Kazakhstan

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 19 June 2019

Summary: Non-signatory Kazakhstan supports the convention’s humanitarian rationale but has not taken any steps towards accession. It has participated in several meetings of the convention, most recently in 2016. Kazakhstan voted in favor of a key United Nations (UN) resolution on the convention in December 2018.

Kazakhstan has stated that it has not produced cluster munitions. It is not known to have used or exported cluster munitions but inherited a stockpile from the Soviet Union.

Policy

The Republic of Kazakhstan has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Kazakhstan last commented on its position on the convention in an April 2013 letter to the Monitor that repeated its statement articulated in previous letters sent in 2010–2012: “Kazakhstan highly values the humanitarian focus of the CCM [Convention on Cluster Munitions], but at this stage, does not consider its possible accession.” [1] The letter affirmed that “cluster munitions as weapons are not prohibited under international humanitarian law,” and said each country should “determine on the feasibility and timing of accession according to the interests of national security and their own economic potential.” [2]

Kazakhstan participated in meetings of the Oslo Process that created the convention, including the negotiations in Dublin in May 2008 as an observer. [3]

Kazakhstan has participated as an observer in several of the convention’s Meetings of States Parties, most recently the Sixth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in September 2016. It was invited to, but did not attend, the Eighth Meeting of States Parties in September 2018. Kazakhstan also participated in the convention’s First Review Conference in 2015 and its intersessional meetings in 2012–2013.

In December 2018, Kazakhstan voted in favor of a UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution that calls on states outside the Convention on Cluster Munitions to “join as soon as possible.” [4] It has voted in favor of the annual UNGA resolution promoting the convention since it was first introduced in 2015.

Kazakhstan is not party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.

Use, production, and transfer

Kazakhstan is not known to have used or exported cluster munitions. Kazakhstan has repeatedly stated that it does not “produce and does not intend to produce and acquire cluster munitions in the medium term.” [5] Kazakhstan says it “cannot be a source of proliferation of cluster munitions” because it has “an effective system of export control of arms.”

Stockpiling

Kazakhstan inherited a stockpile of cluster munitions from the Soviet Union but has not made a public declaration regarding the types and quantities of the cluster munitions. According to Jane’s Information Group, RBK-500 series cluster bombs are in service with the country’s air force. [6] Kazakhstan also possesses Grad 122mm and Uragan 220mm surface-to-surface rockets, but it is not known if these include versions with submunition payloads. [7]

Kazakhstan received 50 Extra surface-to-surface missiles for its Lynx-type launchers from Israel in 2008–2009. [8] According to the manufacturer’s product information sheet, the Extra missile can have either a unitary or submunition warhead. [9] The variant acquired by Kazakhstan is not known.



 [1] Letter No. 10-2/1570 from A. Tanalinov, Head, Division of International Security, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 15 April 2013; Letter No. 457 from Akan Rakhmetullin, Deputy Permanent Representative, Mission of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the UN, 17 April 2012; Letter No. 86 from Murat Nurtileuov, Minister-Counselor, Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan to the UN Office in Geneva, 12 April 2012; Letter No. 10-2/1744 from A. Tanalinov, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 23 April 2011; and Letter No. 10-2/2176 from A. Tanalinov, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1 August 2010. Given the lack of change in the government’s position towards the convention, Cluster Munition Monitor did not send a research letter of inquiry to Kazakhstan in 2014.

 [2] Letter No. 10-2/1570 from A. Tanalinov, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 15 April 2013; Letter No. 457 from Akan Rakhmetullin, Mission of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the UN, 17 April 2012; Letter No. 86 from Murat Nurtileuov, Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan to the UN Office in Geneva, 12 April 2012; Letter No. 10-2/1744 from A. Tanalinov, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 23 April 2011; and Letter No. 10-2/2176 from A. Tanalinov, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1 August 2010.

 [3] See, Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), p. 216.

 [4]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 73/54, 5 December 2018.

 [5] Letter No. 10-2/1570 from A. Tanalinov, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 15 April 2013; Letter No. 457 from Akan Rakhmetullin, Mission of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the UN, 17 April 2012; Letter No. 86 from Murat Nurtileuov, Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan to the UN Office in Geneva, 12 April 2012; Letter No. 10-2/1744 from A. Tanalinov, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 23 April 2011; and Letter No. 10-2/2176 from A. Tanalinov, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1 August 2010.

 [6] Robert Hewson, ed., Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons, Issue 44 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2004), p. 841.

 [7] International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance 2011 (London: Routledge, 2011), p. 249.

 [8] Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, “Arms Transfers Database.” Recipient report for Kazakhstan for the period 1950–2011, generated on 4 May 2012.

 [9] Israel Military Industries, “Product Information Sheet: Extra Extended Range Artillery,” undated, p. 2.