Serbia

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 05 September 2023

Summary: Non-signatory Serbia acknowledges the humanitarian concerns raised by cluster munitions, but has not taken any steps to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Serbia has participated as an observer at meetings of the convention, most recently the Tenth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in August–September 2022. However, Serbia abstained from the vote on a key United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution promoting the convention in December 2022.

Serbia possesses cluster munitions that it inherited from the break-up of the former Yugoslavia, but has not shared information on the types or quantities stockpiled. Cluster munitions were used by Yugoslavia, ethnic militias, and secessionist forces during the conflicts that resulted from the break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces used air-dropped cluster munitions in Serbia during the 1998–1999 conflict over Kosovo.

Policy

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

Serbia has acknowledged the humanitarian concerns raised by cluster munitions, but has not taken any steps to accede to the convention.[1] Serbia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has generally supported the convention, while the Ministry of Defense has rejected calls for Serbia’s accession.[2] For example, in 2015, the Minister of Defense said Serbia could not consider ratifying the convention until it acquires new weapons to replace its stockpiled cluster munitions.[3]

Serbia played a leadership role throughout the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions, most notably by hosting a major international conference for states affected by cluster munitions in Belgrade in October 2007.[4] Serbia actively participated in the formal negotiations in Dublin in May 2008 and joined in the consensus adoption of the convention text.

Despite playing an important and influential role in the diplomatic process, Serbia attended the Oslo Signing Conference in December 2008 only as an observer and did not explain why it was not signing the convention. Local media reported that internal actions directed at signing the convention halted after the General Staff of the Serbian Army recommended to the National Security Council that Serbia not join it.[5]

Serbia has participated as an observer at the convention’s meetings, most recently attending the Tenth Meeting of States Parties held in Geneva in August–September 2022.[6] Serbia also attended the convention’s intersessional meetings in Geneva in May 2022.

In December 2022, Serbia abstained from the vote on the annual UNGA resolution urging states outside the Convention on Cluster Munitions to “join as soon as possible.”[7]

Civilian harm from the use of cluster munitions in Ukraine in 2022 and 2023 has attracted Serbian media coverage and drawn attention to Serbia’s lack of participation in the convention.[8]

Civil society representatives in Serbia, particularly cluster munition survivors, have advocated for Serbia to accede to the Convention on Cluster Munitions without delay.[9]

Serbia is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is also party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).

Production

In 2011, the Ministry of Defense stated that Serbia “is not a producer of cluster munitions.”[10] Previously, in 2009, Serbia said that it lacked the capacity to produce cluster munitions and had not produced them since the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia.[11] Serbia may have inherited some production capabilities, according to standard reference works.[12] In the past, several Serbian companies have advertised surface-to-surface rocket launchers, rockets, and artillery that could be used with either unitary warheads or submunitions.[13]

Transfers and stockpiling

The size and exact composition of Serbia’s stockpile of cluster munitions is not known, but it is comprised of air-delivered cluster bombs, ground-launched rockets, and artillery projectiles.

Serbia’s stockpile contains cluster munitions produced by the former Yugoslavia, such as 120mm M93 mortar projectiles (containing 23 KB-2 submunitions), 152mm 3-O-23 artillery projectiles (containing 63 KB-2 submunitions), and 262mm M87 Orkan surface-to-surface rockets (containing 288 KB-1 submunitions). The KB-series submunitions are of dual-purpose improved conventional munition (DPICM) type. Serbia may also possess RAB-120 and KPT-150 cluster bombs.[14] In 2004, Jane’s Information Group listed Serbia as possessing BL-755 cluster bombs.[15]

In 2011, Serbia’s Ministry of Economy and Regional Development told the Monitor that it had no records in its database detailing any foreign trade of cluster munitions in the period from 2005 to 2010.[16]

In 2013 and 2015, the Ministry of Defense stated that the Serbian Army had taken steps to recall from operational use “part” of its cluster munition stockpile and initiate its disposal.[17] No further information has been provided on the quantities and types of stocks or the status of the destruction process.

Use

There is no evidence or allegations that Serbia has used cluster munitions since the Convention on Cluster Munitions was adopted in 2008.

Serbia’s Minister of Defense said in April 2015 that “the Army of Serbia has taken steps and implemented activities to recall from operational use a part of cluster munitions [sic] and start with its disposal.”[18] The Minister of Defense cited several reasons for doing so, including “the ban on use, the limited shelf-life of the cluster munitions available, and the limited possibilities of the military industry in regard of repairs and [performance] enhancement” of the cluster munitions.

Forces of the former Yugoslavia, as well as ethnic militias and secessionist forces, used cluster munitions during the conflicts resulting from the break-up of Yugoslavia starting in 1991. During the 1998–1999 conflict over Kosovo, aircraft from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States (US) dropped cluster bombs in Serbia and Kosovo during a NATO air campaign.[19] During the Kosovo conflict, forces of the former Yugoslavia also launched several cluster munition rocket attacks into border regions controlled by Albania.



[1] In 2016, a representative said that the government was interested in the convention, but was concerned about the costs of joining it. ICBL-CMC meeting with Tijana Bokic, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Serbia to the United Nations (UN) in New York, New York, October 2016.

[2] For example, in a 2013 letter, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs described Serbia’s perspective as a country whose citizens had been injured and killed by cluster munitions. The letter highlighted the convention’s importance in introducing “new international values and standards in regard of the development, production, possession, use, and stockpiling of this inhumane and dangerous weapon,” but did not articulate Serbia’s views on accession. Letter from Amb. Miomir Udovicki, Assistant Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to Assistance Advocacy Access-Serbia (AAA-S), 15 August 2013. Translation by AAA-S, a member of the CMC. In 2011, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs representative informed the CMC that Serbia would join the convention “sooner than expected.” CMC meeting with Branka Latinović, Head of Arms Control Directorate, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Zoran Vujić, Head of the Department of Security Policy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Oslo, 12 September 2012; and CMC meeting with Zoran Vujić, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Beirut, 13 September 2011.

[3] Letter from Bratislav Gašić, Minister of Defense, to AAA-S, 15 April 2015.

[4] For more details on Serbia’s cluster munition policy and practice 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. 236–238.

[5] Minister of Defense Dragan Šutanovać reportedly stated that the Serbian Army could not give up cluster munitions because it did not have the capacity to destroy and replace existing stockpiles. See, “Cluster munitions are indispensable,” B92, 27 August 2009.

[6] Serbia participated in the convention’s Meetings of States Parties in 2011–2012 and 2016–2019, as well as the First Review Conference in 2015, the Second Review Conference in 2020 and 2021, and intersessional meetings in 2013–2015.

[7]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 77/79, 7 December 2022. Serbia has a mixed record on supporting the annual UNGA resolution promoting the convention. It abstained from the vote in 2015 and 2018–2021, but voted in favor in 2016–2017.

[8] See, for example, “HRW urges Russia, Ukraine to stop using cluster bombs,” N1, 12 May 2022.

[10] Letter from the Public Relations Department, Ministry of Defense, 6 July 2011.

[11] Letter No. 235/1 from Dr. Slobodan Vukcević, Permanent Mission of Serbia to the UN in Geneva, 9 February 2009.

[12] See, HRW and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), p. 238.

[13] On its website, Engine Development and Production Serbia (EDEPRO Serbia) advertised improvements to the range of Orkan surface-to-surface rockets. Yugoimport-SDPR also advertised artillery rockets on its website that could fire cluster munitions. An upgraded version of the OGANJ, called the LRSVM (Lanser Raketa Samohodni Višecevni Modularni, Self-Propelled Multiple Modular Rocket Launcher), capable of delivering both cluster and unitary munitions, was advertised on the Military-Technical Institute’s website. Email from Jelena Vicentić, AAA-S, 26 June 2012.

[14] For information on Yugoslav production of these weapons, see Robert Hewson, ed., Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons, Issue 44 (Surrey: Jane’s Information Group, 2004), p. 291; Terry J. Gandler and Charles Q. Cutshaw, eds., Jane’s Ammunition Handbook 2001–2002 (Surrey: Jane’s Information Group, 2001), p. 641; Leland S. Ness and Anthony G. Williams, eds., Jane’s Ammunition Handbook 2007–2008 (Surrey: Jane’s Information Group, 2007), pp. 598–599 and 720; and Defense Intelligence Agency, United States (US) Department of Defense, “Improved Conventional Munitions and Selected Controlled-Fragmentation Munitions (Current and Projected) DST-1160S-020-90,” undated.

[15] Robert Hewson, ed., Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons, Issue 44 (Surrey: Jane’s Information Group, 2004), p. 845.

[16] According to the ministry, publicly available reports on the transfer of controlled goods for 2005–2008 provide sufficient evidence that there were no imports or exports of cluster munitions. While the reports for 2009 and 2010 had yet to be published, the ministry stated that it could confirm there were no records in its database of licenses issued in 2009 or 2010 for the import or export of cluster munitions. Email from Jasmina Roskić, Director of Division for Agreements on Bilateral Promotion and Protection of Investments, Concessions, and Foreign Trade in Controlled Goods, Ministry of Economy and Regional Development, 16 February 2011; Ministry of Economy and Regional Development, “Annual Report on the Realization of Foreign Trade Transfers of Controlled Goods for 2005 and 2006,” 2007; Ministry of Economy and Regional Development, “Annual Report on the Transfers of Controlled Goods in 2007,” 2009; and Ministry of Economy and Regional Development, “Annual Report on the Transfers of Controlled Goods in 2008,” 2010.

[17] Letter from Bratislav Gašić, Minister of Defense, to AAA-S, 15 April 2015; and Letter No. 335–7, “Response by the Ministry of Defense in connection to the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” from Miroslav Janovic, Ministry of Defense, to the CMC and AAA-S, 19 August 2013. Translations by AAA-S.

[18] Letter from Bratislav Gašić, Minister of Defense, to AAA-S, 15 April 2015. Translation by AAA-S.

[19] HRW, “Civilian Deaths in the NATO Air Campaign,” Vol. 12, No. 1(D), February 2000; Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), “Yellow Killers: The Impact of Cluster Munitions in Serbia and Montenegro,” 2007; and Darvin Lisica and Šerif Bajrić, “Report on the Impact of Unexploded Cluster Submunitions in Serbia,” NPA, January 2009.


Impact

Last updated: 22 February 2024

COUNTRY SUMMARY

Serbia is contaminated by landmines due to use by non-state armed groups (NSAGs) in the late 1990s. Additional landmine contamination results from use by an NSAG in 2000–2001, in the municipalities of Bujanovac and Preševo. Since 2014, Preševo has been free of contamination, leaving Bujanovac as the only municipality still contaminated by landmines.

 

Serbia is also contaminated by cluster munition remnants that remain from North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) bombing in 1999. Serbia has reported contamination by cluster munition remnants and explosive remnants of war (ERW) in Bujanovac, Tutin, and Užice.[1]

 

Serbia is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. Its initial clearance deadline under Article 5 was in March 2014 but it has since requested three extensions, which have all been granted by States Parties. Serbia’s current Article 5 clearance deadline is 31 December 2024.[2]

 

Serbia has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions; yet operations to clear cluster munition remnants have been ongoing since 2003.[3] Clearance has been challenging due to the presence of other unexploded ordnance (UXO), consisting of large aerial bombs and scattered ordnance from unplanned explosions at a munitions storage factory.[4]

 

Risk education is coordinated by the Serbian Mine Action Center (SMAC), which is responsible for conducting training on risk education. SMAC developed a draft program for risk education.

 

Serbia is responsible for significant numbers of mine/ERW victims in need of support. Serbia’s working group on victim assistance was inactive in 2022. SMAC reported that Serbia plans to strengthen coordination between the government and survivors’ representatives.[5]

 

ASSESSING THE IMPACT

 

Contamination

 

 Extent of contamination[6]

 

Antipersonnel landmine

Cluster munition remnant

     ERW

Extent of contamination

Small

Small

Medium

Reported contamination

SHA: 0.39km²

CHA: 0.74km²

18.31km²

Note: ERW=explosive remnants of war; CHA=confirmed hazardous area; SHA=suspected hazardous area.

Landmine contamination

 

As of the end of 2022, Serbia reported a total of 0.39km² of antipersonnel mine contamination, classified as suspected hazardous area (SHA). Serbia noted that further landmine contamination exists in the municipality of Bujanovac, which was discovered after explosions were triggered by forest fires in 2019 and 2021. This contamination has not yet been fully quantified.

 

Serbia’s landmine contamination results from two periods: as a legacy of the conflicts linked to the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s; and due to antipersonnel mine use in the south of the country by an NSAG in 2000–2001.[7] The remaining contaminated areas are a result of the latter period of mine-laying and contain mines of unknown types, laid in no fixed patterns. This has complicated Serbia’s efforts to accurately survey these areas.[8]

 

Cluster munition remnants contamination

 

As of the end of 2022, cluster munition remnants contamination totaled 0.74km² of confirmed hazardous area (CHA). No SHA was reported by Serbia, though survey is still to be undertaken in areas suspected to contain cluster munition remnants in Bujanovac, Tutin, and Užice.

 

The remaining suspected cluster munition contamination is located mostly in mountainous and forested areas, but also in the debris of an old airport.[9] These areas are considered particularly important for economic development. Serbia has estimated that an additional €20 million will be required over a two-year period to fund the survey and clearance of these areas.[10]

 

Cluster munition contamination in Serbia is the result of airstrikes carried out by North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces in 1999, following the division of the former Yugoslavia. Sixteen municipalities in Serbia were affected by these attacks.

 

Other types of contamination

 

In 2022, Serbia recorded 18.31km² of confirmed ERW contamination. It has noted the presence of rockets, bombs, and UXO from previous conflicts including World War I, World War II, and the 1999 NATO bombings.

 

In 1944, during World War II, German battleships containing large quantities of sea mines and other explosive ordnance were sunk along the Danube River. These vessels were reported to still pose a threat to the local population, shipping lanes, and the environment.[11]

 

UXO is also thought to be present at the sites of former military depots in Kragujevac, Kraljevo, Leskovac, Novi Pazar, Paraćin, and Vranje as a result of fires and explosions.[12]

 

Casualties

 

The total number of mine/ERW casualties in Serbia, for all time, is unknown; yet it is believed to be significantly more than 1,000. From 1992–2000, a total of 1,360 casualties (24 killed and 1,336 injured) were reported by Serbia and Montenegro.[13]

 

The last confirmed landmine casualties in Serbia were reported in 2005. Over half of casualties resulting from explosive ordnance since 2016 were attributed to unexploded submunitions. The most recent casualties occurred in 2019, when three men were injured.[14]

 

5-year casualties total: 2018–2022

Year

Injured

Killed

Unknown

Total

2022

0

0

0

0

2021

0

0

0

0

2020

0

0

0

0

2019

3

0

0

3

2018

0

0

0

0

    

No mine/ERW casualties were reported in Serbia during 2020–2022.[15]

 

Cluster munition casualties

 

A report by Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) on unexploded submunitions in Serbia documented 191 cluster munition casualties (31 killed and 160 injured) from 1999–2008. The report did not differentiate between casualties that resulted directly from cluster munition strikes or those that were caused later by cluster munition remnants.[16]

 

 

 COORDINATION

Summary table[17]

Mine action

Main Coordination Body

Coordination Mechanism    

 

Strategy/plan    

 

National Mine Action Standards

 

Sector for Emergency Management, under the Ministry of Interior

 

SMAC

Direct coordination

A workplan for 2023 is included in Serbia’s 2022 Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 extension request

National standards aligned with IMAS (in development)

 

Risk education

Government Coordination Body

Coordination Mechanism

 

Strategy/plan

 

National Mine Action Standards

 

SMAC

Direct coordination

EORE program developed by SMAC

National standards aligned with IMAS 12.10 on Risk Education ( in development)

Victim assistance

Government Coordination Body

Coordination Mechanism

 

Strategy/plan

 

National Mine Action Standards

 

Sector for Protection of Veterans with Disabilities, under the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs

Direct coordination

Working Group on Victim Assistance (inactive)

None

Note: SMAC=Serbian Mine Action Center; IMAS=International Mine Action Standards; EORE=Explosive Ordnance Risk Education.

 

 

ADDRESSING THE IMPACT

 

Clearance

 

Highlights from 2022


In 2022, SMAC, the Ministry of Interior, and PMC Engineering attended a regional course on Quality Management in Mine Action, held in Rome for representatives of the Balkan countries. It was organized by the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) in cooperation with the Italian Counter-IED Center of Excellence.[18] SMAC representatives also attended a training course in Switzerland on the International Mine Action Standards (IMAS).[19]

 

In December 2022, SMAC participated in a regional NPA workshop in Sarajevo, which aimed to enhance quality management in mine action.[20]

 

Management and coordination

 

Management and coordination overview

 

The Ministry of Interior acts as Serbia’s national mine action authority. It supervises the work of SMAC, accredits operators, and is tasked with developing Standard Operating Procedures.

 

SMAC is responsible for coordinating mine and ERW clearance, collecting and managing mine action data, and surveying SHAs. It plans but does not directly carry out demining operations. SMAC conducts quality control and monitoring of clearance operations, and ensures that IMAS are implemented by operators. It also conducts risk education.[21]

 

Serbia’s mine action program is integrated within the national Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as the municipalities affected by mine/ERW contamination are among the poorest.[22]

 

Legislation and standards

 

National mine action standards, aligned with IMAS, are under development.

 

A new decree on protection against ERW, developed by SMAC and the Ministry of Interior, is reported to be at the final stage of being adopted by the government.[23]

 

Information management

 

SMAC plans to install the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA), with GICHD support. In March 2023, GICHD information management advisors visited SMAC, to obtain a better understanding of its requirements before finalizing arrangements.[24]

 

Gender and diversity

 

SMAC does not have a gender and diversity policy in place. Yet it ensures that women, children, and ethnic or minority groups, are consulted during survey and community liaison activities. It also ensures equal access to employment in mine action for qualified women and men.[25]

 

Clearance operators

 

In 2022, Serbia listed six national commercial clearance operators. Five international operators consisted of two non-governmental organizations (NGOs)—IN Demining and Stop Mines—as well as three commercial operators (DOK-International Ltd, Eksploring Ltd, and Trotil Ltd).[26]

 

Land release: antipersonnel landmines

 

2022 land release overview: landmines[27]

Area cleared (km2)

Area reduced (km2)

Area canceled (km2)

Total area released (km2)

APM destroyed

0.17

0.00

0.00

0.17

0

Note: APM=antipersonnel mines.

 

A total of 0.17km² of suspected antipersonnel mine contaminated land was cleared during 2022. However, no mines were reported to have been destroyed. Serbia has a prioritization system for clearance in place, which prioritizes contaminated areas that directly affect local populations.

 

The remaining mine contamination is thought to be located on mountainous and hilly terrain in Bujanovac municipality. This contamination continues to have a severe socio-economic impact on local residents, who use the area for farming.[28]

 

Five-year landmine clearance: 2018­–2022[29]

Year

Area cleared (km2)

APM

destroyed

UXO

Destroyed*

2022

 0.17

0

158

2021

 0.29

9

4

2020

 0.27

1

1,586

2019

 0.60

22

15

2018

 0.21

29

1,347

*Serbia did not state whether any antivehicle mines were recorded under UXO destroyed in 2018–2022.

Note: APM=antipersonnel mines; UXO=unexploded ordnance.

 

In the five-year period from 2018–2022, Serbia cleared a total land area of 1.54km2, destroying 61 antipersonnel mines.

 

 

Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 clearance deadline

 

Summary of Article 5 clearance deadline extension requests[30]

Original deadline

Extension period

(no. of request)

Current deadline

Status

1 March 2014

5 years (1st)

4 years (2nd)

1 year and 10 months (3rd)

31 December 2024

Expected to request another extension

 

The Mine Ban Treaty entered into force for Serbia on 1 March 2004. Its original deadline under Article 5, to clear all antipersonnel mines from its territory, was 1 March 2014.

 

Serbia requested a five-year extension in 2013, which was granted by States Parties, amending the deadline to 1 March 2019. Serbia submitted a second extension request in 2018, asking for an additional four years. The request was granted, setting a new deadline of 1 March 2023.

 

Serbia has cited a number of factors which prevented it from meeting these deadlines, including unmapped areas where landmines were laid with no specific pattern, and the presence of mixed contamination with cluster munition remnants and other ERW. Climatic conditions have also prevented access for clearance at certain times of year, while the COVID-19 pandemic led to a reallocation of funds in 2020, resulting in a lower annual budget for clearance activities.[31]

 

In March 2022, Serbia requested a third, shorter extension, in order to complete non-technical survey of newly-discovered SHA in Bujanovac municipality. The request was granted by States Parties, setting a current deadline of 31 December 2024. Serbia estimated that survey may take approximately one year to complete, depending on the availability of donor funds.[32]

 

Land release: cluster munition remnants

 

2022 land release overview: CMR[33]

Area cleared (km2)

Area reduced (km2)

Area canceled (km2)

Total area released (km2)

CMR destroyed

0.28

0.00

0.00

0.28

2

Note: CMR=cluster munition remnants.

 

In 2022, Serbia cleared 0.28km2 of cluster munition contaminated land, destroying two cluster munition remnants.

 

Five-year cluster munition remnant clearance: 2018–2022[34]

Year

Area cleared (km²)

CMR destroyed

2022

0.28

2

2021

1.32

38

2020

0.29

7

2019

0.14

4

2018

N/A

N/A

Total

2.03

51

Note: CMR=cluster munition remnants; N/A=not applicable.

 

From 2018–2022, Serbia cleared 2.03km2 of cluster munition contaminated land, destroying 51 cluster munition remnants over the five-year period.

 

 

Risk education

 

Risk education operators

 

SMAC is the only organization that conducts risk education in Serbia. It has developed its own program for risk education, in accordance with IMAS.[35]

 

In 2022, SMAC conducted five explosive ordnance risk education (EORE) training courses for staff from public construction firms, on the dangers of ERW. Instructors teaching the course were all qualified in explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) Level 1 and Level 2, and were approved by SMAC and the Ministry of Defense. A total of 64 individuals attended, across the five courses.[36]

 

Serbia stated in the Article 5 extension request submitted in 2022 that EORE forms part of the new workplan. The Ministry of Education will cooperate with SMAC to ensure that mine risk education is targeted at schoolchildren and vulnerable adults in Bujanovac municipality.[37]

 

Beneficiary data in 2022[38]

Operator

Men

Boys

Women

Girls

Total

SMAC

59

0

5

0

64

 

SMAC reported providing risk education to 64 recipients during 2022.

 

Target groups

 

SMAC targets communities in areas contaminated by landmines and cluster munition remnants. It was reported that men, women, and children were targeted, with information provided in both Serbian and Albanian.

 

SMAC also ran risk education training courses in 2022, for private companies whose staff may be at risk from ERW. Most of the employees that took part in these courses were reported to be younger men, due to their involvement in construction work.[39]

 

Delivery methods

 

In 2022, SMAC delivered risk education messages in Serbia through in-person training courses, community liaison visits, and social media.

 

 

Victim assistance

 

Management and coordination

 

The Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs coordinates victim assistance in Serbia. The Department for the Protection of Persons with Disabilities and the Department for the Veterans-Disabled Protection are responsible for assisting persons with disabilities.[40]

 

Needs assessment

 

A database run by the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs recorded a total of 696 civilian war invalids as of the end of 2021, including those affected by ERW.[41]

 

A Working Group on Victim Assistance was established in 2015 in order to assess the needs of mine/ERW victims, address gaps in services, and coordinate with providers.[42] However, it was inactive in 2022 and has not met since 2015.[43]

 

Medical care and rehabilitation

 

The Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs supports the rehabilitation of mine/ERW survivors with physical disabilities. Survivors received rehabilitation services at the Special Hospital for Rehabilitation in Vrnjačka Banja in 2022, and at the Specialized Hospital for Rehabilitation and Orthopedic Prosthetics in Belgrade.[44]

 

Funding from ITF Enhancing Human Security enabled a mine survivor from Serbia to travel to the University Rehabilitation Institute of the Republic of Slovenia in 2022, to receive a modern and better-fitting prosthesis for his leg.[45]

 

Access to healthcare services remains an issue for persons with disabilities in Serbia.[46]

 

Socio-economic and psychosocial inclusion

 

All municipalities in Serbia have services to protect veterans and persons with disabilities.[47]

 

Legal frameworks or policies on disability inclusion

 

The legal framework for civilian war victims in Serbia is laid out in the 2006 constitution, which contains a provision on victims of war under the concept of social protection.[48] Serbia is also a State Party to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

 

A Law on the Rights of Civilian Invalids of War was adopted in 1996. However, a 2017 report found that the law was flawed due to the conditions that must be met to be a beneficiary.[49]

 

The Law on the Rights of Soldiers, Disabled Veterans, Civilian Disabled Veterans and Family Members entered into force on 1 January 2021. It aimed to enhance the rights of military war invalids and grant new rights to veterans of the 1990s conflicts and World War II. This law has also been criticized due to the limited number of individuals eligible to benefit.[50]

 

The law in Serbia prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in all areas including employment, education, transport, and access to buildings and health services. Yet persons with disabilities are not able to access these services on an equal basis with others, and the laws are often not enforced.[51]



[1] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Slađana Košutić, Senior Advisor for Planning, International Cooperation and European Integrations, SMAC, 9 May 2023.

[2] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Slađana Košutić, Senior Advisor for Planning, International Cooperation and European Integrations, SMAC, 9 May 2023.

[3] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Slađana Košutić, Senior Advisor for Planning, International Cooperation and European Integrations, SMAC, 9 May 2023.

[4] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Slađana Košutić, Senior Advisor for Planning, International Cooperation and European Integrations, SMAC, 9 May 2023.

[5] Serbia Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2022), p. 15. See, Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Database.

[6] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Slađana Košutić, SMAC, Senior Advisor for Planning, International Cooperation and European Integrations, 9 May 2023.

[7] Serbia Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2013), p. 7.

[8] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Slađana Košutić, Senior Advisor for Planning, International Cooperation and European Integrations, SMAC, 9 May 2023.

[9] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Slađana Košutić, Senior Advisor for Planning, International Cooperation and European Integrations, SMAC, 9 May 2023.

[12] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Slađana Košutić, Senior Advisor for Planning, International Cooperation and European Integrations, SMAC, 9 May 2023.

[13] This total includes 260 landmine survivors registered in Montenegro. Presentation of Serbia and Montenegro, Standing Committee on Victim Assistance and Socio-Economic Reintegration, Mine Ban Treaty intersessional meetings, Geneva, 10 February 2004.

[14] ICBL-CMC, “Country Profile: Serbia: Impact,” updated 9 February 2021.

[15] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Slađana Košutić, Senior Advisor for Planning, International Cooperation and European Integrations, SMAC, 9 May 2023.

[17] Serbia Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2022).

[18] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Slađana Košutić, Senior Advisor for Planning, International Cooperation and European Integrations, SMAC, 9 May 2023.

[19] Serbia Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2022), p. 12.

[20] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Slađana Košutić, Senior Advisor for Planning, International Cooperation and European Integrations, SMAC, 9 May 2023; and SMAC, “Participation of SMAC at Regional Workshop “Assessment of Needs and Planning of Improvement of Quality Management Capacities of National/State Mine Action Authorities” in Sarajevo,” 15 December 2022.

[22] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Slađana Košutić, Senior Advisor for Planning, International Cooperation and European Integrations, SMAC, 9 May 2023.

[23] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Slađana Košutić, Senior Advisor for Planning, International Cooperation and European Integrations, SMAC, 9 May 2023.

[24] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Slađana Košutić, Senior Advisor for Planning, International Cooperation and European Integrations, SMAC, 9 May 2023.

[25] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Slađana Košutić, Senior Advisor for Planning, International Cooperation and European Integrations, SMAC, 9 May 2023.

[26] Email from Slađana Košutić, Senior Advisor for Planning, International Cooperation and European Integrations, SMAC, 16 June 2023.

[27] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Slađana Košutić, Senior Advisor for Planning, International Cooperation and European Integrations, SMAC, 9 May 2023.

[32] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Slađana Košutić, Senior Advisor for Planning, International Cooperation and European Integrations, SMAC, 9 May 2023.

[33] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Slađana Košutić, Senior Advisor for Planning, International Cooperation and European Integrations, SMAC, 9 May 2023.

[35] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Slađana Košutić, Senior Advisor for Planning, International Cooperation and European Integrations, SMAC, 9 May 2023.

[36] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Slađana Košutić, Senior Advisor for Planning, International Cooperation and European Integrations, SMAC, 9 May 2023.

[38] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Slađana Košutić, Senior Advisor for Planning, International Cooperation and European Integrations, SMAC, 9 May 2023.

[40] Serbia Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2022), p. 15.

[43] ICBL-CMC, “Country Profile: Serbia: Impact,” updated 15 November 2021.

[44] ICBL-CMC, “Country Profile: Serbia: Impact,” updated 15 November 2021.

[45] ITF Enhancing Human Security, “Annual Report 2022,” March 2023, p. 59.

[46] European Commission (EC), “Commission Staff Working Document: Serbia 2022 Report,” 12 October 2022, p. 103.

[47] Serbia Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2022).

[50] Milica Stojanovic, “Serbia Adopts Law Boosting Disabled Veterans’ Rights,” Balkan Insight, 29 February 2020.

[51] EC, “Commission Staff Working Document: Serbia 2022 Report,” 12 October 2022, p. 38.


Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 18 December 2019

Policy

The Republic of Serbia assumed the treaty commitments of the former state union of Serbia and Montenegro following the Republic of Montenegro’s declaration of independence in June 2006.[1] The former Serbia and Montenegro acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty on 18 September 2003, becoming a State Party on 1 March 2004.[2]

A new Criminal Code of the Republic of Serbia entered into force on 1 January 2006. Articles 376 and 377 make the use, production, stockpiling, trade, and transfer of antipersonnel mines a criminal offense. These two provisions also specify penal sanctions.[3]

Serbia regularly attends meetings of the treaty, including the Third Review Conference in Maputo in June 2014. More recently, Serbia attended the Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in November 2018, where it submitted an Article 5 mine clearance deadline extension request.[4] Serbia regularly submits annual Article 7 transparency reports.

Serbia has reconfirmed the view of the former state union of Serbia and Montenegro that “mere participation” in military activities with states not party to the treaty, which engage in activities prohibited by the treaty, is not a treaty violation.[5]

Serbia is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons and ratified Amended Protocol II on landmines on 14 February 2011. Serbia is not party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Production, transfer, and stockpile destruction

In 2007, Serbian officials reaffirmed that the former Serbia and Montenegro did not produce any type of landmine after 1990.[6] Serbia has stated that old facilities for mine production have been successfully transformed for production of resources for civilian purposes.[7] In the past, the former Serbia and Montenegro stated several times that mine exports halted in 1990.[8]

After Montenegro’s declaration of independence, the two countries continued the stockpile destruction process initiated by the former Serbia and Montenegro in 2005 as a project of the Ministry of Defense and the NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency (NAMSA).[9]

On 7 May 2007, Serbia completed the destruction of 1,404,819 antipersonnel mines stockpiled by both Serbia and Montenegro. An additional 10 mines were found and destroyed shortly thereafter. Of the 1,404,829 mines destroyed, a total of 1,205,442 were held in the Republic of Serbia and 199,387 in the Republic of Montenegro.[10] Destruction was completed well in advance of the treaty deadlines of 1 March 2008 for Serbia and 1 April 2011 for Montenegro.

Serbia initially stated in May 2007, upon completion of its stockpile destruction, that 5,565 antipersonnel mines would be retained.[11] In 2007, according to NAMSA, 1,839 of these 5,565 mines did not have fuzes.[12] At the end of 2018, Serbia retained 3,134 mines for training and research, of which 1,034 did not have fuzes.[13]



[1] Following a referendum on independence on 21 May 2006, the Parliament of Montenegro declared independence on 3 June, and Montenegro was accepted as a member of the UN on 28 June. Montenegro deposited its instrument of accession to the Mine Ban Treaty on 23 October 2006.

[2] Kosovo declared independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008. See also the separate profile for Kosovo.

[3] During the State Union before Montenegro’s independence, each Republic had separate legislative authority to implement the treaty. See, Landmine Monitor Report 2006, p. 633, for details on the penal code, articles 376 and 377, and the sanctions.

[4] Statement of Serbia, Mine Ban Treaty Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 26 November 2018.

[5] In a 30 June 2006 letter to the UN Secretary-General, Serbia stated that “all declarations, reservations and notifications made by Serbia and Montenegro will be maintained by the Republic of Serbia until the Secretary-General, as depositary, is duly notified otherwise.” Upon acceding to the treaty, Serbia and Montenegro made a Declaration that “it is the understanding of Serbia and Montenegro that the mere participation in the planning or conduct of operations, exercises or any other military activities by the armed forces of Serbia and Montenegro, or by any of its nationals, if carried out in conjunction with armed forces of the non-State Parties (to the Convention), which engage in activities prohibited under the Convention, does not in any way imply an assistance, encouragement or inducement as referred to in subparagraph 1 (c) of the Convention.”

[6] Interview with Col. Dr. Vlado Radic, Department for Defense Technology, Ministry of Defense, Belgrade, 21 March 2006; and interview with Mladen Mijovic, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Belgrade, 16 March 2007.

[7] Statement by Col. Dr. Jugoslav Radulovic, Assistant Minister for Material Resources, Ministry of Defense, Ceremony on the Occasion of Closing the Project for Destruction of Antipersonnel Landmines in Serbia, Belgrade, 16 May 2007.

[8] Letter from Maj.-Gen. Dobrosav Radovanovic, Assistant Minister of Defense, Sector of International Military Cooperation and Defense Policy, Ministry of Defense, 29 January 2003; and see also, Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 789.

[9] Interview with Zoran Dimitrijevic, Local Representative, NAMSA, Belgrade, 5 March 2007; and “Last Balkan mine stockpiles destroyed under NATO-supported project,” NATO News, 16 May 2007.

[10] The mines destroyed included: 294,823 PMA-1; 169,400 PMA-2; 307,969 PMA-3; 580,411 PMR-2A; 4,787 PMR-3; 44,083 PROM-1; and 3,356 VS-50. See, Landmine Monitor Report 2007, p. 608.

[11] A Ministry of Defense official told the Monitor in March 2006 that the General Staff “would probably” order all retained mines to be destroyed at the end of the stockpile destruction program. In its December 2006 Article 7 report, Serbia reported that only 5,307 mines would be retained for training, all by the Ministry of Interior. In its Article 7 report submitted in 2008, Serbia reported that same number and types of mines as being transferred for training by the Ministry of Interior (presumably to the Ministry of Defense). See, Landmine Monitor Report 2008, pp. 618–619.

[12] This includes all 629 PMA-1 mines and all 1,210 PMA-3 mines. Email from Zoran Dimitrijevic, NAMSA, 25 May 2007; and email from Graham Goodrum, Technical Officer, NAMSA, 25 June 2007.

[13] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form D, 2019.


Support for Mine Action

Last updated: 09 January 2024

In 2022, Serbia received €120,000 (US$126,408) in international mine action support from the European Union (EU), for capacity-building activities.[1]

Serbia reported a national contribution of €610,000 ($642,574) to its mine action program in 2022. Of this contribution, €260,000 ($273,884) supported clearance activities while €350,000 ($368,690) supported the Serbian Mine Action Center (SMAC).[2]

Five-year support for mine action

In the five-year period from 2018–2022, international contributions to mine action activities in Serbia totaled almost $4.8 million. The annual total remained constant at $1 million from 2019–2021, before falling significantly in 2022.

Summary of international contributions: 2018–2022[3]

Year

International contributions (US$)

% change from previous year

2022

126,408

-87

2021

1,000,000

0

2020

1,000,000

0

2019

1,000,000

-38

2018

1,624,982

+30

Total

4,751,390

N/A

                                         Note: N/A=not applicable.

  


[1] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Michal Adamowicz, Policy Officer, Non-Proliferation and Arms Export Control, European External Action Service (EEAS), 29 September 2023. Average exchange rate for 2022: €1=US$1.0534. United States (US) Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 9 January 2023.

[2] Serbia Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2022), Form C. See, Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Database.

[3] See previous Support for Mine Action country profiles. ICBL-CMC, “Country Profiles: Serbia,” undated; ICBL, Landmine Monitor 2022 (ICBL-CMC: Geneva, November 2022); ICBL, Landmine Monitor 2021 (ICBL-CMC: Geneva, November 2021); and ICBL, Landmine Monitor 2020 (ICBL-CMC: Geneva, November 2020).