Cluster Munition Ban Policy
State Party Colombia ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 10 September 2015. It has participated in every meeting of the convention. Colombia has voted in favor of the key annual United Nations (UN) resolution promoting the convention every year since it was first introduced in 2015.
Colombia has never produced cluster munitions, though it imported them in the past and destroyed a stockpile of 72 cluster munitions and 10,832 submunitions in November 2009. Colombia is not retaining any cluster munitions for training or research purposes.
The Republic of Colombia signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008 and ratified it on 10 September 2015. The convention entered into force for the country on 1 March 2016.
Law 1604, adopted in December 2012, approved Colombia’s ratification of the convention and incorporated its provisions into domestic law. Colombia has reported this law and other legislation and decrees under its national implementation measures for the convention.
Colombia provided its initial Article 7 transparency report on 28 August 2016, and has submitted annual updated reports since then, most recently in May 2021.
Colombia participated in several meetings of the Oslo Process that produced the convention and said that its decision to join stemmed from its concern about the “humanitarian impact” of cluster munitions.
Colombia actively engages in the work of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It has participated in every Meeting of States Parties of the convention, as well as the Second Review Conference held in November 2020 and September 2021, and the First Review Conference in 2015. Colombia also attended intersessional meetings in 2011–2015 and in May 2022. It has participated in regional workshops on the convention.
Colombia voted in favor of the key annual United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution promoting the implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in December 2021. It has voted in favor of the annual UNGA resolution on the convention since it was first introduced in 2015.
Colombia has “deplored” the use of cluster munitions in countries such as Syria. It has voted in favor of UNGA resolutions expressing outrage at the use of cluster munitions in Syria.
Colombia is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is also party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).
Colombia has provided its views on certain important issues related to the interpretation and implementation of the convention. In 2011 and 2010 responses to Monitor questionnaires, Colombia said it “absolutely rejects and prohibits any manner of transfer or storage of foreign cluster bombs in Colombian territory,” as well as “military operations with states not party to the convention in which they carry out exercises or actions prohibited by the Convention.” Colombia interprets the convention as prohibiting investment in the production of cluster munitions.
Production and transfer
In a May 2011 letter to the Monitor, Colombia stated that it has never produced cluster munitions. In the past, Colombia imported cluster munitions from Chile, Israel, and the United States (US). In 2010, Colombia stated that it has never transferred cluster munitions “to a third state.”
In 2012, Chile’s Ministry of National Defense shared a document with the Monitor detailing two transfers—totaling 191 cluster munitions—to Colombia in the 1990s: 132 250kg cluster bombs in 1997, and 55 250kg cluster bombs, four air-dropped 250kg cluster bombs, and one fin stabilizer for a CB-250kg cluster bomb in 1994.
In April 2012, an official from the Colombian Ministry of External Relations told the Monitor that the Colombian Air Force decided to stop using cluster munitions after an evaluation found that they did not meet the operational requirements or needs of Colombia.
In May 2009, Colombia’s then-Minister of Defense, Juan Manuel Santos, acknowledged that the Colombian armed forces had used cluster munitions in the past “to destroy clandestine airstrips and camps held by illegal armed groups” and said the submunitions sometimes did not explode and “became a danger to the civilian population.”
The Monitor has reported on the case of apparent cluster munition use by the Colombian Air Force at Santo Domingo in the municipality of Tame, Arauca department, on 13 December 1998, which killed 17 and injured 27 others. An investigation showed that a World War II-era “cluster adapter” of US origin was used to disperse several 9kg fragmentation bombs during the attack. In December 2012, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) published its verdict on the case, finding that the Colombian Air Force used an AN-M1A2 bomb, which it said met the definition of a cluster munition. The court found that Colombia should treat victims of the attack in accordance with its victim assistance obligations under the Convention on Cluster Munitions. In November 2017, the Supreme Court of Colombia upheld the decision.
Stockpiling and destruction
Colombia announced that it had completed the destruction of its cluster munition stockpile on 24 November 2009. It destroyed 72 cluster munitions (31 ARC-32 and 41 CB-250K cluster bombs) containing a total of 10,832 submunitions.
Colombia has not retained any cluster munitions or submunitions for research or training.
 The House of Representatives approved the draft ratification legislation, Bill 244, on 15 November 2012, after it received Senate approval as Bill 174 on 30 August 2012.
 Colombia Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form A, 19 May 2017. See, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Database.
 Colombia Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, 3 May 2021.
 For details on Colombia’s policy and practice regarding cluster munitions through early 2009, see Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 58–59.
 “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 76/47, 6 December 2021.
 Statement of Colombia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fifth Meeting of States Parties, San Jose, 2 September 2014. Notes by the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC).
 “Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution 75/193, 16 December 2020. Colombia voted in favor of similar UNGA resolutions in 2014–2019.
 Responses to Monitor questionnaire by the Ministry of External Relations, 26 March 2010; and by Nohra M. Quintero C., Coordinator, Internal Working Group on Disarmament and International Security, 13 May 2011; and email from Camilo Serna Villegas, Operations Coordinator, Colombian Campaign to Ban Landmines (CCBL), 11 August 2010.
 Response to Monitor questionnaire by Nohra M. Quintero C., Coordinator, Internal Working Group on Disarmament and International Security, 13 May 2011.
 Response to Monitor questionnaire by the Ministry of External Relations, 26 March 2010.
 “Exports of Cluster Bombs Authorized in the Years 1991–2001,” official document from the General Directorate of National Mobilization and Ministry of National Defense, provided together with a letter from Brig. Gen. Roberto Ziegele Kerber, Director-General of National Mobilization and the Ministry of National Defense, 18 May 2012.
 Letter from Sonia Matilde Eljach Polo, Ministry of External Relations, 19 April 2012.
 Carlos Osorio, “Colombia destruye sus últimas bombas de tipo racimo” (“Colombia destroys its last cluster bombs”), Agence France-Presse (AFP), 7 May 2009. In 2010, the Ministry of National Defense said that the Colombian Air Force last used cluster munitions on 10 October 2006 “to destroy clandestine airstrips belonging to organizations dedicated to drug trafficking in remote areas of the country where the risk to civilians was minimal.” Ministry of National Defense presentation on cluster munitions, slide 11, Bogotá, December 2010.
 The case was described in the draft ratification bill contained in the letter from Representative Iván Cepeda Castro, to Albeiro Vanegas Osorio, Chairperson, Second Committee of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade, Defense and National Security, House of Representatives, April 2011. See also, T. Christian Miller, “A Colombian Town Caught in a Cross-Fire,” Los Angeles Times, 17 March 2002.
 Organization of American States Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, “Masacre de Santo Domingo, Colombia, Caso 12.416,” 22 April 2011.
 IACHR, “Caso Masacre de Santo Domingo vs. Colombia,” 30 November 2012. See, Sentence C-259 of 2012, Section B2, “The launch of a ANM1A2 device on Santo Domingo.” The Colombian government reportedly paid a total of 5,700 million pesos to victims of the attack. See, “Condenan a 30 años a dos oficiales por bombardeo a Santo Domingo” (“Two officers sentenced to 30 years for bombing Santo Domingo”), El Tiempo, 23 November 2017.
 César Romero Pradilla vs. Johan Jiménez Valencia, Supreme Court of the Republic of Colombia, Radicación No. 37638, Aprobado Acta No. 396, 23 November 2017.
 For details on Colombia’s stockpile destruction see ICBL, Cluster Munition Monitor 2010 (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, October 2010), pp. 135–136.
 Letter from Sonia Matilde Eljach Polo, Ministry of External Relations, 19 April 2012; and response to Monitor questionnaire by the Ministry of External Relations, 26 March 2010. The CB-250K bombs were produced by Chile and each contain 240 submunitions. The ARC-32 bomb is apparently a 350kg weapon produced by Israel that contains 32 anti-runway submunitions.
 Statement of Colombia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fourth Meeting of States Parties, San Jose, 2 September 2014.