+   *    +     +     
About Us 
The Issues 
Our Research Products 
Order Publications 
Press Room 
Resources for Monitor Researchers 
Landmine Monitor
Table of Contents
Country Reports
Download PDF of country response to Human Rights Watch letter.
Czech Republic

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008 in Oslo. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “A draft law on cluster munitions is being prepared and will be submitted to the Government by October 2009. Then the ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munitions will begin, in accordance with the legislation of the Czech Republic.”[1] In September 2008, Minister of Foreign Affairs Karel Schwarzenberg pledged, “I will personally follow the internal procedures in my country in order to speed up the ratification process.”[2]

The Czech Republic is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and ratified Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War on 6 June 2006.

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

At the CCW Review Conference in November 2006, the Czech Republic was one of 25 supporters of a mandate to negotiate within the CCW a legally binding instrument to address the humanitarian problems posed by cluster munitions.[3]

The Czech Republic attended the first Oslo Process conference in February 2007 and endorsed the Oslo Declaration. It subsequently attended the Lima, Vienna, and Wellington preparatory conferences, the Dublin negotiations, and the regional conference in Brussels.

At the Lima Conference in May 2007, the Czech Republic stated that it was “greatly concerned by the humanitarian impact of cluster munitions” and “committed to make real progress on this issue. We have destroyed a number of RBK bombs and KMGU aerial dispensers. We still have a limited number of stockpiled cluster munitions, which we removed from service and which is intended for complete disposal.”[4]

At the Vienna Conference in December 2007, the Czech Republic raised concerns about the issue of “interoperability,” arguing that the convention must have clear provisions to allow for military operations with states not party because not all NATO states were participating in the Oslo Process. The Czech Republic stated it could only join the convention if it was sure that its NATO responsibilities would not be hindered.[5]

At the Dublin Diplomatic Conference in May 2008, the Czech Republic continued to argue strongly for provisions on interoperability to be included in the convention text, describing this as a “red line” issue. The Czech Republic advocated for a definition which excluded from the prohibition cluster munitions “with less than 10 explosive submunitions, equipped with a self-destruction mechanism and/or self-deactivation mechanism.”[6] At the conclusion of the negotiations, the Czech Republic joined the consensus in adopting the final text.

Following the negotiations, the Minister of Foreign Affairs stated, “The strength of the treaty is in my view largely due to the prohibition of cluster munitions as an entire category of weapons…. Although [it] has not yet entered into force, it is already contributing internationally to the increasing stigma against cluster munitions.” He also said that any new CCW protocol “should also ban cluster munitions.”[7]

Minister of Foreign Affairs Schwarzenberg signed the convention in Oslo on behalf of the Czech Republic.

Use, Production, Stockpiling, and Transfer

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “The Army of the Czech Republic has never used any cluster munitions in military operations,” and the “Czech Republic never produced cluster munitions.”[8] Additionally, “The excluded cluster munitions are used only for the training of its specialists.”[9]

With regard to currently held stockpiles, the Czech Republic disclosed in March 2009 that it “owned the RBK-500 and the KMGU BKF PTAB types of cluster munitions, but they have already been removed from Army equipment. The Ministry of Defence currently holds, in storage, 67 containers and 5,377 pieces of RBK-500 and KMGU BKF PTAB sub-munitions, which will be environmentally disposed of in accordance with the Convention on Cluster Munitions.”[10]

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also revealed that, “In the past, the Ministry of Defence sold part of it cluster munitions stocks to Czech private firms.”[11]

The Ministry of Defense reported to Human Rights Watch in 2006, “There are no cluster munitions included in the armaments of the Czech Armed Forces” and all cluster munitions “have been excluded from service.” It went on to note that the Czech Republic has a limited number of stockpiled RBK-250, RBK-500, and KMG-U cluster munitions that are intended for “complete liquidation eventually.” It stated that, contrary to previous information, the Czech Armed Forces has no stockpiles of RBK-275 bombs, PROSAB-250 bombs, AGAT/JRKK-G rockets, or TRNOVNIK rockets.[12]

[1] Letter from Jan Michal, Director of the UN Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 17 March 2009.

[2] Letter from Karel Schwarzenberg, Minister of Foreign Affairs, 2 September 2008.

[3] Declaration on Cluster Munitions, delivered by Sweden and co-sponsored 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 the Czech Republic, Lima Conference on Cluster Munitions, 23–25 May 2007.

[5] Statement of the Czech Republic, Session on General Scope of Obligations, Vienna Conference on Cluster Munitions, 6 December 2007. Notes by CMC/WILPF.

[6] Proposal by the Czech Republic for the amendment of Article 2, Dublin Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions, CCM/68, 19 May 2008.

[7] Letter from Karel Schwarzenberg, Minister of Foreign Affairs, 2 September 2008.

[8] Letter from Jan Michal, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 17 March 2009.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Email from Jakub Cimoradsky, International Law Department, Ministry of Defense, 25 August 2006. It stated that only Nb 122-JROF RM-70 cargo rockets are used for GRAD multiple rocket launchers produced by Czechoslovakia.