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Last Updated: 01 September 2014

Mine Action

Contamination and Impact

Kosovo is contaminated by landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW), including cluster munition remnants, primarily as a result of the conflict between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) and the Kosovo Liberation Army in the late 1990s and the conflict between the FRY and NATO in 1999.

The UN reported in 2002 that “the problems associated with landmines, cluster munitions and other items of unexploded ordnance in Kosovo have been virtually eliminated”[1] but further investigation revealed considerably more contamination.[2] A survey of Kosovo by the Kosovo Mine Action Centre (KMAC) and HALO Trust completed in 2013 identified 130 confirmed hazardous areas (CHAs) covering 10.36km2.[3]

Mines are found mainly on Kosovo’s borders with Albania and Macedonia but also in the area of the Dulie Pass in south central Kosovo.[4] The KMAC-HALO survey confirmed 79 mined areas covering 2.76km2, a significantly greater number of areas than the total of 48 CHAs and suspected hazardous areas (SHAs) identified at the end of 2012.[5]

Mine Action Program

In January 2011, the EOD [Explosive Ordnance Disposal] Coordination Management Section became KMAC under the Ministry of the Kosovo Security Force (KSF). KMAC is responsible for managing all mine action, including clearance of mines and ERW. It prepares an annual workplan in cooperation with demining NGOs and coordinates operations of both NGOs and the Kosovo Protection Force (KFOR).[6]

Three NGOs have supported mine action in Kosovo in recent years: HALO, the Bosnia-based Mine Detection Dog Centre (MDDC), and Mines Awareness Trust (MAT).

Land Release

Kosovo released a total of 0.4km2 of contaminated area in 2013, less than half the land released in 2012, reflecting a downturn in donor funding. Owing to lack of funding, the MDDC and MAT did not conduct any clearance in 2013.[7]

HALO, working with five clearance teams and 71 operations staff, reported clearing 0.11km2 of mined area, destroying 18 antipersonnel mines and six items of unexploded ordnance (UXO), and also clearing 0.17km2 of area contaminated by cluster munitions, destroying 151 submunitions. The total area cleared by HALO was more than 50% above the previous year’s result but its ability to sustain operations at this level in 2014 depended on its ability to attract funding.[8]

Mine and cluster munition remnants clearance in 2013[9]


Area cleared (m2)

Antipersonnel mines destroyed

Antivehicle mines destroyed

Submunitions destroyed

UXO destroyed

























KSF EOD operated with three platoons with a total of 75 deminers also trained for battle area clearance (BAC), and a fourth platoon with 25 deminers also trained for EOD who conduct both area clearance and spot EOD tasks. It cleared almost one-third less area in 2013 than the previous year but destroyed more submunitions and UXO.[10]

Article 5 Compliance

Although widely but not universally recognized as an independent state, Kosovo arguably still falls within Serbia’s obligations as a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty (see report on Serbia). This means that clearance of mined areas containing antipersonnel mines must be completed by 1 March 2019, following a five-year extension granted to Serbia by States Parties in 2013. Kosovo is not a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty.

Support for Mine Action

KMAC operates with a budget of approximately €900,000 (US$1.23 million) a year and hoped that completion of the survey of Kosovo to define remaining contamination would encourage donors to increase support.[11] HALO, KMAC’s partner in the survey and the biggest NGO operator, was also seeking new donors after support by Belgium representing close to half its total 2013 funding of €480,097 (US$657,733) ended in 2013, leaving it funded only by Switzerland.[12]


[1] “UNMIK [UN Mission in Kosovo] Mine Action Programme Annual Report – 2001,” Mine Action Coordination Cell, Pristina, undated but 2002, p. 1.

[2] HALO Trust, “Failing the Kosovars: The Hidden Impact and Threat from ERW,” 15 December 2006, p. 1.

[3] Email from Ahmet Sallova, Head, KMAC, 20 February 2014.

[4] Ibid., 30 July 2013.

[5] Ibid., 20 February 2014.

[6] Ibid., 1 August 2012.

[7] Ibid., 20 February 2014.

[8] Email from Andrew Moore, Caucasus and Balkans Desk Officer, HALO Trust, 27 February 2014.

[9] Email from Ahmet Sallova, KMAC, 20 February 2014.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Email from Andrew Moore, HALO, 27 February 2014.