Georgia

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 29 June 2016

Summary: Non-signatory Georgia last commented on the convention in 2010, when it stated that it could not consider accession until the security environment in the region improved. It abstained from the vote on the first UN resolution on the convention in December 2015. Georgia attended a meeting of the convention in 2012.

Georgia imported cluster munition rockets from Israel in 2007, which it used a year later during its conflict with Russia over South Ossetia. It also inherited stocks of cluster munitions from the Soviet Union and destroyed a stockpile of 844 RBK-series cluster bombs containing over 320,000 submunitions in 2013.Georgia is not known to have produced or exported cluster munitions.

Policy

Georgia has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Georgia has not elaborated its views on accession to the convention in more than six years.[1] In a letter received in April 2010, Georgia informed the Monitor of its support for “the spirit” of the convention, but stated “the bitter reality on the ground with reference to the security situation in the region” does not allow it to accede. The letter continued, “Unfortunately the situation has not changed much and has even worsened security-wise that does not leave us any option other than to stay reluctant to join the conventions until the credible changes occur in the security environment of the region.”[2]

On 7 December 2015, Georgia abstained from the vote on the first UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution on the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which urges states outside the convention to “join as soon as possible.”[3] However, it voted in support of the draft resolution during the first round of voting in UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security on 4 November 2015.[4] Georgia did not explain its decision to abstain on the final vote of the non-binding resolution, which 140 states voted for, including many non-signatories.

Georgia participated in some meetings of the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions.[5]

Georgia was invited to, but did not attend the convention’s First Review Conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia in September 2015. It has participated as an observer in one meeting of the convention: the Third Meeting of States Parties in Oslo, Norway in September 2012, but did not make any statements. Georgia also attended an international conference on cluster munitions in Santiago, Chile in June 2010.

Georgia has voted in favor of UNGA resolutions condemning the use of cluster munitions in Syria, most recently in December 2015.[6]

Georgia has not joined the Mine Ban Treaty. It is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.

Use, production, transfer

Georgia is not known to have produced or exported cluster munitions.

Georgia acquired Mk-4 160mm surface-to-surface rockets equipped with cluster munition payloads (each rocket contains 104 M85-type submunitions) from Israel in 2007.[7] Georgian forces used these weapons during the conflict with Russia in August 2008 over the break-away region of South Ossetia. Georgia’s Ministry of Defense said that it used 24 volleys with 13 Mk-4 rockets in each.[8]

On 31 August 2008, the Ministry of Defense acknowledged that the Georgian Armed Forces used cluster munitions against the Russian forces near the Roki tunnel.[9] Remnants of Georgian cluster munitions were also found by Human Rights Watch (HRW) in civilian areas in the north of Gori district, south of the South Ossetian administrative border.[10]

In January 2016, the International Criminal Court authorized an investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the 2008 war between Georgia and Russia.[11]

Stockpiling and destruction

Georgia inherited a stockpile of air-dropped cluster bombs from the Soviet Union.[12]

A total of 844 RBK-series cluster bombs and 320,375 explosive submunitions were destroyed in 2013 as part of a project to destroy obsolete weapons that began in July 2011 with the support of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the UNDP.[13] Bombs containing incendiary submunitions and cartridges containing antivehicle mines were also destroyed. The last RBK-series bombs were destroyed by open detonation at the Vaziani military firing range, 20 kilometers outside Tbilisi, on 12 July 2013.

Cluster munitions destroyed in Georgia[14]

Type

Quantity of munitions

Quantity of submunitions

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

179

26,850

RBK-250 PTAB-2.5M, each containing 30 submunitions

8

240

RBK-500 ShOAB-0.5, each containing 565 submunitions

469

264,985

RBK-500 AO-2.5RT, each containing 108 submunitions

99

10,692

RBK-500 PTAB-1, each containing 268 submunitions

61

16,348

RBK-500 PTAB-2.5, each containing 50 submunitions

21

1,050

RBK-500 PTAB-10.5A, each containing 30 submunitions

7

210

Total

844

320,375

 



[1] Georgia did not address cluster munitions in its general statement to the relevant UN General Assembly (UNGA) committee on disarmament in 2015. See: statement of Georgia, UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, 12 October 2015.

[2] Letter No. 8/37-02 from Amb. Giorgi Gorgiladze, Permanent Mission of Georgia to the UN in Geneva, 30 April 2010.

[3]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 70/54, 7 December 2015.

[4]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution AC.1/70/L.49/Rev.1, 11 November 2015.

[5] For details on Georgia’s policy and practice regarding cluster munitions through early 2009, see Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 205–207.

[6]Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution 70/234, 23 December 2015. Georgia voted in favor of similar resolutions on 15 May and 18 December 2013, and 18 December 2014.

[7] Submission of Georgia, UN Register of Conventional Arms, Report for Calendar Year 2007, 7 July 2008.

[8] “Some Facts,” attachment to email from David Nardaia, Director, Analytical Department, Ministry of Defense, 18 November 2008. The rockets would have carried 32,448 M85 submunitions.

[9] Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Response to Human Rights Watch inquiry about the use of M85 bomblets,” 2 September 2008.

[10] For more information see HRW and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), p. 206; and HRW, “A Dying Practice: Use of Cluster Munitions by Russia and Georgia in August 2008,” April 2009, p. 57. The Ministry of Defense of Georgia said in February 2009 that it was investigating the possibility of “failure of the weapons system.” During the conflict, Abkhazian and Russian forces moved into the upper Kodor Gorge and retook it from Georgian forces. Abkhazia has asserted that Georgia fired large numbers of cluster munitions with M095 submunitions from LAR-160 rockets in the Kodor Valley. Email from Maxim Gunjia, Deputy Foreign Minister of Abkhazia, 24 August 2009. The deputy foreign minister provided photographs of submunitions and containers. The M095 is described as an M85-type submunition. The Monitor has not been able to independently investigate and confirm this information.

[11] HRW, “Georgia/Russia: ICC Judges OK Investigation,” 27 January 2016.

[12] In 2004 and 2007, Jane’s Information Group reported that the Georgian Air Force had KMGU and RBK-500 cluster bombs, both of which can carry a variety of submunitions. The Ministry of Defense of Georgia told HRW in February 2009 that it still has RBK-500 cluster bombs and BKF blocks of submunitions that are delivered by KMGU dispensers, but that their shelf-lives have expired and they are slated for destruction. First Deputy Minister of Defense Batu Kutelia said its air force planes are not fitted for delivering these air-dropped weapons. See HRW and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), p. 207.

[13] While originally slated to destroy 1,085 bombs, a subsequent inventory of the stockpile resulted in the destruction of 1,288 bombs. Email from the Press Office of the OSCE Secretariat, 3 May 2014.

[14] “Time schedule for cluster bomb disposal: Attachment 1.4,” undated but provided by the Press Office of the OSCE Secretariat, 7 May 2014. Other weapons destroyed included 99 RBK-500 ZAB-2.5SM and 35 RBK-250 ZAB-2.5 incendiary bombs, as well as 310 BKF cartridges containing PTM-1G scatterable antivehicle landmines.