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Country Reports
Costa Rica

Costa Rica

The Republic of Costa Rica signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Oslo on 3 December 2008. After signing the convention, Ambassador Claudio Bogantes Zamora promised Costa Rica would ratify the convention “soon.”[1]

Costa Rica stated that it has never used, produced, transferred, or stockpiled cluster munitions.[2]

Costa Rica is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), but has not yet ratified Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War.

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Costa Rica was among the 25 states that endorsed a formal declaration at end of the Third Review Conference of the CCW in November 2006 calling for an international agreement to “prohibit the development, production, stockpiling, transfer and use of cluster munitions that pose serious humanitarian hazards because they are for example unreliable and/or inaccurate.”[3]

In February 2007, Costa Rica participated in the initial Oslo Process conference and endorsed the Oslo Declaration calling for conclusion of a new treaty in 2008. During the conference, Costa Rica stressed the impact of cluster munitions on developing countries.[4] Subsequently, Costa Rica participated in the international treaty preparatory conferences in Lima, Vienna, and Wellington, as well as the formal negotiations in Dublin in May 2008.

Costa Rica played an important role in the Oslo Process, including by hosting the Latin American Regional Conference on Cluster Munitions in San José from 4–5 September 2007. Eighteen countries from Latin America attended the conference.[5] The participating governments reaffirmed their support to the Oslo Process, as well as their intention to work toward the creation of the world’s first cluster munition free zone. Costa Rica subsequently attended regional conferences hosted by Mexico (April 2008) and Ecuador (November 2008).

Costa Rica worked hard during the Dublin negotiations to achieve a comprehensive and strong treaty text. In particular, it advocated for strengthening the victim assistance provisions.[6] At the conclusion, Costa Rica said that it would have preferred a broader definition of cluster munitions and more rigor in Article 21 (regarding joint military operations with states not party), but felt that the achievements in the text as a whole were so great that Costa Rica supported adoption of the convention.[7]

In 2008, Costa Rica participated in meetings of the CCW Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on cluster munitions, but made clear its view that any agreement reached in the CCW “should be compatible with the Oslo Process and the Convention on Cluster Munitions.”[8] Costa Rica warned that a weaker instrument could “set a dangerous precedent to allow the CCW to fall behind stronger existing standards.”[9]

In November 2008, Costa Rica read a joint statement on behalf of 26 states expressing their opposition to the weak draft text on a possible CCW protocol on cluster munitions. In part it said, “The Chair’s text as it stands does not, however, meet that [Convention on Cluster Munitions] standard. Instead, by allowing states to choose from a menu of vaguely-worded options, we do not see how it would provide sufficient added value over the current situation, and it could be used as a justification for the continued use of cluster munitions that have already proven over the past decades to cause exactly the humanitarian consequences that we are trying to address. For these reasons, the Chair’s text as it stands is not acceptable to our delegations.”[10]

[1] Statement by Amb. Claudio Bogantes Zamora, Ambassador of Costa Rica to Norway, Convention on Cluster Munitions Signing Conference, Oslo, 3 December 2008. Translation by Landmine Action.

[2] Statement of Costa Rica, First 2008 Session of the CCW GGE on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 14 January 2008. Notes by Landmine Action.

[3] Declaration on Cluster Munitions, presented by Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Holy See, Hungary, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, and Switzerland, Third Review Conference of the States Parties to the CCW, Geneva, CCW/CONF.III/WP.18, 17 November 2006.

[4] Statement of Costa Rica, Oslo Conference on Cluster Munitions, 23 February 2007. Notes by CMC.

[5] This was the first time El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, and Uruguay participated in the Oslo Process. Costa Rica’s Vice Minister of the Presidency, José Torres, opened the conference.

[6] Summary Record of the Committee of the Whole, Second Session: 20 May 2008, Dublin Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions, CCM/CW/SR/2, 18 June 2008; Proposal by Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guinea, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Uruguay, and Zambia for the amendment of Article 5, Dublin Diplomatic Conference, CCM/70, 21 May 2008.

[7] Summary Record of the Plenary and Closing Ceremony of the Conference, Fourth Session: 30 May 2008, Dublin Diplomatic Conference, CCM/SR/4, 18 June 2008.

[8] Statement of Costa Rica, Fifth 2008 Session of the CCW GGE on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 3 November 2008. Notes by Landmine Action.

[9] Ibid, 5 November 2008.

[10] Statement delivered by Costa Rica on behalf of Austria, Belgium, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 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.