Arms Control

Responsibilities of the Security Policy Sector include monitoring of global and regional developments in the area of arms control and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction as well as in the area of control of export of arms, military equipment and dual-use goods. In accordance with its foreign policy objectives and priorities, the Republic of Serbia complies closely with the international standards and practices in the mentioned areas and regularly submits reports on the fulfilment of obligations under the ratified relevant international conventions. Also, the Republic of Serbia has harmonised its legislation in the export control area with standards in the European Union.

 

1. Export control

The entire area concerning the issuance of permits for import and export, provision of brokerage services and technical assistance as well as the basis for the control of transport and transit of weapons and military equipment is regulated under the Law on Export and Import of Arms and Military Equipment, which entered into force on 16 October 2014. Procedures related to the issuance of permits for import and export, provision of brokerage services, technical assistance, transport and transit of dual-use goods are regulated under the Law on Import and Export of Dual-use Goods, which entered into force on 8 November 2013. Both statutes are fully harmonised with standards in the European Union.

Law on International Restrictive Measures was adopted on 4 February 2016. With this law legal basis was established for full and efficient implementation of the international restrictive measures adopted by international organisations whose member is the Republic of Serbia.

The Republic of Serbia ratified the Arms Trade Treaty (АТТ) on 29 October 2014. ATT is a binding document under international law, defining, at the global level, criteria, principles, parameters and new standards to be observed by the State Parties when approving permits for the transfer of conventional weapons. Its objective, inter alia, is to make the arms trade as credible as possible, the very process more transparent, strengthen co-operation between the states and minimise the possibilities of illicit arms trade.

In April 2008, the Government of the Republic of Serbia adopted a Conclusion initiating the negotiation mechanism for the accession of the Republic of Serbia to the international control regimes for export of arms and dual-use goods. On 30 April 2013, the Republic of Serbia became the member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the international control regime designated to deal with export control of nuclear material and dual-use goods. The negotiations for joining the Wassenaar Arrangement (WA), the international control regime in the field of control of export of arms, military equipment and dual-use goods, started in 2009 and are still underway. In March 2017, the Republic of Serbia applied for membership in the Australian Group (AG), informal control arrangement represented by a forum of a group of states which, through harmonisation of regulations in the export control and exchange of information, strive to prevent the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons. After it has regulated its memberships in the mentioned control regimes, the Republic of Serbia will initiate the procedure for membership in the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).

Within its regular activities, the Republic of Serbia submits information for the UN Register of Conventional Arms (UNROCA), OSCE Document on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW), reports on the implementation of 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), reports on the fulfilment of obligations under the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (the Ottawa Treaty), as well as reports on the implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty.

 

2. Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW)

The Republic of Serbia is a State Party to the most significant international instruments in the field of fight against the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, such as the UN Protocol Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition, the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects. The Republic of Serbia was, beside 56 member states of the UN, one of the co-sponsors of the UN Security Council Resolution 2220 (2015) on small arms and light weapons, which was adopted on 22 May 2015.

On 19 June 2019, the Government of the Republic of Serbia adopted the second Strategy on the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons 2019-2024 and the Action Plan for the Implementation of the Strategy during the period 2019-2020.

The Republic of Serbia supported the joint initiative of France and Germany (initiated in 2017) resulting in the adoption of the Roadmap for a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of small arms and light weapons and their ammunition in the Western Balkans, at the London Western Balkans Summit held in July 2018.

According to the independent research of the Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer, which includes states that are believed to have exported at least USD 10 million worth of small arms and light weapons, the Republic of Serbia is among top 5 states when transparency of export of small arms and light weapons is in question.

 

3. Non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction

In order to maintain national security, observe the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions, international conventions and treaties, the Republic of Serbia persistently implements the applicable norms in the field of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). In this regard, the Republic of Serbia fulfils its obligations under the UN Security Council Resolution 1540 to prevent the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their means of delivery, adopted on 28 April 2004, as the first UN SC Resolution expressly mentioning joint efforts to address threats to international peace and security due to proliferation of weapons for mass destruction and their means of delivery. In accordance with this resolution, the Government of the Republic of Serbia adopted a National Action Plan for its implementation; also, a Working Group for its implementation was formed, chaired by the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The procedure for the adoption of the National Strategy for the Prevention of Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction is underway.

The Republic of Serbia is one of 193 State Parties to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). This international organisation with its seat in The Hague is responsible for the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), with the aim of permanent elimination of such type of weapons for mass destruction in the world. More on the OPCW and the CWC at: https://www.opcw.org/. The Republic of Serbia joined the CWC in 2000. In accordance with obligations under the CWC, the Law on the Prohibition of the DevelopmentProduction, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction (Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia, No. 36 of 15 May 2009, No. 104 of 27 November 2013) was adopted. The Commission of the Republic of Serbia for the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention coordinates the work of the competent authorities for the fulfilment of obligations under the Convention, and co-operates with the OPCW bodies in The Hague. The Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia in The Hague is the country’s Permanent Representative to the OPCW (https://www.opcw.org/about-us/member-states/serbia).

Since 2007, the Republic of Serbia has actively participated in the work of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, whose key objectives are to enhance security of civilian nuclear facilities; improve the ability to detect nuclear and other radioactive materials and substances in order to prevent illicit trafficking in such materials and substances; improve capabilities of participants to search for, confiscate, and establish safe control over unlawfully held nuclear or other radioactive materials and substances or devices using them.

The Republic of Serbia joined in 2006 the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), with the objective of creating a global network for the coordination of states involved for preventing the proliferation of weapons for mass destruction.

The Republic of Serbia regularly submits annual reports on Confidence Building Measures (CBM) related with the implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction, as well as information on the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1540. Furthermore, when activities in the non-proliferation field are in question, the Republic of Serbia signed and ratified the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, as well as the Amendments to the Convention.

 

4. Agreement on Sub-regional Arms Control

The Republic of Serbia — as the legal successor of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, i.e. the subsequent state union of Serbia and Montenegro — significantly contributed to the adoption and the implementation of the Agreement on Sub-regional Arms Control, thus confirming its commitment to regional co-operation in such an essential and sensitive area that is arms control. The Agreement was signed in Florence on 14 June 1996, in accordance with Article IV Annex 1-B of the Dayton-Paris General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Agreement defines limits for each of the parties, i.e. numerical limit for five weapons categories as defined in the Agreement: Tanks, artillery (75 mm and above), armoured vehicles, military aircraft and helicopters. Furthermore, the Agreement defines mechanisms and procedures for decrease in the number of weapons to the agreed level for establishing and maintaining military balance in the region. This Agreement however does not relate to the quality and upgrading of weapons; thus, in this respect, the parties have the possibility to undertake measures, within the foreseen limits and agreed procedures, they deem necessary for the modernisation of their armed forces. The obligations and rights under the Agreement are legally binding. As a result of a responsible and consistent approach to its implementation, but also achieved high level of total capacity for its independent implementation, the Parties officially initiated in 2010, with the support of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office for Article IV, Annex 1-B, as well as the members of the Contact Group, the process of ownership transfer to the Parties, which was formally completed by signing the Amendments on 18 December 2014.

List of Conventions and International Treaties in the arms control field ratified by the Republic of Serbia:

  • Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)
  • The Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare / the Geneva Protocol 1925 (Law on withdrawing reservations to the Protocol adopted in May 2009)
  • Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)
  •  Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BТWC)
  • Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)
  • Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM)
  • Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism
  •  Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)
  • Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident
  • Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency
  • 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 – the so-called Inhumane Weapons (CCW)
  • Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (Ottawa Treaty)
  • Regional Plan 2001 – Stability Pact
  • Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (UN PoA SALW)
  • Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition (Firearms Protocol), supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UN FP)
  • The Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCoC)
  • The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) (Serbia and Montenegro unilaterally accepted in February 2004 to observe the MTCR Document: Equipment, Software and Technology, as of 30 May 2003, and Guidelines for Sensitive Missile-Relevant Transfers as of 7 January 1993)
  • Agreement on Sub-Regional Arms Control/ Florence 1996
  • Vienna Document, Confidence- and Security- Building Measures (CSBM)
  • OSCE Document on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW), as well as other relevant OSCE decisions in this field on: Storage of conventional weapons; Man-portable air-defence systems (MANPADS); End user certificate; Arms Brokering Controls, etc.

List of states, organisations and other entities under the sanctions regime in accordance with the relevant resolutions adopted by the United Nations Security Council.