NON-PROLIFERATION, DISARMAMENT AND ARMS CONTROL POLICIES IN THE REPUBLIC OF CROATIA
The following is a list of concrete measures undertaken by the Republic of Croatia with regard to its policies in the field of non-proliferation, disarmament and arms control as well as how they may relate to international efforts to combat against illegal trade in weapons and/or terrorist activities.
1. MULTILATERAL INSTRUMENTS
The Republic of Croatia is a state party to and active participant in all the major international treaties and conventions relating to the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, as well as conventional weapons. This includes the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT); the Convention of the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials (CPPNM); the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction (BTWC); the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction (CWC); the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT); the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (CCW), as well as its four annexed Protocols (including Amended Protocol II on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby Traps and Other Devices); and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Landmines and on Their Destruction (the Ottawa Convention).Croatia is a member of the Wassenaar Arangement (WA) and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a candidate for the membership in the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and the Zanger Commission, and is interested in joining the Australian Group.Currently underway is an agreement with the OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) on putting at disposal a single platoon for radiological, biological and chemical decontamination. The decontamination platoon would act in case of a chemical incident, and could serve within NATO as well.
B. IMPLEMENTING INTERNATIONAL INSTRUMENTS
The Republic of Croatia is continuously working toward the effective and timely implementation of all its international obligations, including the implementation of provisions contained in the above mentioned international treaties and conventions. For example, Croatia regularly reports under Article VI of the CWC, the Final Declaration (on Confidence Building Measures) of the Third Review Conference of States Parties to the BTWC and Article VII of the Ottawa Convention on Anti-Personnel Landmines (APL). Croatia also reports regularly to the UN Register on Conventional Arms in New York. It should be mentioned that the Croatian Parliament ratified Amended Protocol II of the CCW Convention in February 2002, and that its first report according to Amended Protocol II was presented in December 2002.On CWC implementation, Croatia successfully hosted four inspection visits by OPCW inspectors in the years 2000 and 2002, and regularly fulfils its commitments under Article VI (yearly declarations on activities in line with the CWC) and Article X of the CWC (declaration on the national defence plan against chemical attack). In regard to the Ottawa Convention on Anti-Personnel Landmines, Croatia fulfilled its Article IV obligation by destroying its stockpiles of APL's in October 2002 (a total of 199,003 APL's were destroyed), and is steadily working towards clearing its mined areas within the 10 year time span according to Article V of the Convention.It is important to note that although Croatia does not have national implementing legislation for all international instruments in the field of disarmament, an important caveat is that according to the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia obligations pursuant to international treaties and conventions take precedence over national legislation, in case of ambivalence or conflict.Notwithstanding the above mentioned, it should be noted that Article 163 of the Croatian Criminal Law defines the illegal sale or possession of both biological or chemical weapons, as well as any other weaponry banned by international treaty or convention, to be a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment. The Law states in its paragraph 1 that "Whomsoever constructs or develops, produces, attains, stores, offers for sale or purchases, brokers in the sale or purchase, possesses, transfers or transports chemical or biological weapons, or any other military equipment which is prohibited by international law, will be punished by imprisonment for 3 months to 3 years duration". Furthermore, paragraph 3 of the same Law states: "If the execution of a criminal offence pursuant to paragraph 1 of this Article cases the death of one or more persons, the executor of the criminal offence will be punished by imprisonment of at least 5 years duration or longer term imprisonment".
C. SUPPORTING THE WORK OF INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
Croatia is in the process of preparing combat units, combat support units, national support for deployed units and combat service support, as well as engineering and sanitary units for future UN and NATO/PfP peacekeeping operations. These units should be in full readiness by the end of 2003. Currently, Croatia has one active military police platoon taking part in the NATO led peace support operation in Afghanistan, and two police inspectors and one diplomat in the Germany-led Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) – a part of the NATO/ISAF peacekeeping mission to Afghanistan. Their main task is to assist in setting up the institutions of central and provincial authorities. Croatia has military observers in the UN peacekeeping missions in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), Ethiopia/Eritrea (UNMEE) and Kashmir (UNMOGIP), and has also contributed to international efforts in Iraq with two arms inspectors in the framework of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission in Iraq (UNMOVIC).Croatia actively contributes to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) long-term missions in Albania, Kosovo and Georgia by seconding staff, both from the governmental and non-governmental sector. Croatia plans to increase the number of its mission members in existing missions, as well as begin seconding officers in other missions. For a number of years now, Croatia has also been seconding long term and short term observers to OSCE election monitoring missions throughout the OSCE region. It should be noted that the OSCE has more than 20 missions and field activities located throughout Europe, from South East Europe, the Caucasus and Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. These missions work on both the political and grass root level with governments, civil society, NGO's, and other interested individuals to facilitate political processes, prevent or settle conflicts, and more generally, promote democracy, civil society and the rule of law. Moreover, Croatia was accepted into the Steering Committee of the Central European Nations' Cooperation in Peace Support (CENCOOP) at a CENCOOP meeting of Defence Ministers in Bled, Slovenia, on 21 June 2002.Croatia established its National Authority for Implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) on 26 June 1997 (according to Article VII of the CWC). The National Authority is the central Government body responsible for monitoring the implementation of obligations inherent in the CWC as well as the coordinating Government body for communicating with the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), other States Parties of the CWC and foreign or domestic institutions, agencies and companies. The National Authority is made up of representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defence, Internal Affairs, Economy and Environmental Protection.Croatia is also preparing an Agreement with the OPCW on providing a RBC unit – Radiological, Biological and Chemical Decontamination Unit – at the disposal of the OPCW, in line with Article X of the CWC (international assistance and protection against chemical weapons). In September 2002 Croatia hosted the first international assistance and delivery exercise (ASSISTEX) according to Article X of the CWC, under the joint organization of the government of Croatia and the OPCW. The aim of this exercise was to test the readiness of OPCW member states to provide assistance to a State Party of the CWC victim of a chemical weapons attack or victim of chemical weapons terrorism.Croatia has added its support to the work of the OPCW by hosting a Symposium entitled “CBMTS Industry I – Chemical and Biological War without Chemical and Biological Weapons”, held in Zagreb in October 1998, during which a military exercise and demonstration was conducted, and by hosting the “CBMTS Industry II – World Congress on Chemical and Biological Terrorism”, in Dubrovnik in April 2001. “CMBTS Industry III – The Second World Congress on Chemical and Biological Terrorism” was held in Dubrovnik, September 2003. On small arms and light weapons, the Government of Croatia added its support and actively implements the UN Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons, the OSCE Document on SALW as well as the Stability Pact Implementation Plan on Combating the Proliferation of SALW. Croatia especially supports all efforts to fight the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in its region.The Croatian Government is very keen to work on SALW issues, being a country with a clearly defined National Program for increasing general security through the voluntary submission of arms. Croatia is pleased with its internationally recognized efforts in combating the proliferation of SALW and the efforts of its Ministry of Internal Affairs – both in the handing in of remaining weapons and ammunition by the public, as well as in the destruction of seized and voluntary surrendered SALW. In early 2001 the Government of Croatia adopted a "Farewell to Arms" program, aimed at allowing its citizens the opportunity to return small arms and light weapons retained following the armed conflict in Croatia in 1991-95 in a media friendly way. The "Farewell to Arms" project was also an excellent example of cooperation between relevant ministries, NGO's and the media, and the need to combine these efforts in order to achieve a common goal. The initiative proved to be highly successful, with over 67,333 mines and other explosive ordinance, 6,574 automatic and semi-automatic fire arms, over 3,748 kilograms of military grade and other explosives and 2,301,741 pieces of ammunition of various calibre being handed over. The vast majority of the above mentioned explosive ordinance and small arms/light weapons handed were destroyed, under the supervision of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The initiative and therefore amnesty for possessing illegal weapons and ammunition ended on 31 December 2002. The possession of unregistered weapons or ammunition, or illegal armaments, is now punishable by law. In 2005, a national commission was formed to co-ordinate the relevant ministries in order to deal with the problem in the most efficient manner possible.
D. REINFORCING MULTILATERAL INSTRUMENTS
Croatia was actively involved in the negotiations of the Ad Hoc Group of States Parties to the BTWC on an Implementing Protocol for the BTWC. At the Fifth Review Conference of the BTWC, Croatia supported the continuation of the work of the Ad Hoc Group, on the basis of the Ad Hoc Group Chairman's Composite Text on a future Protocol. Croatia opined that a holistic approach was made with the presentation of the Chairman's Composite text of the future Protocol, which attempted to bring together the different compromise positions debated over and offered in the course of the Ad hoc Group’s negotiations. Croatia extended the position that while work in several areas of the Composite text may still have been required, especially with regard to future inspections and visits, with stronger provisions for the protection of commercial property information needed, it nevertheless provided an excellent opportunity to move toward bringing negotiations to their desired result – the adoption of a new Protocol whose primary goal was to ensure that biological agents are not used to the detriment of human kind.Croatia with its partners worked towards the successful conclusion of the reconvened Fifth Review Conference in November 2002, which including the adoption of a strong Final Declaration. Also, Croatia has indicated that it shall unilaterally support US proposals on national implementation measures and legislation for BTWC implementation, although it shares the view of some other European delegations that this presents political, not legal obligations on states. For this reason Croatia prefers the resumption of negotiations for a legally binding implementation Protocol to the BTWC.Croatia actively participates in the work of the Ottawa Convention on Anti-Personnel Landmines, including through various formal and informal groups that operate within the scope of the Convention. Croatia was Co-Chair, along with Australia, of the Standing Committee on Stockpile Destruction (Committee III) in 2001-2002. Following the Fourth Meeting of States Parties of the Ottawa Convention in September 2002 Croatia was given the opportunity to once again serve on a Standing Committee, this time for Victim Assistance. Croatia is currently serving as the Co-Rapporteur of this Standing Committee, and will become a Co-Chair following the Fifth Meeting of States to be held in Bangkok, Thailand, in September 2003.Croatia also takes part in the informal exchanges of the Universalization Contact Group, Article VIII discussions on facilitating and clarifying compliance measures, as well as the informal open-ended contact group on resource mobilization. We should also like to mention that the Croatian Mine Action Center (CROMAC) has been active in helping to develop International Mine Action Standards (IMAS), mainly in the field of general and humanitarian mine action standards and guidelines.
As a contribution under Article VI of the Ottawa Convention on Anti-Personnel Mines (International Cooperation and Assistance) Croatia hosted a regional Seminar on Humanitarian Mine Action: Progress under the Mine Ban Treaties in October 2002 in Dubrovnik. The Seminar was attended by a plethora of European countries (as well as the USA and Canada) and provided an excellent opportunity to exchange information and strengthen cooperation on all aspects of mine action, from mine clearance and stockpile destruction to victim assistance, financing mine action and NGO cooperation. Information on the Seminar can be obtained on the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, or through the Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Mine Action. Croatia hosted the 6th meeting of the states parties to the Ottawa Convention in November 2005.
At the Second Review Conference of the Certain Conventional Weapons Convention (CCW) Croatia fully supported proposals for extending the scope of the Convention to internal conflicts by amending Article 1 of the Framework Convention, as well as supporting the establishment of an open-ended Group of Governmental Experts, with separate coordinators, to discuss ways and means to address the issue of Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) and to further explore the issue of mines other than anti-personnel mines. The Law on Confirming amendments to Article I of the CCW Convention has been forwarded to Parliament, and its adoption is expected in early 2003.On ERW Croatia supports the principle for a systematic resolution to the problem of explosive remnants of war, through the establishment of an internationally and legally binding instrument. Croatia supports the view that following war operations States should guarantee human resources and materials for clearing explosive ordinance that may not have exploded during hostilities. This should be an indisputable humanitarian obligation. Also, in the case of remotely delivered mines and other explosive ordinance States should also provide detailed maps indicating where this mines/explosive ordinance may have been laid/deployed. In general, Croatia supports the position that an attacking State must take into consideration these issues, and especially support the positions articulated in paragraphs 2.7, 2.8 and 2,10 of CCW/GGE/I/WP.2.On mines other than anti-personnel mines, Croatia holds the position that these mines do not present the same humanitarian problem that anti-personnel landmines do. They are not deployed in the same quantities that APL's are and because of their size and material content are easier to detect. These types of mines are best and easiest diffused when they are found, which in most cases can be done without detonation. That being said, it should be noted that Croatia does not produce any types of mines. Croatia supports the position that apparatus for self-deactivation/self-neutralization or self-destruction should be incorporated into mines other than anti-personnel mines and therefore any move to strengthen provisions in this regard has our support.Croatia does not support the view that mines other than anti-personnel mines with anti-handling devices constitute a humanitarian problem. Anti-handling devices are so designed to make defusing a mine more difficult, not impossible. These mines can be defused if specially followed procedures are undertaken. Croatia also believes that the title of this proposed Protocol "Mines other than Anti-Personnel Mines" is apt. It is the only phrase that covers all types of mines which are not anti-personnel mines. It is our opinion that any proposal to change the name of the proposed Protocol so as to focus on "anti-vehicle" or anti-tank" mines would only restrict the competence of this instrument.With regard to future international treaty negotiations, Croatia shares the opinion of its European partners on the need to convene as soon as possible negotiations on a Fissile Materials Cut-Off Treaty in the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.
2. IMPORT/EXPORT LEGISLATION
The Law on Trade of the Republic of Croatia stipulates that import/export licensing for certain goods shall be applied for the following reasons: for national security purposes; in the implementation of international treaties or conventions; for purposes of protecting life and the health of human beings, animals, plants and the environment; in the protection of public morality; and for controlling the export of works of art and certain precious metals.On the recommendation of the Ministry of Economy, the Croatian government adopted a Decree on Goods Subject to Import and Export Licensing. The Decree lists the goods, along with their tariff numbers, which are subject to import/export licensing. The following presentation refers to items solely of military importance.
A. ARMS FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES
In compliance with the above mentioned Decree and the new Law on the Production, Maintenance and Trade in Arms and Military Equipment, the Ministry of Economy is responsible for issuing import/export licenses for arms and military equipment for commercial purposes. Licenses are granted (for a finite period of time) by the Interagency Arms Licensing Group, which consists of representatives from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Economy, Internal Affairs and Defence. Each member of the Licensing Group will give his/her opinion on a particular aspect of a licensing request that corresponds to his/her scope of activities.Import licenses for arms and military equipment intended for the Croatian Armed and Police Forces are issued by the Ministries of Defence and Internal Affairs, respectively.
B. IMPLEMENTATION OF CWC AND NPT PROVISIONS
Annex III Lists 1, 2 and 3 of the Decree on Goods Subject to Import and Export Licensing regulates the issuing of import/export licenses for goods which fall under the list of substances relating to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction. Import/export licenses for substances included in the above mentioned lists are granted by the Ministry of Economy.As a State Party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and in accordance with the Protocol Additional to the Agreement between the Republic of Croatia and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the Application of Safeguards in connection with the NPT (Annex II) and the Decree on Goods Subject to Import and Export Licensing, the import and export of nuclear materials and specified equipment on nuclear materials or the use of nuclear materials are subject to licensing. Import/export licenses for these materials and equipment are issued by the Ministry of Economy.
Also, Croatia works closely with the IAEA on many other issues in its sphere of responsibility, mainly with the implementation of the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials, which is coordinated through the Ministry of Economy.
C. ADDITIONAL EFFORTS
As part of Croatia's ongoing process of making its legislation compatible with EU standards, the Government of Croatia at its 9 May 2002 session adopted a Decision whereby it agreed to apply the principles contained in the European Union Code of Conduct for Arms Exports, adopted on 8 June 1998. These criteria include, inter alia, respect for sanctions decreed by the United Nations Security Council, respect for human rights in the country of final destination, whether the internal situation in the country of final destination is stable or not, whether the export of arms will pose a clear risk to the preservation of regional peace and security, the behaviour of the buyer country with regard to the international community and whether there is risk of having the buyer country divert or re-export arms to undesirable destinations.Croatia along with a plethora of other countries took part in the Launching Conference for the International Code of Conduct (ICOC) against Ballistic Missile Proliferation, in the Hague on 25-26 November 2002. Croatia, a Subscribing State to the ICOC, supports the view that this new multilateral instrument, with potential for wide adherence, will provide the international community with additional means of increasing security for all, as well as further isolate dissenters. Finally, as part of its National Security Strategy, adopted in March 2002, Croatia has expressed its readiness and interest in further modernizing its national legislation in terms of import/export controls through acceding to other international arrangements in the field of arms control. As a member of the WA and the NSG, Croatia has fulfilled certain legislative and institutional conditions. The following legislative and institutional solutions for nuclear safety exist in Croatia: In 2003, the Croatian Parliament passed the Nuclear Safety Act, and in 2004 the Act on the Export of Dual-Use Goods. National Institute for Nuclear Safety opened in January 2005. Through said legislative and institutional solutions, Croatia has fully met the criteria that these regimes require of their members. Croatian legislation has been harmonised with that of the EU, and the EU list of goods, taken over from the Group for the Prevention of the Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and Materials, is already being implemented. Furthermore, Croatia co-operates exceptionally well with the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), and was among the first countries to accept the Additional Protocol on the conditions of the fulfilment of the IAEA guarantees, and has applied for membership in the IAEA Managing Board for 2006.The Republic of Croatia supports the activities of the Proliferation Security Initiative, the initiative to prevent the proliferation of WMDs, and the related technology and materials. The Initiative’s goal is to develop new means through strong international co-operation in order to prevent the spreading and proliferation of WMDs at sea, in the air and on land. In April 2006, AIREX (Adriatic Regional Exercise) will be held in Croatia, that will see the participation of the US-Adriatic Charter members – Croatia, Albania, and Macedonia, but the US and Poland as well.