Costa Rica

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 21 July 2016

Summary: State Party Costa Rica ratified the convention on 28 April 2011. It is considering enacting specific implementation legislation for the convention. Costa Rica hosted the Fifth Meeting of States Parties in San José in September 2014 and served as president of the convention until September 2015, when it was designated as the coordinator on transparency measures. Costa Rica has participated in all of the convention’s meetings and promotes universalization of the convention. It has repeatedly condemned new use of cluster munitions, including in Syria and Yemen. Costa Rica was a lead sponsor on a UN resolution on the convention in December 2015.

In its initial transparency report for the convention, provided in June 2014, Costa Rica confirmed it has never used, produced, transferred, or stockpiled cluster munitions and does not possess any for training and research.

Policy

The Republic of Costa Rica signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008, ratified on 28 April 2011, and the convention entered into force for the country on 1 October 2011.

Costa Rica has declared its ratification legislation under national implementation measures.[1] It does not appear to be preparing any additional legislative measures to enforce the convention’s provisions.[2]

Costa Rica submitted its initial Article 7 transparency report for the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 13 June 2014 and has provided annual updated reports, most recently on 16 June 2016.[3]

Costa Rica played an important role in the Oslo Process that produced the convention, including by holding a regional conference in San José in September 2007.[4]

Costa Rica hosted the convention’s Fifth Meeting of States Parties in San José on 2–5 September 2014. A total of 98 countries participated—60 States Parties, 16 signatories, and 22 non-signatory observers—in addition to representatives from UN agencies, the ICRC, and the CMC.[5] Costa Rica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Manuel González Sanz, was elected President of the meeting and represented by Costa Rica’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Christian Guillermet Fernández. During the meeting, Belize acceded to the convention, making Central America the first sub-region to have universalized the convention and become a zone free of cluster munitions, while approximately 40 countries condemned or expressed concern at new use of cluster munitions.

Costa Rica participated in and served as a vice-president of the convention’s First Review Conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia in September 2015. Costa Rica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs opened the meeting and formally handed over presidency of the Convention on Cluster Munitions to Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanović. In an address to the high-level segment of the meeting, González called on “those who continue to use these weapons” and “those who develop and produce or acquire them” to reviewed and update their security and military doctrines and accede to the convention without delay.[6]

At the First Review Conference, Costa Rica was designated as the convention’s coordinator on transparency measures.

Costa Rica has attended every annual Meeting of States Parties of the convention as well as intersessional meetings in Geneva in 2011–2015. It has hosted and also participated in regional workshops on cluster munitions, most recently in Santiago, Chile in December 2013.[7]

On 15 August 2015, Costa Rica and Croatia convened an informal consultation in New York to discuss a draft UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution on the convention that both countries led sponsorship of and voted for.[8] A total of 140 states including many non-signatories voted in favor of the non-binding resolution on 7 December 2015, which urges states outside the convention to “join as soon as possible.”

In a December 2015 statement marking the sixth anniversary of the signing of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Costa Rica’s foreign minister set the goal of reaching 100 States Parties in 2015. Costa Rica’s universalization efforts also paid dividends when Cuba acceded to the convention on 6 April 2016, becoming the 99h State Party. Palau became the 100th State Party after ratifying on 19 April 2016.

Costa Rica has consistently spoken out against any use of cluster munitions and condemned new use of the weapons. At the First Review Conference, Costa Rica’s foreign minister affirmed that any use of cluster munitions is “a flagrant violation of international law” and said “I take this podium to call on all actors who have been identified for the alleged use of cluster munitions to investigate the facts and their responsibilities. It is precisely the public reaction to the use of these inhumane weapons, which is the growing stigma attached to them and those who used.”[9] He described the “unacceptable” use of cluster munitions since the convention’s 1 August 2010 entry into force, listing the following countries where attacks occurred: Cambodia, Libya, Myanmar, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen.

As the convention’s president, Costa Rica issued a statement in October 2014 condemning new use of cluster munitions in Ukraine and convened a side event briefing on the topic with the CMC.[10] In May 2015, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica issued a statement condemning the use of cluster munitions in Yemen, citing evidence that the Saudi Arabia-led coalition has used the weapons in its operation.[11]

At the UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security in October 2015, Costa Rica condemned the use of cluster munitions in Syria, Yemen, Ukraine, and South Sudan, and urged all states to adhere to the convention.[12] It has voted in favor of UNGA resolutions condemning the use of cluster munitions in Syria, most recently in December 2015.[13]

Costa Rica has not elaborated its views on certain important issues relating to convention’s interpretation and implementation, such as the prohibition on transit, the prohibition on assistance during joint military operations with states not party that may use cluster munitions, the prohibition on foreign stockpiling of cluster munitions, and the prohibition on investment in production of cluster munitions.

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

Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling

In June 2014, Costa Rica reported that it “does not use, develop, produce, acquire, store, preserve or transfer cluster munitions and there is no information on the existence of such weapons in Costa Rican territory.”[14]

Costa Rica previously stated that it has never used, produced, transferred, or stockpiled cluster munitions.[15]

Costa Rica is not retaining any cluster munitions and submunitions for training and development purposes.



[1] Under national implementation measures in its Article 7 report, Costa Rica stated that the Law 8921 on Convention on Cluster Munitions, which entered into force on 16 December 2010, is “supreme law.” Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form A, 13 June 2014.

[2] Costa Rica’s Article 7 transparency report submitted in 2016 did not indicate that there were any new implementation measures. Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form A, 16 June 2016. Previously, a government official said in June 2014 that an interagency commission responsible for monitoring the implementation of Costa Rica’s international obligations on disarmament, peace, security, and terrorism matters was looking at whether specific legislative measures were necessary. Email from Marcela Zamora, Counsellor, Department for Disarmament, Peace, Security, and Terrorism, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 9 July 2014. Costa Rica has a national law in place to implement the Mine Ban Treaty. See ICBL, Landmine Monitor Report 2003: Toward a Mine-Free World (New York: Human Rights Watch, August 2003).

[3] The initial Article 7 report covers the period from 28 April 2011 to 10 June 2014, while the June 2015 report is for the period from 1 May 2014 to 30 April 2015, and the June 2016 report covers calendar year 2015.

[4] For details on Costa Rica’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. 62–63.

[5] See the official website for the Convention on Cluster Munitions Fifth Meeting of States Parties.

[6] Statement of Costa Rica, Convention on Cluster Munitions First Review Conference, Dubrovnik, 7 September 2015.

[7] Santiago Declaration and Elements of an Action Plan, Presentation by Christian Guillermet, Deputy Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the UN Office at Geneva, Santiago, 13 December 2013.

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

[9] Statement of Costa Rica, Convention on Cluster Munitions First Review Conference, Dubrovnik, 7 September 2015.

[10] Statement of Costa Rica, UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 22 October 2014. Costa Rica convened a side event briefing with the CMC on “ending the use of cluster munitions” at the UN in New York on 17 October 2014. Via Convention on Cluster Munitions website, “Costa Rica condena el uso de municiones en racimo en Ucrania” (“Costa Rica condemns the use of cluster munitions in Ukraine”), 23 October 2014.

[11] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica, “Costa Rica condena el uso de municiones en racimo en Yemen” (“Costa Rica condemns use of cluster munitions in Yemen”), 5 May 2015.

[12] Statement of Costa Rica, UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 27 October 2015.

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

[14] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form A, 13 June 2014. Translated from Spanish by the Monitor.

[15] Statement of Costa Rica, CCW Group of Governmental Experts on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 14 January 2008. Notes by Landmine Action.

Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 28 October 2011

The Republic of Costa Rica signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997 and ratified it on 17 March 1999, becoming a State Party on 1 September 1999. Costa Rica has never used, produced, exported, or imported antipersonnel mines, including for training purposes. Legislation to enforce the antipersonnel mine prohibition domestically was enacted on 17 April 2002. It has not submitted its fifth Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report, which was due on 30 April 2011.

Costa Rica did not attend any Mine Ban Treaty meetings in 2010 or the first half of 2011.

Costa Rica is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons and its Amended Protocol II on landmines and Protocol V on explosive remnants of war.

Costa Rica’s northern border with Nicaragua was contaminated by mines laid by parties to the 1980s conflict in Nicaragua. In a ceremony on 10 December 2002, Costa Rica announced the completion of clearance in all known mined areas, well ahead of its 1 September 2009 Article 5 clearance deadline.