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Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Oslo on 3 December 2008. The status of the ratification process is not known. BiH has stockpiled and produced cluster munitions and is affected by cluster munitions.

BiH is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), and ratified Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War on 17 March 2008.

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

At the CCW Third Review Conference in November 2006, BiH supported a proposal for a mandate to negotiate a legally-binding instrument “that addresses the humanitarian concerns posed by cluster munitions.”[1] When other CCW States Parties rejected such a mandate, BiH joined 25 nations in supporting a declaration calling for an international agreement that would prohibit the use of cluster munitions “within concentrations of civilians,” prohibit the use of cluster munitions that “pose serious humanitarian hazards because they are for example unreliable and/or inaccurate,” and require destruction of stockpiles of such cluster munitions.[2]

BiH then participated in the initial conference launching the Oslo Process in February 2007 and endorsed the Oslo Declaration, committing states to conclude in 2008 a convention prohibiting cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians. It participated in all of the international conferences to develop the convention text in Lima, Vienna, and Wellington, as well as the formal negotiations in Dublin in May 2008.

BiH also participated in the Belgrade conference for affected states in October 2007, and regional conferences in Brussels in October 2007 and Sofia in September 2008.

At the Oslo conference in February 2007, BiH, citing its national experience as an affected country, called for a moratorium on the use of cluster munitions until a legally-binding instrument could be adopted.[3] At the Lima conference, BiH advocated for a broad prohibition in the convention, and also called for states to take immediate national steps to ban the weapon.[4]

On 6 February 2008, BiH declared a national moratorium on the use of cluster munitions until an international agreement was concluded. It subsequently informed Oslo Process participants of this at the Wellington conference.[5]

During the Dublin negotiations, BiH resolutely opposed the inclusion of a transition period during which states could still use cluster munitions.[6] At the conclusion, BiH noted the important humanitarian norms contained in the convention and expressed its full support.[7] In July 2008, at a CCW Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) meeting, BiH noted the historic achievement attained in Dublin and stated that the CCW should not settle for anything less.[8]

In October 2008, the European Faith Leaders’ Conference on Cluster Munitions took place in Sarajevo, bringing together over twenty senior faith leaders representing various religions. During the conference, the Prime Minister of BiH officially announced the country would sign the convention in Oslo.[9] From 27–29 October 2008, the Ban Bus, a mobile advocacy initiative to promote awareness on cluster munitions and the convention, stopped in Sarajevo during its 12,000km trip through 18 European countries.[10]

At the CCW in November 2008, BiH was one of 26 states that issued a joint statement expressing their opposition to the weak draft text on a possible CCW protocol on cluster munitions, indicating it was an unacceptable step back from the standards set by the Convention on Cluster Munitions.[11]

Upon signing the convention in Oslo, BiH noted the determination of the political leaders present to spare civilian populations the suffering caused by cluster munitions and explosive remnants of war. BiH appealed that the best interests of cluster munition victims be ensured in a non-discriminatory fashion.[12]

Use, Production, Stockpiling, and Transfer

Yugoslav forces and non-state armed groups used available stocks of cluster munitions during the 1992–1995 civil war. The various entity armies inherited cluster munitions during the breakup of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

BiH has acknowledged that it produced cluster munitions for 11 years, but has stated that production has ceased.[13] It has noted that since there was a large technology investment in a few production facilities, it would need assistance for conversion of these facilities and care for employees.[14]

The production capacity included the ability to manufacture KB-series submunitions and integrate them into carrier munitions such as artillery projectiles and rockets.[15] According to Jane’s Information Group, the Ministry of Defense has produced the M-87 Orkan multiple launch 262mm rocket system, with each rocket containing 288 KB-1 dual purpose improved conventional munitions (DPICM) submunitions.[16] Jane’s also lists BiH forces as possessing KPT-150 dispensers (which deploy submunitions) for aircraft.[17]

[1] Proposal for a Mandate to Negotiate a Legally-Binding Instrument that Addresses the Humanitarian Concerns Posed by Cluster Munitions, Presented by Austria, Holy See, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, and Sweden, Third Review Conference of the States Parties to the CCW, Geneva, CCW/CONF.III/WP.1, Geneva, 25 October 2006.

[2] Declaration on Cluster Munitions, Third Review Conference of the States Parties to the CCW, CCW/CONF.III/WP.18, Geneva, 17 November 2006.

[3] Statement of BiH, Oslo Conference on Cluster Munitions, 22 February 2007. Notes by CMC/WILPF.

[4] Statement of BiH, Session on Definition and Scope, Lima Conference on Cluster Munitions, 24 May 2007. Notes by CMC/WILPF.

[5] The decision was taken by the Council of Ministers and approved by the president. Katherine Harrison, “Report on the Wellington Conference on Cluster Munitions, 18–22 February 2008,” WILPF, March 2008, p. 30.

[6] Statement of BiH, Committee of the Whole, Dublin Diplomatic Conference on Cluster, 23 May 2008. Notes by Landmine Action.

[7] Statement of BiH, Dublin Diplomatic Conference, 28 May 2008. Notes by Landmine Action.

[8] Statement of BiH, Third 2008 Session of the CCW GGE on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 15 July 2008. Notes by Landmine Action.

[9] This included Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Orthodox, and Zoroastrian faiths. The conference was organized by Religions for Peace, the European Council of Religious Leaders, and Handicap International Southeast Europe. It was hosted by the Inter-religious Council of Bosnia Herzegovina. Religions for Peace, “European Faith Leaders’ Conference on Cluster Munitions, Final Report,” Sarajevo, 29–30 October 2008, www.wcrp.org.

[10] CMC, “The Ban Bus in Bosnia-Herzegovina, 27-29 October 2008,” 4 November 2008, www.stopclustermunitions.org.

[11] Statement delivered by Costa Rica on behalf of Austria, Belgium, Benin, BiH, Chile, Croatia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Holy See, Honduras, Indonesia, Ireland, Lebanon, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, Uruguay, and Venezuela, Fifth 2008 Session of the CCW GGE on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 5 November 2008.

[12] Statement of BiH, Convention on Cluster Munitions Signing Conference, Oslo, 4 December 2008. Notes by Landmine Action.

[13] Statement of BiH, Oslo Conference, 22 February 2007. Notes by CMC/WILPF.

[14] Statement of BiH, Wellington Conference, 21 February 2008. Notes by CMC.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Leland S. Ness and Anthony G. Williams, eds., Jane’s Ammunition Handbook 2007–2008 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2007), p. 720.

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