Demilitarization, Counter-proliferation and Increased Safety and Security of Ammunition Stockpiles


Weapons destruction

The rate of accidents at munitions storage sites rose to unprecedented levels in 2011 and, according to the UN International Ammunition Technical Guidelines, Eastern Europe is an area of particular concern due to the significant existing surpluses, many of which are well past their safe storage life.

In 2006, as a result of an explosion at Paraćin ammunition depot, 1,300 tones of ammunition were lost and 80,000 Unexploded Ordinances (USOs) needed to be secured. The explosion injured 20 civilians and devastated a large area of land rendering it unfit for development.

Highlights

  • SEESAC supported destruction of over 110,000 small arms and light weapons in Serbia since 2002
  • Through CASM project, disposal of approximately 1,133 tonnes of white phosphorus filled ammunitions and 175 tonnes of napalm powder has been initiated

“12 elementary and high schools were damaged in Paraćin and Ćuprija as a result of the explosion in Paraćin ammunition depot”-  explained Minister of education and sport Slobadan Vuksanović.

In 2011, the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Serbia requested the assistance of UNDP and OSCE in improving its capacity for managing conventional ammunition stockpiles. It was agreed that this goal can be reached by enhancing security and safety of conventional ammunition storage facilities, disposing of surplus ammunition and strengthening demilitarization capacities of the Ministry of Defence.

Subsequently, using their in-house expertise, UNDP and OSCE conducted an assessment mission which identified key needs and defined distinct components of a joint project – the Capacity Development Programme for Conventional Ammunition Stockpile Management for the Republic of Serbia (CASM). Preventing incidents such as that in Paraćin was one of the key goals of CASM.

Inadequately stored and to a large degree unstable conventional ammunitions have been a particular bane for the Ministry of Defence especially after the NATO bombing when a significant portion of storage location were destroyed and ammunition left under the open skies. With CASM program in place, approximately 175 tonnes of napalm powder are currently being shipped out of the country and will be destroyed in a matter of days, that way increasing the safety and security of our citizens.

By the end of the project, it is planed that some 1,133 tonnes of white phosphorus filled ammunitions and 175 tonnes of napalm powder will be disposed of, infrastructure of the ammunition storage areas and capacity of the ammunition management systems in Mrsać and Mirnička Reka will be developed, and demilitarization capacity of the TRZ Kragujevac facility will be improved so to be able to better contribute to future demilitarization efforts.