07 June 2010

Countdown to entry into force – Week 7: Serbia

Branislav Kapetanovic, spokesperson for the CMC, lost his four limbs during a cluster submunition clearance operation in Serbia while serving as a deminer in the Yugoslav Army. ©Ivan Petrovic/Norwegian People's AidAs a country that has seen the devastation of cluster bombs firsthand, Serbia was an early supporter of an international ban on the weapons and actively participated in the "Oslo Process" to negotiate the Convention on Cluster Munitions. All of its Balkan neighbours have joined the treaty, but Serbia has not yet signed."It's hard to believe that Serbia, an affected state with many survivors in need, is still finding excuses for not joining this treaty," said Danijel Ivic, 22, who was injured by a cluster bomb at age 11 and belongs to the CMC member organisation Assistance Advocacy Access - Serbia. "We want Serbia to be cluster bomb-free in every meaning of the word. Serbia owes that to its future generations, so that no child will have to face what I've been through."Serbia hosted a crucial international conference for states contaminated by cluster munitions in October 2007, as part of the Oslo Process.During the NATO bombings in 1999, many civilians were killed and injured by cluster munitions. Serbia remains affected by cluster munition remnants. Aircraft from the United States, United Kingdom and the Netherlands dropped cluster bombs in Serbia and Montenegro, including Kosovo, which also resulted in contamination in border regions of Albania.Air- and ground-launched cluster munitions were also used by either state or non-state actors in the various conflicts resulting from the breakup of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia starting in 1991.In May 2007, Serbia stated that it was an "unwilling possessor" of cluster munitions inherited from the former Yugoslavia, which "will be, of course, destroyed." While it inherited the capacity to produce cluster munitions from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Serbia informed Human Rights Watch in February 2009 that it does not have the capacity to produce cluster munitions and has not produced them since the former Yugoslavia dissolved.The CMC calls on Serbia to follow through on its commitment to ban cluster bombs by joining the Convention on Cluster Munitions without delay. The CMC urges as many states as possible to get on board the ban treaty and to attend the First Meeting of States Parties from 8-12 November in Lao PDR, the most affected country.Download a letter urging the government of Serbia to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions:

  • Template letter urging Serbia to sign the Convention
Additional information on Serbia and cluster munitions:Serbia country chapter of the May 2009 report, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and PracticeReturn to the CMC countdown page