Five-Year Review: State Party Belgium was among the first 30 countries to ratify the convention that triggered its entry into force on 1 August 2010. Belgium was the first country to legislate a ban on cluster munitions, in 2006, and the first to prohibit investment in cluster munitions, in 2007. Belgium has attended all of the convention’s meetings and serves as the convention’s coordinator on transparency reporting, overseeing the development of a reporting guide. It promotes the convention’s universalization and has condemned the use of cluster munitions, including in Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen. Belgium has also elaborated its views on a number of important issues for the interpretation and implementation of the convention.
Belgium is not known to have ever used or exported cluster munitions. In its initial transparency report for the convention provided in 2011, Belgium confirmed it produced and imported cluster munitions in the past and in 2010 completed the destruction of a stockpile of 115,210 cluster munitions and 10.1 million submunitions. Belgium is retaining 226 cluster munitions and more than 19,800 submunitions for research and training purposes.
The Kingdom of Belgium signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008 and ratified on 22 December 2009. It was among the first 30 countries to ratify the convention and trigger entry into force on 1 August 2010.
Belgium was the first country to legislate a ban through its law prohibiting the production, stockpiling, and trade of cluster munitions, which took effect on 9 June 2006. Belgium’s armed forces have military officers in each unit that advise commanders on the application of the law of armed conflict, including the “obligations and restrictions” of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
Belgium submitted its initial Article 7 report for the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 27 January 2011 and has provided annual updated reports since, most recently on 30 April 2015.
Belgium participated actively throughout the Oslo Process that produced the Convention on Cluster Munitions, hosting a regional conference on cluster munitions in October 2007.
Belgium plays a leadership role in the work of the convention, particularly through its work as coordinator on transparency reporting. It has participated in every Meeting of States Parties of the convention, including the Fifth Meeting of States Parties in San José, Costa Rica in September 2014. Belgium has attended all of the convention’s intersessional meetings in Geneva, including in June 2015. Belgium attended a mine action symposium in Biograd, Croatia on 27–29 April 2015, which included a session on cluster munitions.
Belgium actively promotes the convention’s universalization. At the Fifth Meeting of States Parties, Belgium affirmed that cluster munitions will become increasingly marginalized as the norm established by the convention is recognized. In 2015, Belgium reported on its efforts to ensure that universalization of the convention is on the agenda of each session of the EU Council’s working group on disarmament (CODUN). It reported that it had undertaken “specific bilateral demarches, sometime in cooperation with other interested embassies” to promote the convention. Belgium has emphasized the importance of “genuine cooperation and substantial partnerships” between governments, international organizations, and civil society on universalization of the convention.
At the convention’s intersessional meetings in June 2015, Belgium strongly condemned “any use of cluster munitions, by anyone, under any circumstances” and stated it is “deeply concerned” by the “alleged use of cluster munitions in Syria, Ukraine, Yemen, and other places.” It called on all those involved to “stop the use of cluster munitions and take all necessary steps to prevent any future use.” Belgium expressed concern at the use of cluster munitions in three states, particularly Syria, where it noted that many States Parties to the convention, including Belgium, have condemned the use of cluster munitions.
Belgium first expressed concern at the use of cluster munitions in Syria in October 2012 with a statement by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and European Affairs, Didier Reynders. It has voted in favor of UN General Assembly (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.
Belgium has elaborated its views on a number of important issues relating to the interpretation and implementation of the convention.
Belgium has expressed its understanding that Article 21 of the convention, dealing with relations with states not party, prohibits States Parties from assisting others with use of cluster munitions during joint military operations. In a 2009 memorandum, Belgium stated, “In the case where a State Party engages in cooperation or military operations with States non-parties, a series of guaranties are provided: the cooperation or the military operation must be in conformity with international law; each State Party must notify non-states parties of its obligations under the Convention; it must promote the norms established by the Convention and discourage non-states parties from using cluster munitions. Similarly, paragraph 4 affirms the primacy of the fundamental obligations of the Convention, which cannot be derogated from, even in the framework of cooperative activities or military operations with States-non-party.”
Belgium has affirmed the importance of the positive obligations of Article 21 to promote the convention, noting “the emphasis is placed on the engagement of each State Party to encourage non-states parties to ratify, accede, approve or adhere to the Convention.”
In 2009 Belgium stated that, “States Parties, their military personnel or their residents can participate in military cooperation and operations with States not Parties, but they have by no means the permission to develop, produce, acquire, stockpile, transfer and use cluster munitions.” In 2009, the Minister of Foreign Affairs told the Belgian Senate that “military cooperation with third countries is possible, particularly international military operations, but the responsibilities are clearly delineated. In the case of Belgium and for other signatories, the rule is that we will not use cluster munitions and we will not assist States with a view to use them.”
In 2011, the Department of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation informed the Monitor that Belgian authorities would be prohibited from granting import, export, or transit licenses for arms that are prohibited under Belgium’s national legislation of 2006, which bans cluster munitions. In 2013, Belgium informed Handicap Iternational (HI) that Belgium’s regions have “an exclusive competence to grant export, import and transit licenses” but no license can be granted by these public authorities for weapons prohibited by national law or by a treaty that has entered into force in Belgium.
In 2011, Belgium’s Minister of Finance and Institutional Reforms stated that “the Belgian customs are not always aware of the exact content of the transport” in response to a parliamentary question about NATO transfers of military goods. In 2011, the minister stated that Belgium’s commitment to international agreements prohibiting certain weapons “cannot block compliance with our country’s obligations to NATO allies,” and said, “These laws apply only to the Belgian forces, not to armed forces of other NATO member countries, whose troops and military equipment move in accordance with NATO rules.”
Regarding foreign stockpiling of cluster munitions on the national territory of States Parties, Belgium informed HI in 2013 that “Following Article 1 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, State Parties undertake never under any circumstances to stockpile cluster munitions” and said that “according to Article 21 2.4b a State Party in its relations with a State not party is not allowed to itself stockpile cluster munitions.”
The United States (US), Belgium’s NATO ally, has discussed its interoperability concerns with respect to the Convention on Cluster Munitions with Belgium.
Belgium became the first country to ban investment in cluster munition producers when they passed the Belgian Act Prohibiting the Finance of the Production, Use or Possession of Antipersonnel Mines and Submunitions in March 2007. The law prohibits direct and indirect financing. As of July 2015, the Belgian government had yet to publish a list of companies producing prohibited weapons, as required by the law, originally by a deadline of May 2008. Civil society and members of parliament continue to press the government to publish the list as well as fully implement the law.
Use, production, and transfer
Belgium is not known to have ever used or exported cluster munitions, but it produced, imported, and stockpiled them.
Belgium reported in 2011 that it “has no production facilities.” The now defunct company Poudreries Réunies de Belgique (PRB) manufactured the NR 269 155mm artillery projectile with dual-purpose improved conventional munition (DPICM) submunitions prior to 1990. This production was reportedly assumed by Giat Industries in France. Mecar SA and Forges de Zeebrugge (FZ) also had cluster munitions under development.
On 6 August 2010, Belgium completed the destruction of its stockpile of 115,210 155mm M483A1 artillery projectile cluster munitions containing 10,138,480 M42/M46 DPICM submunitions. The stockpile was destroyed in Italy by Esplodenti Sabino under a NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency (NAMSA) contract.
In 2005, prior to adopting its ban law and the creation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Belgium destroyed a stockpile of 765 BL755 cluster bombs, each containing 147 submunitions, which it had imported from the United Kingdom.
In its April 2015 Article 7 report, Belgium declared that it is retaining a total of 226 155mm M483A1 artillery projectile cluster munitions and 19,888 M42 (64 EA)/M46 (24 EA) submunitions as of 31 December 2014. It reported that no submunitions were consumed in 2014 as there was no explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) training carried out due to other operational priorities.
Belgian has consumed 74 cluster munitions and 6,512 submunitions in EOD training and research from the original total of 300 artillery projectiles and 26,400 submunitions that it reported in 2011 had been retained for research and training purposes. It has estimated that it will consume 20–40 cluster munitions each year in the training of EOD personnel.
 “Loi réglant des activités économiques et individuelles avec des armes” (“Law regulating economic activities and individuals with weapons”), Belgisch Staatsblad/Moniteur Belge, 9 June 2006. The law, which bans the production, stockpiling, and trade of cluster munitions, took effect on 9 June 2006 with an additional amendment requiring that “within three years after the publication of the law, the State and public administrations destroy the existing stock of submunitions or devices of similar nature.” For more information, see Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), p. 39; and Handicap International Belgium (HI-B), “The Belgian Campaign to Ban Cluster Munitions, A Brief History,” version 28, June 2006.
 The initial report is for the period 2009/2010, while each subsequent report covers the previous calendar year.
 For more details on Belgium’s cluster munition policy and practice through early 2009, see Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 39–42.
 Serbia was the only non-signatory to the Convention on Cluster Munitions to participate in a similar Regional Arms Control Verification and Implementation Assistance Centre (RACVIAC) Centre for Security Cooperation workshop on the Convention on Cluster Munitions held during a mine action symposium in Zadar, Croatia on 22–26 April 2014. Serbia also participated in a similar RACVIAC workshop held in Skopje, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in May 2013. See, RACVIAC, “Symposium on Mine Action,” 22–26 April 2014; and RACVIAC, “Workshop on the Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, 13–16 May 2013, Skopje, MK,” undated.
 Statement of Belgium, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fifth Meeting of States Parties, San José, 2 September 2014.
 Ibid., 1 April 2015; 30 April 2014; and 30 April 2013.
 Statement of Belgium, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fourth Meeting of States Parties, Lusaka, 10 September 2013.
 Statement of Belgium, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 23 June 2015. Notes by Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA).
 Statement of Belgium, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fifth Meeting of States Parties, San José, 2 September 2014. In 2013, it joined other states in publicly condemning the use of cluster munitions in Syria. Statement of Belgium, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 17 April 2013. Notes by the CMC.
 Department of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, “Minister Reynders on the use of cluster munitions in Syria,” 17 October 2012. The Minister stated that he was “especially disturbed by reports over the use of cluster munitions during air raids by the Syrian authorities.” He noted Belgium’s active support of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and called on the Syrian authorities “to not add to the already very deplorable conditions for the civilian population by using weapons that are contrary to a widely supported humanitarian standard.”
 “Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution A/RES/69/189, 18 December 2014. Belgium voted in favor of similar resolutions on 15 May and 18 December2013.
 This is contained in an explanatory memorandum to the decree approving the convention adopted by the Parliament of Brussels and to the draft law in the Senate. Parliament of Brussels, “Ontwerp van ordonnantie houd endeinstemming met het Verdrag inzake clustermunitie, gedaante Dublin op 30 mei 2008 en ondertekendte Oslo op 3 december 2008” (“Draft ordinance approving the Convention on Cluster Munitions, adopted in Dublin on 30 May 2008 and signed in Oslo on 3 December 2008”), 13 October 2009, Legislative document A-14/1-G.Z. 2009; and Belgian Senate, “Wetsontwerp houd endeinstemming met het Verdrag inzake clustermunitie, gedaante Dublin op 30 mei 2008 en ondertekendte Oslo op 3 december 2008” (“Bill approving the Convention on Cluster Munitions, adopted in Dublin on 30 May 2008 and signed in Oslo on 3 December 2008”), Legislative documents 4-1419/1-3, Session of 2008–2009, 15 September 2009.
 This is contained in an explanatory memorandum to the decree approving the convention adopted by the Parliament of Flanders. Parliament of Flanders, “Ontwerp van decreet houd endeinstemming met het Verdrag inzake clustermunitie, opgemaakt Dublin op 30 mei 2008 en ondertekendte Oslo op 3 december 2008” (“Draft decree approving the Convention on Cluster Munitions, adopted in Dublin on 30 May 2008 and signed in Oslo on 3 December 2008”), Legislative document Stuk 2250 (2008–2009)-Nr. 1, Session of 2008–2009, 30 April 2009.
 Belgian Senate, “Inleidendeuiteenzetting door de heer Yves Leterme, Minister van Buitenlandse Zaken, Wetsontwerp houd endeinstemming met het Verdraginzakeclustermunitie, gedaante Dublin op 30 mei 2008, Verslagnamens de commissie voor de buitenlands ebetrekkeningen en voor de landsverdediging uitgebracht door mevrouw de Bethune en de heer Mahoux” (“Opening address by Yves Leterme, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bill approving the Convention on Cluster Munitions, adopted in Dublin on May 30, 2008, Report on behalf of the Committee for Foreign Relations and Defense, presented by Mrs. de Bethune and Mr. Mahoux”), Legislative document 4-1419/2, Session of 2009–2010, 28 October 2009.
 According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Convention on Cluster Munitions definition “covers the notion of transfer as involving, in addition to the physical movement of cluster munitions into or from a national, the transfer of title to and control over cluster munitions,” and added, “In accordance to this definition, there has been no transfer registered [in] 2010.” Document provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, in email from Henri Vantiegham, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation to HI-B, 13 April 2011.
 Information provided by Marie-France André, Deputy Director, Department of Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, Department of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, in email to HI, 26 April 2013.
 Belgian Senate, Written question Nr. 5-3000 by Bert Anciaux, 24 August 2011, to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Institutional Reforms on “the transport of military goods by NATO,” answered on 21 September 2011.
 Information provided by Marie-France André, Department of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, in email to HI, 26 April 2013.
 According to a US diplomatic cable made public by Wikileaks, on 2 December 2008 US officials discussed the Convention on Cluster Munitions with Werner Bauwens, Director of the Office of Non-Proliferation and Export Controls of the Department of Foreign Affairs. The cable states that “Bauwens insisted that the negotiation and signature of the CCM [Convention on Cluster Munitions] has had no actual negative effects on NATO...Interoperability will be no more affected, he said, than it was when the convention prohibiting anti-personnel mines was signed by a number of countries, including Belgium. He promised that if ever any issue of interoperability with NATO arises, the GOB [Government of Belgium] and NATO will find a way to deal with it. He said that use of cluster munitions by non-signatories is not a ‘Belgian matter,’ and Belgium could accept their use during a joint mission.” See “Belgium signs Convention on Cluster Munitions,” US Department of State cable 08BRUSSELS1828 dated 4 December 2008, released by Wikileaks on 1 September 2011.
 See House of Representatives, “Projet de loi: interdisant le financement de la fabrication, de l’utilisation ou de la détention de mines antipersonnel et de sous-munitions” (“Bill: Prohibiting the Finance of the Production, Use or Possession of Antipersonnel Mines and Submunitions”), Legislative document DOC 51 2833/002, Session of 2006–2007, 1 March 2007. For commentary on the Bill, see IKV Pax Christi and Netwerk Vlaanderen, Worldwide investments in Cluster Munitions; a shared responsibility (Utrecht, April 2010), pp. 107–108.
 In 2011, the Minister of Finance stated that the Minister of Justice is responsible for publication of the list, but said both the Department of Finance and the Department of Justice lacked the necessary information. Belgian Chamber of Representatives, Question of explanation by Mrs. Meyrem Almaci to the Vice-Premier and Minister of Finance and Institutional Reform on “financing the production of cluster munitions,” Afternoon Session, 7 July 2011. In 2012, the Department of Foreign Affairs said that the Minister of Justice, Annemie Turtelboom, was responsible for publication of the list. Email from Frank Meeussen, Non-Proliferation, Arms Control and Disarmament, Department of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation to HI, 2 May 2012.
 For detailed information on Belgian financial institutions and their policies on investment in companies which produce cluster munitions, see: PAX, Worldwide investment in Cluster Munitions: a shared responsibility, November 2014 update (Utrecht, November 2014).
 The initial Article 7 report states “N/A” (for “not applicable”) under the section on status and progress of programs for conversion or decommissioning of production facilities, but the subsequent reports provide the declaration of “no production facilities.” Convention on Cluster Munition Article 7 Reports, Form E, 27 January 2011, and 30 April 2012.
 Terry J. Gander and Charles Q. Cutshaw, eds., Jane’s Ammunition Handbook 2001–2002 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2001), p. 353.
 See Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), p. 41.
 The stockpile was destroyed by the German company Buck through NAMSA. Presentation by Lt.-Col Eric Carette, Department of Defense, “Training with submunitions…Belgian approach,” Berlin Conference on the Destruction of Cluster Munitions, 26 June 2009. See also House of Representatives, “Compte rendu intégral avec compte rendu analytique traduit des interventions, Commission de la défense nationale” (“Full Report with Summary Record of Translated Interventions, Committee of National Defense”), Legislative document CRIV 51 COM 616, Session of 2004–2005, 25 May 2005; and House of Representatives, “Schriftelijke vragen en antwoorden: Vraag nr. 7 van de heer Dirk Van der Maelen van 15 januari 2008 (N.) aan de minister van Landsverdediging: Vernietiging van stocks van clustermunitie; Antwoord van de minister van Landsverdediging van 15 februari 2008” (“Written questions and responses: Question No. 7 by Mr. Dirk Van der Maelen of 15 January 2008 to the Minister of Defense: Destruction of stocks of cluster munitions; and response of the Minister of Defense of 15 February 2008”), Legislative document QRVA 52 009 18-2-2008, Session of 2007–2008, 18 February 2008.
 Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form C, 30 April 2015.
 Belgium consumed seven cluster munitions and 616 submunitions in 2013, 38 cluster munitions and 3,344 submunitions in 2012, five cluster munitions and 440 submunitions in 2011, and 24 cluster munitions and 2,112 submunitions in 2009–2010. See, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form C, 30 April 2015; Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form C, 30 April 2014; Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form C, 30 April 2013; Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form C, 30 April 2012; and Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form C, 27 January 2011.