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ARMENIA, Landmine Monitor Report 1999


Armenia and Azerbaijan engaged in conflict over the Nagorny-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan from 1988 to 1994. Nagorny-Karabakh is an autonomous region of western Azerbaijan but the majority of the inhabitants are Armenian. As a result of the conflict, there are an estimated 100,000 landmines in the disputed region of Nagorny-Karabakh.[1] In addition, some 6,000-8,000 landmines are estimated to lay along the Armenian-Azeri border.[2] Also, the U.S. State Department reported in 1993 that there were unknown quantities of landmines along Armenia’s borders with Turkey and Iran.[3]

Armenia has not signed the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. Armenia attended the treaty preparatory meetings, but did not endorse the pro-treaty Brussels Declaration in June 1997 and did not attend the Oslo negotiations in September. It came to the treaty signing conference in Ottawa in December as an observer. It voted in favor of the pro-ban 1996, 1997, and 1998 UN General Assembly resolutions. At the treaty signing conference the Armenian delegation stated: “Notwithstanding its security considerations, Armenia nevertheless believes that the human and social costs of antipersonnel landmines far outweigh their military significance.... Armenia supports the Convention, and is ready to take measures consistent with the provisions of the treaty.... Armenia’s full participation in the Convention is contingent upon a similar level of political commitment by other parties in the region to adhere to the treaty and comply with its regime.”[4] Armenia has made it clear that it will not sign unless Azerbaijan agrees to do so.[5]

Armenia is not a party to the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW). Armenia has expressed its belief that the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva is the central forum for negotiating a global ban on mines, even though it is not a member of the CD.[6]

Armenian nongovernmental organizations established the Armenian Committee of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines in January 1999.

Armenia is not believed to be a landmine producer or exporter of antipersonnel mines, though it has no formal restrictions on production or trade in place. During the first stage of the conflict, in 1989-1990, Armenians widely used homemade mines. Subsequently, Armenians apparently acquired Soviet antipersonnel mines, possibly as a result of the 15 May 1992 Tashkent agreement under which Russia transferred weapons to the former Soviet republics.

Armenia is not known to have contributed to international mine action programs. Armenia inherited Soviet equipment which could be used for mine clearance.[7] In 1994, the U.S. State Department indicated that there were approximately five to ten casualties per year in Armenia due to landmines.[8] Armenia received a total of $1.15 million in 1993 and 1994 through the U.S. Leahy War Victims Fund for the provision of prosthetics to amputees.[9] A prosthetic workshop had already been put in place in Armenia after the 1989 earthquake. It is estimated that between 300-500 people per year since 1989 received a prosthetic, about half of whom had suffered war related injuries.[10]


[1] U.S. Department of State, Hidden Killers, September 1998, p. A1.

[2] Felix Corley, “Landmine Use Now Set to Continue,” Jane’s Intelligence Review - Pointer, Vol. 5, No. 1, 1 January 1998, p. 2.

[3] U.S. Department of State, Hidden Killers, July 1993, p. 48.

[4] Statement by the Armenian Delegation at the Treaty Signing Conference and Mine Action Forum, Ottawa, 4 December 1997.

[5] Felix Corley, “Landmine Use Now Set to Continue,” Jane’s Intelligence Review - Pointer, Vol. 5, No. 1, 1 January 1998, p. 2. See also: “Armenia Reluctant to Ban Landmines,” RFE/RL Newsline, 18 November 1997.

[6] Ibid.

[7]U.S. Department of State, Hidden Killers, July 1993, p. 48.

[8]U.S. Department of State, Hidden Killers, December 1994, p. 24..

[9] Portfolio Synopsis: Patrick J. Leahy War Victims Fund, United States Agency for International Development, October 1997.

[10] Telephone interview with Allen Randlov, former Director of the War Victims Fund, 15 March 1999.