Cluster Munition Ban Policy
Summary: State Party Panama ratified the convention on 29 November 2010 and adopted national implementation legislation on 16 September 2010. Panama has participated in several meetings of the convention, most recently in 2016. It voted in favor of a UN resolution on the convention in December 2016. Panama has never used, produced, transferred, or stockpiled cluster munitions.
The Republic of Panama signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008, ratified on 29 November 2010, and the convention entered into force for the country on 1 May 2011.
Upon signing the convention, Panama stated that it already had a law in place prohibiting weapons such as cluster munitions. It has reported that Law 49 provides “legal and administrative measures” to “approve and implement” the Convention on Cluster Munitions at the national level. Panama also reports that a section of its Criminal Code on “crimes against collective security and crimes against humanity” provides for penal sanctions of 10–30 years imprisonment for crimes against international human rights and humanitarian law. Panama’s Permanent National Commission for the Application of International Humanitarian Law, formed in 1997, promotes the country’s observance of international humanitarian law.
After the UN Secretary General issued an executive order on 26 February 2016 urging the convention’s States Parties to submit their Article 7 transparency reports, Panama’s National Security Council submitted a letter and statement to the UN in May and April 2016, respectively. According to the statement, Panama is “deeply concerned by the dangers posed by large stockpiles of cluster munitions around the world” and believes “it is paramount to ensure their destruction, and to ensure the human rights and dignity of victims from the use of such munitions.”
Panama participated in the Oslo Process and advocated for the strongest possible convention text during the Dublin negotiations in May 2008.
Panama participated in regional and international meetings relating to the Convention on Cluster Munitions in 2009–2013 and more recently attended the Sixth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in September 2016.
Panama voted in favor of a UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution promoting implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in December 2016, which urges states outside the convention to “join as soon as possible.”
Panama has voted in favor of Human Rights Council resolutions condemning the use of cluster munitions in Syria, most recently in March 2017. It has also voted in favor of UNGA resolutions condemning the use of cluster munitions in Syria, most recently in December 2016.
Panama has yet to express its views on certain important issues relating to its interpretation and implementation of the convention, 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, the prohibition on investment in production of cluster munitions, and the need for retention of cluster munitions for training and development purposes.
Panama is party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is also party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.
Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling
Panama is not known to have ever used, produced, transferred, or stockpiled cluster munitions.
 Statement by Amb. Cecilio Simon, Representative of Panama to Norway and Sweden, Convention on Cluster Munitions Signing Conference, Oslo, 3 December 2008. Notes by Landmine Action. This could be a reference to the National Penal Code’s Article 237, which Panama has stated applies to antipersonnel mines. Article 237 provides for a prison sentence of two to six years for “anyone who attempts to commit a crime endangering collective security by manufacturing, supplying, acquiring, removing or possessing bombs and explosive materials, or materials intended for their preparation.” Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form A, 16 April 2002; and statement by Amb. Xiamara de Arrocha, Mine Ban Treaty Fifth Meeting of States Parties, Bangkok, 15–19 September 2003.
 Statement of Panama regarding the Convention on Cluster Munitions, 2016. Submitted in lieu of an Article 7 report.
 Communication of the Executive Office of the UN Secretary General, Reference No. ODA/ODDHR/CCM, 26 February 2016; and letter and statement of Panama regarding the Convention on Cluster Munitions, 2016.
 For details on Panama’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), p. 141.
 “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 71/45, 5 December 2016. Panama voted in favor of a similar UNGA resolution in 2015. See, “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 70/54, 7 December 2015.
 “The human rights situation in the Syrian Arab Republic,” Human Rights Council Resolution 34/26, 24 March 2017.
 “Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution 71/203, 19 December 2016. Panama voted in favor of a similar resolution on 23 December 2015, 18 December 2014, and 15 May and 18 December 2013.
Mine Ban Policy
The Republic of Panama signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 4 December 1997 and ratified it on 7 October 1998, becoming a State Party on 1 April 1999. Panama has never used, produced, exported, or imported antipersonnel mines, including for training purposes. Panama believes that existing legislation is sufficient to enforce the antipersonnel mine prohibition domestically. Panama submitted its third Article 7 report in 2009, but has not submitted subsequent annual reports.
Panama attended the Tenth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in November–December 2010 in Geneva, but did not attend the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in Geneva in June 2011.
Panama is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons and its Amended Protocol II on landmines and Protocol V on explosive remnants of war.
Panama has a problem with unexploded ordnance as a result of United States military exercises and weapons testing on military ranges in the Canal Zone during the three decades prior to 1999. Colombian rebels have also planted mines in Darien province, where two Panamanian border police were wounded in a mine blast in 2010. The number of devices found is unknown.
 Sean Mattson, “Colombian rebels planting landmines in Panama: government,” Reuters, 2 July 2010.
Casualties and Victim Assistance
All known casualties by end 2014
3 mine/explosive remnants of war (ERW) casualties (1 killed; 2 injured)
The last recorded casualties in the Republic of Panama were recorded in 2010 when two border policemen were injured on the Panama-Colombia border in an antipersonnel mine incident.
The only other casualty recorded in Panama since 1999 was in 2004, when a farmer was reportedly killed by unexploded ordnance on a former United States military range in Colón province.
 “Colombian rebels planting landmines in Panama: government,” Reuters (Panama City), 2 July 2010.
 ICBL, Landmine Monitor Report 2004: Towards a Mine-Free World (New York: Human Rights Watch, October 2004).