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Country Reports
Download PDF of country response to Human Rights Watch letter.


The Republic of Estonia has not signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Estonia is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and ratified Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War on 18 December 2006.

According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, “Estonia has never produced or used cluster munitions.” The minister also disclosed in February 2009 that Estonia possesses “a small amount” of DM-632 155mm projectiles which it retains for “training and defensive purposes.”[1]

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Estonia first participated in the Oslo Process at the Lima conference in May 2007. It attended subsequent Oslo Process meetings in Vienna, Wellington, and Dublin and the regional conference in Brussels.

During the Lima conference in May 2007, Estonia stated that it would support a proposal by Germany for a draft protocol on cluster munitions in the CCW. Although adding that it was “fully devoted to support the global effort to achieve a common goal concerning the new international legally binding instrument on cluster munitions,”[2] Estonia has consistently stated its preference for work in the CCW.

During the negotiation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Dublin in May 2008, Estonia called for the inclusion of provisions on “interoperability” (joint military operations with states not party).[3] While it joined consensus in the adoption of the convention, Estonia was uncertain as to whether it would be in a position to sign it. Estonia called the convention a remarkable achievement and the best available compromise, but stated that signature would need further consideration.[4]

During the September 2008 CCW Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) session on cluster munitions, Estonia supported proposals for a draft CCW instrument that would permit states to choose from any of a series of options by which to exclude cluster munitions from prohibition.[5] Estonia stated that it would not support proposals for a definition based on a limited number of submunitions or weight, claiming that they would hinder the development of effective and reliable cluster munitions in the future. Estonia maintained that the most important parameter in assessing the reliability of cluster munitions was the failure rate and stated that an appropriate benchmark would be 1%.[6] At that time, Estonia also called for a transition period of 10 years before any new requirements took effect.[7] During the November 2008 GGE session, Estonia stated that a transition period might be even longer, suggesting 15 years.[8]

The CMC-supported Ban Bus advocacy initiative visited Tallinn, Estonia on 24 November 2008, nearing the end of its 12,000km journey through Europe to urge governments to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Oslo. Campaigners met with the parliamentary adviser to the Foreign Affairs Committee who indicated that Estonia would not be able to sign the convention in Oslo but would consider it in time.[9]

In February 2009, the Minister of Foreign Affairs stated that Estonia’s priority “has always been the negotiations in the CCW framework as they include all major cluster munitions producers and owners and concentrate to the limitation process.” Estonia regretted that the CCW was not able to achieve agreement on a draft protocol in 2008 and stated it would continue to support the CCW’s efforts on cluster munitions in 2009. “We believe a future CCW protocol on cluster munitions and CCM [the Convention on Cluster Munitions] could co-exist side by side similarly to the Amended Protocol II of CCW and the Ottawa Convention on landmines.”[10]

[1] Letter from Urmas Paet, Minister of Foreign Affairs, 12 February 2009. The DM-632 projectile contains 63 DM-1383 dual purpose improved conventional munition (DPICM) submunitions equipped with a pyrotechnic self-destruct back-up fuze. The DM designation is German, but there is no specific information on transfer of these weapons from Germany to Estonia.

[2] Statement of Estonia, Lima Conference on Cluster Munitions, 23–25 May 2007.

[3] Statement of Estonia, Committee of the Whole on Article 1, Dublin Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions, 19 May 2008. Notes by Landmine Action.

[4] Statement of Estonia, Closing Ceremony, Dublin Diplomatic Conference, 30 May 2008. Notes by Landmine Action.

[5] Statement of Estonia, Fourth 2008 Session of the CCW GGE on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 1 September 2008. Notes by Landmine Action.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

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

[9] “Estonia,” The Ban Bus Blog, 26 November 2008, thebanbus.org.

[10] Letter from Urmas Paet, Minister of Foreign Affairs, 12 February 2009.