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Country Reports


The Republic of Belarus has not signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It did not participate in the diplomatic process that led to the development, negotiation, and signing of the convention in Oslo in December 2008.

Belarus is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and ratified Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War on 29 September 2008. Belarus has been an active participant in the CCW discussions on cluster munitions in recent years.[1]

At a CCW meeting in November 2007, Belarus stated that it shared the concern over the use of cluster munitions by certain countries and supported proposals to continue to study the issue in a context which involved all parties to the greatest extent possible.[2] In January 2008, Belarus expressed the view that the humanitarian implications of the use of cluster munitions could be resolved through full implementation of CCW Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War. It said any further agreement on cluster munitions should prohibit the use of cluster munitions against non-combatants and infrastructure critical to civilians, and should include a mechanism promoting national legislation aimed at full compliance with existing international humanitarian law.[3]

At a CCW session on cluster munitions in April 2008, Belarus stated that it continued to believe that one of the main problems with cluster munitions was that existing international legal instruments were not universal. It said the Ministry of Defense was issuing revised instructions to its armed forces on compliance with norms of international humanitarian law. Belarus said that it would be difficult to find a mutually acceptable formula for an instrument on cluster munitions due to technological implications for various states. Belarus stated that the financial capacity of all States Parties must be considered and from a financial perspective, the establishment of new international standards requiring technological upgrading of weapons capabilities would not be acceptable or achievable.[4]

The Belarus Support Center for Associations and Foundations (SCAF) has actively campaigned as part of the CMC to promote awareness of the Oslo Process and the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Belarus. As part of the Global Week of Action on cluster munitions from 28 October–2 November 2008, SCAF engaged local students, their parents, and community members in three regions of Belarus in a survey on attitudes on a ban on cluster munitions. The survey revealed the majority of participants felt that cluster munitions should be banned. Belarusian campaigners discussed the survey’s findings with government representatives and were told that Belarus shared their humanitarian concerns over the use of cluster munitions and “is looking for solutions that are safe and [nationally] beneficial.”[5]

Belarus is not believed to have used or produced cluster munitions. It inherited its stockpile from the Soviet Union. Jane’s Information Group reports that RBK-500 cluster bombs are in service with the country’s air force.[6] Belarus also possesses Uragan 220mm and Smerch 300mm surface-to-surface rockets, but it is not known if these include versions with submunition payloads.[7]

[1] It participated in the Third Review Conference of the States Parties to the CCW in November 2006, the 2007 Meeting of the States Parties to the CCW, and the 2008 sessions of the CCW Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Cluster Munitions.

[2] Statement of Belarus, 2007 Meeting of the States Parties to the CCW, Geneva, 7 Nov 2007. Notes by WILPF.

[3] Statement of Belarus, First 2008 Session of the CCW GGE on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 17 January 2008. Notes by WILPF.

[4] Statement of Belarus, Second 2008 Session of the CCW GGE on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 8 April 2008. Notes by Landmine Action.

[5] CMC, “Report on the Global Week of Action to Ban Cluster Bombs,” 28 October–2 November 2008; and SCAF interview with Ivan Grinevich, Counselor of Arms Control and Regional Security Development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Minsk, 29 October 2008.

[6] Robert Hewson, ed., Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons, Issue 44 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2004), p. 836.

[7] International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance 2005-2006 (London: Routledge, 2005), p. 112.