Liechtenstein bans direct and indirect investments in cluster munitions

On 1 September 2013 a ban on direct and indirect investments in cluster munitions came into effect in Liechtenstein. This comes on the same day as the Principality of Liechtenstein became a State Party to the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), following its accession to the Convention on 4 March 2013, and a mandated 6 month period until the comprehensive ban on cluster munitions entered into force in Liechtenstein. The country has included a prohibition on investments in cluster munitions in its implementation legislation, making Liechtenstein the ninth country in the world to ban financial investments in cluster bombs by law.

“The Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) welcomes that Liechtenstein has taken the step to prohibit investments in cluster munitions and we hope this encourages other countries to follow suit” said Amy Little, Campaign Manager at the CMC. “We are delighted that Liechtenstein joins a growing group of countries committed not only to ending the use, production, transfer and stockpile of cluster munitions, but also to banning financial support for the production of these inhumane weapons”.

Liechtenstein amended its Law on War Materiel, which includes a prohibition on direct and indirect investments in the development, manufacturing, or acquisition of forbidden “war material”, including cluster munitions. The legislation states that it is forbidden to directly offer credits, loans and donations or comparable financial benefits in this regard. Indirect investments are forbidden “if the intention is to bypass the prohibition on direct financing”. Indirect financing is further described as “the participation in companies that develop, manufacture or acquire forbidden war material as well as the purchase of bonds or other investments products issued by such companies.”

The news that Liechtenstein has banned financial investments in cluster munitions comes in advance of an international meeting on Cluster Munitions that will take place in Lusaka, Zambia from 9-13 September. Over 100 countries will gather to discuss plans for implementing the historical humanitarian convention.

The CMC, and a growing group of countries, believe that the Convention on Cluster Munitions’ prohibition on assistance in the development and production of cluster munitions also includes a prohibition on investments in cluster munitions. The CMC and its Stop Explosive Investments campaign call on all states to explicitly acknowledge that the Convention on Cluster Munitions prohibits investments in producers of cluster munitions and to install national legislation to this end.

To date nine countrieshave legislation in place that bans (forms of) investments in cluster munitions: Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Samoa and Switzerland. Another 26 states have made interpretive statements that indicate that they consider investments in cluster munitions to be prohibited.