-signatories Argentina and Cuba), which calls for joint action to ensure the protection of civilians through the prohibition and total eradication of cluster munitions, including via the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

The government of Costa Rica including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with the CMC, has conducted local outreach to increase public awareness in advance of the convention’s Fifth Meeting of States Parties. An event at the University of Costa Rica on 27 May 2014 was attended by the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, the regional ICRC delegation, and the National Commission on International Humanitarian Law. On 21 May, the commission organized a special event on the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Local media covered the topic of cluster munitions ahead of the Fifth Meeting of States Parties.[6]

Costa Rica has not yet provided its views on certain important issues related to interpretation and implementation of the convention, including the prohibition on transit, the prohibition on assistance during joint military operations with states not party that may use cluster munitions, the prohibition on foreign stockpiling of cluster munitions, the prohibition on investment in production of cluster munitions, and the need for retention of cluster munitions and submunitions for training and development purposes.

Costa Rica has not made a national statement to express concern at Syria’s cluster munition use, but it has voted in favor of a UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolutions condemning the use, including Resolution 68/182 on 18 December 2013, which expressed “outrage” at Syria’s “continued widespread and systematic gross violations of human rights” including the use of cluster munitions.[7]

Costa Rica is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is also party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).

Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling

The initial Article 7 report provided in June 2014 declares that “the Government of Costa Rica does not use, develop, produce, acquire, store, preserve or transfer cluster munitions and there is no information on the existence of such weapons in Costa Rican territory.”[8]

Costa Rica previously stated that it has never used, produced, transferred, or stockpiled cluster munitions.[9]


[1] Under national implementation measures in its Article 7 report, Costa Rica stated that the Law 8921 on Convention on Cluster Munitions, which entered into force on 16 December 2010, is “supreme law.” Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form A, 13 June 2014.

[2] Email from Marcela Zamora, Counsellor, Department for Disarmament, Peace, Security, and Terrorism, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 9 July 2014. Costa Rica has a national law in place to implement the Mine Ban Treaty. See ICBL, Landmine Monitor Report 2003: Toward a Mine-Free World (New York: Human Rights Watch, August 2003).

[3] The report was originally due by 29 March 2012. It covers the period from 28 April 2011 to 10 June 2014. See: Article 7 Report, 13 June 2014.

[4] For details on Costa Rica’s policy and practice regarding cluster munitions through early 2009, see Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 62–63.

[5] Santiago Declaration and Elements of an Action Plan, presentation by Christian Guillermet, Deputy Permanent Representative, Mission Costa Rica to United Nations Office at Geneva, Santiago, 13 December 2013.

[6] See, for example, Carlos Luis Galán, “Costa Rica trabajará contras las “Municiones en Racimo,” AFP/CB24, 27 May 2014.

[7]Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution 68/182, 18 December 2013. Costa Rica voted in favor of a similar resolution on 15 May 2013.

[8] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form A, 13 June 2014. Translated from Spanish by the Monitor.

[9] Statement of Costa Rica, CCW Group of Governmental Experts on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 14 January 2008. Notes by Landmine Action.