Croatia

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 10 August 2015

Five-Year Review: State Party Croatia was among the first 30 ratifications that triggered the convention’s entry into force on 1 August 2010. It is preparing draft implementing legislation for the convention. Croatia has participated in all of the convention’s meetings and will host the First Review Conference in Dubrovnik in September 2015. Croatia works for universalization of the convention and has condemned new use of cluster munitions, including in Libya, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen. Croatia has elaborated its views on several important issues relating to the convention’s interpretation and implementation.

In its initial transparency report for the convention provided in 2011, Croatia declared a stockpile of 7,235 cluster munitions and 178,318 submunitions that it is preparing to destroy in advance of the August 2018 deadline.

Policy

The Republic of Croatia signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008 and ratified on 17 August 2009. It was among the first 30 ratifications that triggered the convention’s entry into force on 1 August 2010.

Croatia will host the First Review Conference of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Dubrovnik on 7–11 September 2015.

In 2014, Croatia reported that mine action legislation is being drafted to address clearance, victim assistance, and risk education with respect to explosive weapons including cluster munitions and that the legislation “states that each failure in treatment of cluster munitions is subject to misdemeanor sanction.”[1] Previously, in 2012, Croatia stated that a working group established to prepare implementation legislation for the convention, including penal sanctions, had produced a first draft of the proposed legislation.[2]

Croatia’s armed forces have included the convention’s obligations in an expanded curriculum on agreements and treaties that Croatia has joined.[3] The Office for Mine Action acts as a focal point for coordination and monitoring of mine action related activities in Croatia, including the operation of the Croatian Mine Action Center (CROMAC).[4]

Croatia submitted its initial Article 7 report for the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 10 April 2011 and provided annual updated reports in since, most recently on 30 May 2015.[5]

Croatia made many notable contributions throughout the Oslo Process that led to the creation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and, from its experience as an affected state, advocated for the strongest possible provisions on victim assistance.[6] Croatia enacted a moratorium on the use, production, and transfer of cluster munitions in 2007, prior to the conclusion of the process.[7]

Croatia engages proactively in the work of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Croatia has participated in every Meeting of States Parties of the convention, including the Fifth Meeting of States Parties in San Jose, Costa Rica in September 2014, where it made several statements, including on clearance, universalization, and stockpile destruction. Croatia has attended all of the convention’s intersessional meetings held in Geneva since 2011, including in June 2015.

The Regional Arms Control Verification and Implementation Assistance Centre (RACVIAC), at the Centre for Security Cooperation, held its seventh annual workshop on the implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions during a mine action symposium held in Biograd, Croatia from 27–30 April 2015, which was attended by seven governments from the region.[8]

In June 2015, Croatia described universalization of the convention as “crucial” because “every new state party takes us one step closer toward ridding the world of cluster munitions.”[9]

In June 2015, Croatia stated that it strongly condemns “any use of cluster munitions by anyone under any circumstance at any time.” It condemned the use of cluster munitions in Libya, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen.[10]

Croatia has condemned the use of cluster munitions in Syria on several occasions. Croatia has voted in favor of recent UNGA resolutions condemning the use of cluster munitions in Syria, including Resolution 69/189 on 18 December 2014, which expressed “outrage” at the continued use.[11]

Croatia is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is also party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).

Interpretive issues

Croatia has elaborated its views on several important issues relating to the interpretation and implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Croatia considers that transit of cluster munitions across, or foreign stockpiling of cluster munitions on, the national territory of State Parties is prohibited by the convention and also considers investment in the production of cluster munitions to be prohibited.[12] Croatia has stated, “As for the interoperability and use of cluster munitions by countries that are not signatories to the [convention], and are serving within joint military operations, Republic of Croatia will act in accordance with provisions stipulated in Article 21 of the Convention.”[13]

In 2012, Croatia stated that it agrees with the concerns raised by CMC that it is not clear how the convention’s phrase “minimum number of cluster munitions absolutely necessary” for the retention of cluster munitions will be interpreted and that it is “crucial that states comply fully with the detailed reporting requirement on cluster munitions retained for development and training.”[14]

Use, production, and transfer

Croatia has stated that it does not produce cluster munitions, never imported them, and that the armed forces of Croatia have not used them, including in missions under UN auspices.[15]

Croatia informed the Monitor that “no Yugoslav production facilities for cluster munitions or their components were formerly located in Croatia” but it has acknowledged that until 1999, a Croatian company named SUIS d.o.o. in Kumrovec produced a cluster munition called the M93 120mm mortar bomb.[16] Croatia has reported that the production facilities were officially decommissioned when bankruptcy proceedings for the company were completed in 2006.[17]

On 2–3 May 1995, forces of the self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina (Republika Srpska Krajina, RSK) under the leadership of Milan Martić attacked Zagreb with M87 Orkan cluster munition rockets, killing at least seven civilians and injuring more than 200.[18] Additionally, the Croatian government has claimed that Serb forces dropped BL755 cluster bombs in Sisak, Kutina, and along the Kupa River.[19]

Stockpiling

Croatia inherited a stockpile of cluster munitions during the breakup of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.[20] It has declared a stockpile of 7,235 cluster munitions and 178,318 submunitions, as shown in the following table.

Croatia’s cluster munition stockpile (as of 31 December 2014)[21]

Type of Cluster Munition

Quantity of munitions

Quantity of submunitions

M93 120mm mortar bomb, each containing 23 KB-2 submunitions

7,127

163,921

M87 262mm Orkan rocket, each containing 288 KB-1 submunitions

27

7,776

BL755 bomb, each containing 147 Mk1 submunitions

23

3,381

RBK-250 bomb, each containing 42 PTAB-2.5M

9

378

RBK-250-275 bomb, each containing 150 AO-1SCh submunitions

5

750

RBK-250 bomb, each containing 48 ZAB-2.5M

44

2,112

Total

7,235

178,318

 

Stockpile destruction

Under Article 3 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Croatia is required to destroy all its stockpiled cluster munitions as soon as possible, but not later than 1 August 2018.

In May 2015, Croatia reported that stockpile destruction was expected to begin in August 2015, after clearance of the former military ammunition depot at Pađene.[22] On 13 September 2011, a forest fire caused a large uncontrolled explosion at the depot, which destroyed a portion of Croatia’s stockpiled cluster munitions and resulted in explosive remnants. Croatia has stated that it has the necessary capabilities and facilities to destroy the stockpile ahead of the treaty-mandated deadline.[23] It has reported that it has a plan in place that includes standard operating procedures for the destruction process.[24] Croatia’s armed forces have been tasked with destroying the stockpile, but Croatia reported in September 2014 that it is considering cooperating with private industry on the destruction, given the delays experienced to date.[25]

Croatia has estimated approximately €200,000 will be needed to fulfill its stockpile destruction obligations under the convention.[26]

Cluster munitions destroyed by Croatia (as of 31 December 2014)[27]

Type of Cluster Munition

Quantity of munitions destroyed

Quantity of submunitions

destroyed

M93 120mm mortar bomb, each containing 23 KB-2 submunitions

2

46

M87 262mm Orkan rocket, each containing 288 KB-1 submunitions

1

287

BL755 bomb, each containing 147 Mk1 submunitions

69

10,025

RBK-250 bomb, each containing 42 PTAB-2.5M

78

3,239

RBK-250-275 bomb, each containing 150 AO-1SCh submunitions

1

3

RBK-250 bomb, each containing 48 ZAB-2.5M

8

384

Total

159

13,984

 

In 2011, the Ministry of Defence and NGO Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) carried out research on each type of cluster munition and their submunitions in the stockpile and also developed destruction procedures.[28] During this period, Croatia destroyed six cluster munitions and their submunitions.[29] The September 2011 explosion at the Pađane military storage site caused an explosion that destroyed at least 153 stockpiled cluster munitions and their submunitions.[30] There were no casualties at the time of the incident, but on 10 July 2013 an engineer from the Croatian armed forces was killed and two others injured when a MK-1 submunition exploded during clearance operations at the site.[31]

During 2012, Croatia’s stockpile of cluster munitions was consolidated at two locations closer to the destruction site at the Slunj military training ground: Golubić and Pleso.[32]

In 2014, Croatia reported that standard operating procedures for the disassembly and destruction of the stockpile have been developed and disposal trials conducted to identify viable destruction options for each munition type. The stockpile will be destroyed through a combination of disassembly, recycling, and open burning/detonation to minimize contamination and environmental impact by maximizing the re-use, recycling, and reprocessing of materials wherever possible.[33]

Retention

Croatia has not retained any live cluster munitions or submunitions for training and development purposes as permitted by Article 3 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

In 2011, Croatia reported its intent to retain 14 cluster munitions and 1,737 submunitions for training and educational purposes and for display at a military museum, but stated that the cluster munitions would be disassembled and the submunitions disarmed and made free from explosives.[34] In its Article 7 reports, Croatia listed 14 cluster munitions as retained for training, but states this is “not actual retention” because the munitions are inert.[35] Croatia has encouraged other States Parties to “consider this technique of retention,” by retaining inert and not live cluster munitions.[36]



[1] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form A, 5 May 2014; and statement of Croatia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 7 April 2014.

[2] The working group is comprised of officials from the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Interior, Croatian Mine Action Center (CROMAC), and the NGO MineAid. Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form A, 10 April 2012.

[3] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Reports, Form A, 5 May 2014, 2 May 2013, and 10 April 2012. Document provided to the Monitor in email from Hrvoje Debač, Directorate for Multilateral Affairs and Global Issues, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, 21 May 2012.

[4] The office also cooperates with relevant authorities on the implementation of international treaty obligations relating to conventional weapons, including landmines and cluster munitions. “Decree on the Office for Mine Action (“OG,” 21/12),” Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form A, 2 May 2013.

[5] The initial Article 7 report covers the period from 1 August 2010 to 1 January 2011, while each annual updated report covers the preceding calendar year.

[6] For details on Croatia’s cluster munition policy and practice up to early 2009, see Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 64–66.

[7] Statement of Croatia, Vienna Conference on Cluster Munitions, 5 December 2007. Notes by the CMC/Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).

[8] Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia, as well as Kosovo attended, in addition to participants from other parts of Europe and the world. See RACVIAC, “Mine Action Seminar Held in Biograd,” 5 May 2015.

[9] Statement of Croatia, Second Preparatory Meetings for the Convention on Cluster Munitions First Review Conference, Geneva, 24 June 2015. Notes by HRW.

[10] Statement of Croatia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings. Geneva, 23 June 2015. Notes by HRW.

[11]Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution A/RES/69/189, 18 December 2014. Croatia voted in favor of similar resolutions on 15 May and 18 December 2013.

[12] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Hrvoje Debač, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, 23 March 2011.

[13] Ibid., 29 March 2010.

[14] Statement of Croatia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, 18 April 2012.

[15] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Hrvoje Debač, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, 29 March 2010; and statement of Croatia, Lima Conference on Cluster Munitions, 23 May 2007. Notes by the CMC/WILPF.

[16] The last batch, series SUK-0298, was delivered to the Ministry of Defence in 1999. The company went bankrupt in 2006 and the owners established a new company Novi SUISd.o.o,that produces fire extinguishers. Response to Monitor questionnaire by Hrvoje Debač, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, 23 March 2011.

[17] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form E, 10 April 2012.

[18] Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, “Summary of Judgment for Milan Martić,” Press Release, The Hague, 12 June 2007. From 4 January 1991 to August 1995, Martić held various leadership positions in the unrecognized offices of the Serbian Autonomous District Krajina, and the RSK.

[19] Statement of Croatia, Fourth Session of the Group of Governmental Experts to Prepare the Review Conference of the States Parties to the CCW, Geneva, January 1995.

[20] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Hrvoje Debač, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, 23 March 2011.

[21] The May 2015 report lists 467 fewer submunitions than previously reported after a review of the stocks found that some cluster munitions contained fewer submunitions than originally estimated. The 467 submunitions that Croatia reports no longer stockpiling are: 156 KB-1 submunitions, 127 Mk1 submunitions, 37 PTAB-2.5M, and 147 AO-1SCh submunitions. Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 30 May 2015. The RBK-250 bombs containing ZAB series incendiary submunitions are not covered by the Convention on Cluster Munitions as they contain incendiary submunitions, not explosive submunitions.

[22] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 30 May 2015.

[23] Ibid., 5 May 2014.

[24] Statement of Croatia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 8 April 2014; and Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Reports, Form B, 5 May 2014, and 30 May 2015.

[25] Statement of Croatia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fifth Meeting of States Parties, San Jose, 3 September 2014.

[26] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 30 May 2015.

[27] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Forms B and C, 30 May 2015. Some totals will not correlate, as some submunitions were not contained in the cluster munition.

[28] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, Table 4, 2 May 2013.

[29] Two M93 120mm mortar bombs and one M87 262mm rocket on 4 July 2011, and one BL755 bomb, one RBK-250 PTAB-2.5M bomb, and one RBK-250-275 AO-1SChbomb. Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 10 April 2012.

[30] Sixty-eight BL755 bombs, 77 RBK-250 PTAB-2.5M bombs, and eight RBK-250 ZAB-2.5M bombs, as well as all their submunitions. Statement of Croatia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, 17 April 2013; and Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Reports, Form B, 2 May 2013, and 10 April 2012.

[31] Statement of Croatia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Third Meeting of States Parties, Lusaka, 11 September 2013; and Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form H, 5 May 2014.

[32] Statement of Croatia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, 17 April 2013; and Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 2 May 2013. In 2012 and 2013, Croatia reported that the Ministry of Defence “is contemplating the best destruction options for the reduction of the remaining stockpiles.” In May 2013, Croatia reported that it is considering undertaking the “industrial demilitarization” in cooperation with the company Spreewerk d.o.o., from Gospić. Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 2 May 2013; and document provided to the Monitor in email from Hrvoje Debač, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, 21 May 2012.

[33] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 5 May 2014.

[34] Ibid., 24 January 2011; and Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 10 April 2012.

[35] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form C, 5 May 2014.

[36] Statement of Croatia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, April 2012.