Cluster Munition Ban Policy
Summary: Non-signatory Zimbabwe has shown interest in the convention, but has not taken any steps towards accession. It is the only country to vote with Russia against an annual United Nations (UN) resolution promoting the convention, most recently in December 2017. Zimbabwe has participated as an observer in several meetings of the convention, but not since 2015.
Zimbabwe produced, exported, and imported cluster munitions in the past and is believed to stockpile them, but it is not clear if it ever used cluster munitions.
The Republic of Zimbabwe has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
Zimbabwe has shown interest in the convention, but has taken no steps to accede besides stakeholder consultations.
Zimbabwe participated in two regional meetings held during the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitionsand expressed its support for a comprehensive ban without exceptions. It was absent from the Dublin negotiations in May 2008 and the Oslo signing conference in December 2008.
Zimbabwe participated in the convention’s annual Meetings of States Parties in 2010–2013 and intersessional meetings in Geneva in 2012–2015. It was invited to, but did not attend, the convention’s Seventh Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in September 2017. Zimbabwe has participated in regional workshops on the convention, most recently in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in August 2016.
In December 2017, Zimbabwe and Russia were the only countries to vote against UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 72/54, which calls on states outside the Convention on Cluster Munitions to join “as soon as possible.” Zimbabwe has not explained why it voted against this non-binding resolution or on previous UNGA resolutions promoting on the convention in 2016 and 2015.
Zimbabwe is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.
Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling
It is unclear if Zimbabwe has ever used cluster munitions.
Jane’s Information Group has reported that the Alpha bomblet developed for the South African CB-470 cluster bomb was produced in Rhodesia and that “Zimbabwe may have quantities of the Alpha bomblet.”
Zimbabwe is not known to have produced or exported cluster munitions since it gained independence in 1980, but it likely has a stockpile. In 2010, an official informed the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) that Zimbabwe still possessed cluster munitions that remained from the former Rhodesia’s arsenal.
Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paolo reported in 2012 on declassified Ministry of Defense documents showing that Brazil transferred 104 BLG-250K and four BLG-60K cluster bombs and various components for BLG-500K, BLG-250K, and BLG-60K cluster bombs to Zimbabwe between January 2001 and May 2002.
A copy of an official document obtained by Human Rights Watch in May 2018 indicates that Zimbabwe may have transferred Chilean-manufactured cluster munitions to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in or after July 2013. The DRC signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 18 March 2009, but has not ratified. As a signatory, the DRC has committed not to take any action that runs contrary to the object and purpose of the convention such as importing or otherwise receiving cluster munitions.
Zimbabwe also possesses RM-70 and BM-21 122mm surface-to-surface rocket systems, but it is not known if these include versions with submunition payloads.
 In May 2013, a government representative told a regional meeting that Zimbabwe is “seriously considering” accession to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, but acknowledged the process toward joining the convention has been slow. Statement of Zimbabwe, LoméRegional Seminar on the Universalization of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Lomé, Togo, 22 May 2013. The representative informed the CMC that consultations are continuing, but no decision has yet been made. CMC meeting with Mucheka Chameso, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Zimbabwe to the UN in Geneva, in Lomé, 22 May 2013. In May 2012, a government representative said Zimbabwe was conducting “consultations with relevant stakeholders on the country’s accession to the Convention on Cluster Munitions” that it hoped to soon conclude. Statement of Zimbabwe, Accra Regional Conference on the Universalization of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Accra, May 2012. In March 2010, Zimbabwe stated that “discussions are underway on the matter” of joining the convention. See, statement of Zimbabwe, Africa Regional Conference on the Universalization and Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Pretoria, 25 March 2010. Notes by Action on Armed Violence.
 For details on Zimbabwe’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. 262–263.
 “The Addis Ababa Commitment on Universalization and Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” Africa Regional Workshop on the Universalization of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, 5 August 2016.
 “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 72/54, 4 December 2017.
 “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 71/45, 5 December 2016; and “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 70/54, 7 December 2015.
 Zimbabwe has not made a statement regarding possible past use. One source has said Zimbabwean and/or Congolese aircraft dropped cluster bombs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1998. Tom Cooper and Pit Weinert, “Zaire/DR Congo since 1980,” Air Combat Information Group, 2 September 2003.
 Robert Hewson, ed., Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons, Issue 44 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2004), p. 440.
 CMC meeting with Mucheka Chameso, Permanent Mission of Zimbabwe to the UN in Geneva, Africa Regional Conference on the Universalization and Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, in Pretoria, 25–26 March 2010. Notes by the CMC.
 Rubens Valente, “Brasil vendeu bombas condenadas a ditador do Zimbábue,” Folha de São Paolo, 22 July 2012.
 A “packing list” dated 3 July 2013 and issued on the letterhead of Zimbabwe Defence Industries Ltd is addressed to the National Army of the DRC. The list of various weapons includes three crates or pallets of cluster bombs, one weighing 350kg and two weighing 150kg each. According to the document, a manual for CB-250K cluster bombs was also provided. It is unclear if complete cluster bombs were provided or components. Chile produced and transferred CB-250K cluster bombs prior signing the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions.
 International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance 2011 (London: Routledge, 2011), p. 449.