Kazakhstan

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 05 September 2023

Summary: Non-signatory Kazakhstan has expressed support for the humanitarian objectives of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, but has not taken any steps to accede to it. Kazakhstan has participated in several meetings of the convention, most recently in May 2022. It voted in favor of a key United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution promoting the convention in December 2022.

Kazakhstan has stated that it has not produced cluster munitions. Kazakhstan is not known to have used or exported cluster munitions, but possesses a stockpile.

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 a position articulated in previous letters sent in 2010–2012. According to the 2013 letter, “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 also stated that “cluster munitions as weapons are not prohibited under international humanitarian law,” adding that 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 on Cluster Munitions, including the negotiations in Dublin in May 2008 as an observer.[3]

Kazakhstan has participated in several meetings of the convention, most recently attending the intersessional meetings held in Geneva in May 2022.[4]

In December 2022, Kazakhstan voted in favor of a key UNGA resolution that called on states outside the Convention on Cluster Munitions to “join as soon as possible.”[5] 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 (CCW).

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.”[6] Kazakhstan says that it “cannot be a source of proliferation of cluster munitions” because it has “an effective system of export control of arms.”

Stockpiling

Kazakhstan has acquired cluster munitions and it also inherited a stockpile after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, but has not made a public declaration regarding the types or quantities in its possession.

According to Jane’s Information Group, RBK-500 series cluster bombs are in service with Kazakhstan’s air force.[7] Kazakhstan also possesses Grad 122mm and Uragan 220mm surface-to-surface rockets, but it is not known if these include versions with submunition payloads.[8]

Kazakhstan received 50 Extra surface-to-surface missiles from Israel in 2008–2009 for its Lynx-type launchers.[9] According to the manufacturer’s product information sheet, the Extra missile can have either a unitary or submunition warhead.[10] The variant acquired by Kazakhstan is not known.



[1] Letter No. 10-2/1570 from A. Tanalinov, Head of 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 United Nations (UN), 17 April 2012; Letter No. 86 from Murat Nurtileuov, Minister-Counselor, Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan to the UN 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.

[2] Ibid.

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

[4] Kazakhstan also participated in the convention’s First Review Conference in 2015, its Sixth Meeting of States Parties in 2016, intersessional meetings in 2012–2013, and the Second Review Conference held in November 2020 and September 2021.

[5]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 77/79, 7 December 2022.

[6] 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 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.

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

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

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

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