Summary: State Party Croatia was among the first 30 ratifications to trigger the convention’s entry into force on 1 August 2010. It has participated in every meeting of the convention and hosted the convention’s First Review Conference in Dubrovnik in 2015. Croatia voted in favor of a United Nations (UN) resolution promoting the convention in December 2017. It has firmly condemned the use of cluster munitions and elaborated its views on certain important issues relating to the convention’s interpretation and implementation.
Croatia completed the destruction of its stockpile of 7,235 cluster munitions and 178,318 submunitions at the end of July 2018.
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.
In 2015, Croatia enacted comprehensive mine action legislation that it says “states that each failure in treatment of cluster munitions is subject to misdemeanor sanction.” The law does not impose sanctions to prevent and suppress any activity prohibited under the convention on territory under its jurisdiction or control, however Croatia’s Penal Code does apply.
Croatia’s armed forces include the convention’s obligations in an expanded curriculum on agreements and treaties that Croatia has joined. 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).
Croatia provided its initial Article 7 report for the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 10 April 2011 and has submitted annual updated reports since then, most recently on 24 April 2018.
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. Croatia enacted a moratorium on the use, production, and transfer of cluster munitions in 2007, prior to the conclusion of the process.
Croatia has participated in every Meeting of States Parties of the convention and attended every intersessional meeting held in 2011–2015. It hosted the convention’s First Review Conference in Dubrovnik on 7–11 September 2015. Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanović served as president of the First Review Conference, which adopted an action plan and the “Dubrovnik Declaration” committing to “work towards a world free of the suffering, casualties and socio-economic impacts caused by cluster munitions.” Croatia has also hosted and participated in regional workshops on the convention.
Croatia voted in favor of a key UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution promoting implementation of the convention in December 2017. As the convention’s president, Croatia successfully co-sponsored and introduced the first UNGA resolution on the convention in 2015 and voted in favor of the second one in 2016.
Croatia has condemned the use of cluster munitions in Libya, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen. In 2017, Croatia repeated its call to all states to refrain from the use of cluster munitions, particularly in Syria.
Croatia voted in favor of recent UNGA resolutions expressing outrage at the use of cluster munitions in Syria, most recently in December 2017. It also voted in favor of Human Rights Council (HRC) resolutions condemning the use of cluster munitions in Syria, most recently in March 2018.
Croatia is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is also party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).
Croatia has elaborated its views on several important issues relating to the interpretation and implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It considers transit of cluster munitions across, or foreign stockpiling of cluster munitions on, the national territory of States Parties to be prohibited by the convention and also views investment in the production of cluster munitions as prohibited by the convention’s prohibition on assistance. 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.”
In 2012, Croatia stated that it agrees with concerns raised by the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) about how the convention’s phrase “minimum number of cluster munitions absolutely necessary” for the retention of cluster munitions would be interpreted and said it is “crucial that states comply fully with the detailed reporting requirement on cluster munitions retained for development and training.”
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.
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 projectile. Croatia has reported that the production facilities were officially decommissioned when bankruptcy proceedings for the company were completed in 2006.
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. Additionally, the Croatian government has claimed that Serb forces dropped BL755 cluster bombs in Sisak, Kutina, and along the Kupa river.
Following the breakup of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Croatia inherited a stockpile of 7,235 cluster munitions and 178,318 submunitions, as listed in the following table.
Croatia’s cluster munition stockpile (as of 1 August 2017)
Cluster munitions (submunitions)
M93 120mm mortar projectile, each containing 23 KB-2 submunitions
M87 262mm Orkan rocket, each containing 288 KB-1 submunitions
BL755 bomb, each containing 147 Mk1 submunitions
RBK-250 bomb, each containing 42 PTAB-2.5M submunitions
RBK-250-275 bomb, each containing 150 AO-1SCh submunitions
RBK-250 bomb, each containing 48 ZAB-2.5M submunitions
Under Article 3 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Croatia was required to destroy all its stockpiled cluster munitions as soon as possible, but not later than 1 August 2018.
In April 2018, Croatia reported that all active cluster munitions in the Croatian armed forces stockpile were decommissioned by a Chief of Defense order dated 25 October 2017 and would be destroyed during the first half of 2018. On 9 July 2018, a government official told the Monitor thatdestruction process had been delayed by “unfavorable weather conditions at the beginning of the 2018, which cannot be controlled by human action.” He however affirmed that the destruction process was taking place and “on its way to meet the set deadline.”
During 2017, Croatia destroyed 6,596 cluster munitions and separated the 154,118 submunitions they contained for subsequent destruction. It essentially destroyed their capacity to function by decommissioning or disassembling each individual cluster munition, which included destroying or recycling the bomb bodies, tail units, burster charges, and the mechanical-time fuze for the nose. The submunitions were destroyed by 31 July 2018.
Previously, Croatia destroyed 639 cluster munitions and 24,200 submunitions in 2015, but none in 2016.
Croatia’s stockpile destruction could not commence until it completed the clearance of a former military ammunition depot at Pađene, where a September 2011 explosion caused by a forest fire destroyed at least 153 stockpiled cluster munitions and resulted in other unexploded ordnance. Croatian armed forces destroyed the cluster munition stocks at the Eugen Kvaternik military training ground near the town of Slunj through a combination of disassembly, recycling, and open burning/detonation.
Croatia has reported its aim to minimize contamination and environmental impact by maximizing the re-use, recycling, and reprocessing of materials wherever possible. It has estimated the cost of destroying the stocks at approximately €200,000.
Croatia is not retaining any live cluster munitions or submunitions for training and development purposes as permitted by Article 3 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
Croatia has retained six inert cluster munitions and 813 inert submunitions for training, educational purposes, and for static displays at a military museum that have been disarmed and rendered free from explosives. It has encouraged other States Parties to follow its example by retaining inert rather than live cluster munitions.
 Email from Hrvoje Debač, Deputy Director, Croatia Office for Mine Action, 29 June 2016.
 Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Reports, Form A, 5 May 2014, 2 May 2013, and 10 April 2012; and document provided to the Monitor by email from Hrvoje Debač, Directorate for Multilateral Affairs and Global Issues, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, 21 May 2012.
 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.
 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.
 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.
 Statement of Croatia, Vienna Conference on Cluster Munitions, 5 December 2007. Notes by the CMC/Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).
 “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 70/54, 7 December 2015.
 Statement of Croatia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 23 June 2015. Notes by HRW.
 “Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution 72/191, 19 December 2017. Croatia voted in favor of similar resolutions in 2013–2016.
 “The human rights situation in the Syrian Arab Republic,” HRC Resolution 37/29, 19 March 2018.
 Response to Monitor questionnaire by Hrvoje Debač, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, 23 March 2011.
 Ibid., 29 March 2010.
 Statement of Croatia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 18 April 2012.
 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.
 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.
 Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form E, 10 April 2012.
 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.
 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.
 Response to Monitor questionnaire by Hrvoje Debač, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, 23 March 2011.
 Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 24 April 2018. Croatia did not complete the quantity of cluster munitions stockpiled column, and only reported on the submunition quantities, which remain unchanged from the previous year. Croatia also has stocks of 44 RBK-250 bombs and 2,112 ZAB-2.5M incendiary submunitions. These incendiary weapons are not covered by the Convention on Cluster Munitions as their submunitions contain flammable content that ignites as opposed to explosives that detonate. In 2018, Croatia reported that it included them in the report for “purpose of transparency.” The May 2015 report listed 467 fewer submunitions than previously reported after a review of the stocks found that some cluster munitions contained fewer submunitions than originally estimated. Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 30 May 2015.
 Email from Hrvoje Debač, Deputy Director, Croatia Office for Mine Action, 31 July 2018.
 Implementation Support Unit, “Croatia completes the destruction of its cluster munition stocks,” 31 July 2018.
 Croatia previously reported that it had “all capabilities and facilities to destroy remaining stockpiles” by the end of 2017. Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Reports, Form B, 24 April 2018, 19 May 2017, and 9 May 2016; Convention on Cluster Munitions 7 Meeting of States Parties Progress Report, Geneva, 10 July 2017.
 Email from Hrvoje Debač, Croatia Office for Mine Action, 9 July 2018.
 Croatia did not provide the number destroyed, but removed 6,596 cluster munitions from the report’s section listing cluster munitions that it still stockpiles. Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 24 April 2018.
 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. 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. Statement of Croatia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Third Meeting of States Parties, Lusaka, 11 September 2013; Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form H, 5 May 2014; and Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Reports, Form B, 19 May 2017, and 9 May 2016.
 Statement of Croatia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fifth Meeting of States Parties, San Jose, 3 September 2014; 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 Defense “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.
 Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 5 May 2014.
 Ibid., 9 May 2016, and 19 May 2017.
 Ibid., Form C,24 April 2018. Between 2011 and 2017, Croatia retained 14 inert cluster munitions and 1,737 inert submunitions.