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.


Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 18 December 2019

Policy

The Republic of Kazakhstan has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty. It has expressed support for the treaty’s humanitarian objectives, but cited the need for antipersonnel mines to protect its border and the perceived need for alternatives as the reasons it has not yet joined.[1]

On 5 December 2018, Kazakhstan voted in favor of UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 73/61, calling for universalization and full implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty, as it has every year since 2007.[2]

Kazakhstan has not been a regular participant in landmine meetings in the past, attending as an observer the Mine Ban Treaty Second Review Conference in November–December 2009 and the Fourteenth Meeting of States Parties in 2014. It did not make any formal remarks at these meetings. It also attended the Dushanbe Workshop on Achieving a Mine-Free Central Asia in July 2009 and the Conference on Facilitating Central Asia Regional Cooperation in Mine Action in Dushanbe in November 2009.[3]

Kazakhstan joined the Convention on Conventional Weapons on 8 July 2009, but is not party to Amended Protocol II on landmines or Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War. Kazakhstan is also not party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Production, transfer, stockpiling, use

Kazakhstan has stated that it is not a producer of antipersonnel mines. It has had a moratorium of unlimited duration on the export and transit of landmines in place since 1997.[4]

The size of Kazakhstan’s antipersonnel mine stockpile is not known, but a 1998 media report estimated that the government had between 800,000 and one million antipersonnel mines.[5] Officials have said that many of the mines have expired, that some have been destroyed in recent years, and that a plan for further destruction is in place.[6]

Government officials have at times acknowledged the use of landmines in border areas and at other times denied the existence of minefields in Kazakhstan.[7]



[1] For examples, see, Landmine Monitor Report 2008, p. 870.

[2] “Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction,” UNGA Resolution 73/61, 5 December 2018.

[3] This was organized by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe office in Tajikistan and the International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance.

[4] See, Landmine Monitor Report 2007, p. 862, for details on statements regarding production and trade.

[5] Adil Urmanov, “Blind Weapon,” Delovaiya Nedeliya (Kazakh newspaper), 12 June 1998, p. 8.

[7] For past statements, see, Landmine Monitor Report 2007, p. 862; and Landmine Monitor Report 2005, p. 770.