Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 05 July 2016

Summary: Kosovo cannot accede to, or attend meetings of, the Convention on Cluster Munitions due to its political status. Its officials have expressed support for the convention’s objectives.


Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in February 2008, but its international status is disputed.[1] Kosovo is not able to become a UN member state and thus is not eligible to adhere formally to international instruments such as the Convention on Cluster Munitions.


Kosovo last made a statement regarding the ban on cluster munitions in March 2010 when a spokesperson for the self-declared Republic of Kosovo told the Monitor, “In principle, as a country that has been through war, Kosovo supports the initiatives to reduce and ban arms, including the policy to ban cluster ammunition.” He stated that Kosovo does not possess any cluster munitions.[2]

Forces of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia used cluster munitions during the 1998–1999 conflict in Kosovo.[3] Additionally, aircraft from the Netherlands, United Kingdom, and the United States dropped cluster bombs in Kosovo during the 1999 NATO air campaign.[4]

[1] As of June 2014, the declaration of independence was recognized by 110 states and Taiwan. Serbia considers the declaration illegal and still views Kosovo as its southern territory.

[2] Email from Memli Krasniqi, Spokesperson, Republic of Kosovo, 30 March 2010. He wrote, “KFOR [Kosovo Protection Force] is the mission responsible for issues related to defense, while Kosovo institutions have certain limitations in this field. Consequently, Kosovo does not have stocks of any kind of explosive device or other weapons.”

[3] Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Mines Action Canada, May 2009), p. 238.

[4] The three countries dropped 1,765 cluster bombs containing 295,000 submunitions in what is now Serbia, Montenegro, and Kosovo. HRW, “Civilian Deaths in the NATO Air Campaign,” Vol. 12, No. 1(D), February 2000. See also HRW, “Cluster Munition Information Chart,” March 2009; Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), “Yellow Killers: The Impact of Cluster Munitions in Serbia and Montenegro,” 2007; and NPA, “Report on the Impact of Unexploded Cluster Munitions in Serbia,” January 2009.