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Country Reports
YUGOSLAVIA1, Landmine Monitor Report 1999



The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) was established after the disintegration of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). The FRY consists of two Republics: Serbia and Montenegro. The Republic of Serbia has two autonomous provinces, Kosovo and Vojvodina, which are administratively part of the Republic of Serbia. Serbia has a mixed ethnic population of which a small percentage is Albanian, but most of the population in Kosovo is ethnic Albanian. The FRY has been involved in armed conflict in one way or another almost since the disintegration of the SFRY. Currently, fighting is taking place between the FRY and the Kosovo Liberation Army. Antipersonnel landmines are being used in the conflict.

Mine Ban Policy

The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has not signed the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. The only official statement about the Treaty was given by the Deputy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs in March 1998 at the Budapest regional conference on antipersonnel landmines for countries from the Baltic and Balkan regions. The Deputy Minister said that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has not signed or ratified any international conventions or documents since 1992, when it was officially suspended from the United Nations. Since then, the government has not participated in international treaty negotiations, although it did attend meetings of the Ottawa Process as an observer, and it has no intention of signing or ratifying the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty.

Probably the primary reason that the FRY has stayed outside the Mine Ban Treaty is the attitude of the Yugoslav military toward APMs. One of the landmine experts on the General Staff of the Yugoslav Military outlined their simple point of view: “Considering the fact that Yugoslav military doctrine is primarily defensive, antipersonnel and antitank landmines have a very important place in our defensive system.”[2]

But not all share this view, Colonel Dr. Miodrag Starcevic (retired), currently a professor at the Yugoslav School of National Defense, said that “antipersonnel landmines lost their military importance; that is why FRY has to rethink its attitude toward the Ottawa Convention.”[3] There has been no response to this view either from the government or the Ministry of Defense. Nor has there been any reaction to two public protests held on 3 and 4 December 1997 in Belgrade. These protests, organized by the NGO “The Women in Black” to mark the signing conference of the Treaty in Ottawa, called on the FRY to stop producing landmines and to join the countries that have signed the Mine Ban Treaty.[4]

But there has been no movement in government policy, despite the pressure from the Yugoslav Campaign to Ban landmines, the Yugoslav Red Cross and other NGOs in support of the Mine Ban Treaty. In researching this report, the Yugoslav Campaign had a difficult time in establishing contact with the Yugoslav Army and Ministry of Defense to gather information about landmines. Almost all questions regarding the production, stockpiling, transfer and use of landmines were declared to be “military top secret” by the Army and Ministry of Defense. Even those officers who were open to talking with the Yugoslav Campaign have asked not to be named in this report.

The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) signed and ratified the CCW and its Protocol II on mines on 1 April 1982. Because the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia wants to be recognized as the legal successor of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the CCW has become part of Yugoslav national legislation. The FRY has not ratified revised Protocol II.


Even before the Second World War, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia produced antipersonnel landmines. After that time, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was one of the top ten producers in the world, producing the following types of antipersonnel landmines:

- PMD-1 wooden-box mine (similar to the Russian PMD-6);

- PMR-1 (1) fragmentation mine (similar to the Russian POMZ-2M but has nine instead of five rows of fragments);

- PMR-2 fragmentation mine (similar to the Czech PP-Mi-Sb);

- PMR-2A fragmentation mine (equivalent of the Russian POMZ-2 and Czech PP-Mi-Sb stake lines);

- PMA-1 (2) non-magnetic mine;

- PMA-2 non-magnetic mine;

- PMA-3 non-magnetic mine;

- PROM-1 (3) bouncing mine;

- PROM-2 (4) bouncing mine;

- MRUD-1 (5) directional fragmentation mine (Claymore-type mine).

The SFRJ also produced these types of antitank mines: TMA-1, TMA-2, TMA-3, TMA-4, TMA-5, TMA-5A, TMD-1, TMM-1, TMRP-6. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia currently produces the TMRP-6.

The General Staff officer referenced above, Colonel Dusan Stanizan described Yugoslav mine layers -- armed vehicles which contain four to eight containers, each of which has fifteen to thirty cassettes with six to eight antipersonnel mines.[5] The Yugoslav mine layer is likely a design based on the Russian type UMZ system, but evidence to confirm the supposition was not available. It is also believed that helicopters can also be used for dropping containers with antipersonnel mines. Stanizan also noted that multiple rocket launchers with a cassette warhead can be used for delivering landmines. One type of multiple rocket launcher he mentioned is the “Orkan,” with a caliber of 262mm and a range of 50 km.[6]

The information about types of landmines that were produced in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was provided by a retired colonel, a former engineer who until three years ago was one of the managers in the Yugoslav military industry. This information was confirmed by General-Colonel Ilija Radakovic (ret.). General Radakovic was one of the top four officers in the Yugoslav People’s Army (Army of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) and was manager of the military sector for armament, equipping and supplying of logistical support.

The General said that the production of the antipersonnel landmines in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was substantial. He thinks that the SFRY produced several tens of millions of APMs. The main factory for production of antipersonnel landmines in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was in the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and was called “Slavko Rodic,” located in the town of Bugojno.[7]

An official from the Ministry of Defense said that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was producing antipersonnel landmines until several years ago. The FRY was producing all types that were already specified in the previous passage regarding production in the SFRY, (except the one from the first generation), in the military factory “Miloje Zakic” in the town of Krusevac.[8]

According to both the government and others, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has now stopped producing antipersonnel landmines. The un-named retired colonel cited above thinks that the FRY stopped production of antipersonnel landmines in 1992. In his opinion the reason is the existence of the Mine Ban Treaty, even though the FRY has not signed. General Radakovic has quite a different opinion about the reasons for stopping production.[9] He thinks that production continued for several years after 1992 in the “Miloje Zakic” factory, and maybe in some other factory. He believes the main reason that the FRY continued the production of antipersonnel landmines was to send large quantities to the Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina; he stated the ex-commandant of the Republika Srpska Army, General Ratko Mladic, closed the border with Bosnia using a large number of antipersonnel landmines. General Radakovic thinks that the other reason that production of APMs has stopped is that the Yugoslav military industry is suffering from an economic crisis. Export of arms and military equipment has stopped because of economic sanctions against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia by the United Nations.

Though there is not concrete evidence, it is possible that the Kosovo Liberation Army has started to produce explosive ordnance, such as crude mines and improvised explosive devices.


While the military sources for this report confirm that the SFRY was a big exporter of antipersonnel landmines, concrete information about where mines were exported, the quantities of APMs exported to the other countries, the costs of exported antipersonnel landmines, their types, etc, is not available. Most sources believe that the SFRY mostly exported large quantities (millions) of antipersonnel and antitank mines to the “countries of the third world,” such as Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq. General Radakovic thinks that the FRY exported antipersonnel landmines only to the Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina, during the war 1992-1995 until the Dayton Peace Accords. After that, exports of APMs stopped. One source from the Ministry of Defense claims that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has stopped the export of antipersonnel landmines, as well as their production.[10]

According to General Radakovic, neither the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, nor the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia ever imported antipersonnel landmines, because Yugoslavia always had its own well developed industry and production of antipersonnel landmines.

It has been alleged that the Kosovo Liberation Army is importing arms from Albania. Border troops of the Yugoslav Army have confiscated various types of arms from Albanian groups. The magazine of the Yugoslav Army published various lists of arms the Yugoslav Army has confiscated from the Albanian groups, but has never mentioned antipersonnel or antitank landmines. While the Ministry of Defense claims the KLA is importing or smuggling mines from Albania, there is no hard evidence.[11]


Official sources from the Ministry of Defense declared that all information about stockpiling of antipersonnel landmines is a “military top secret.” This source told us that the Yugoslav Army has enough antipersonnel landmines in stocks for Yugoslavia’s needs.[12] General Radakovic says that stockpiles contain a large number of antipersonnel landmines, which are stocked at the brigade, battalion and troop levels. All stocks are well secured. Radakovic thinks that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia at this moment has probably several million APMs in stock.[13] While there is no hard evidence, the KLA may have stocks of antipersonnel landmines and/or improvised explosive devices in areas of Kosovo under their control.


The Yugoslav Army planted combined antipersonnel and antitank minefields on the northern Yugoslav border. Minefields had been planted near a community called Sid, mostly on the left bank of Bosut River. In September 1997 a delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross said: “There are not a lot of mines in Yugoslavia. Mines are planted only at the area of the town, Sid. We are working together with the Yugoslav Red Cross on the mine awareness program for people who go fishing in the areas which are not safe.”[14] A source in the Ministry of Defense claims that these minefields are marked according to the standards set by amended Protocol II. Military officials claim that the maps and records of these minefields are known only to the Yugoslav Army. In 1997 the FRY refused the proposal of the administrator of East Slavonia, West Srem and Baranja, Mr. Jacques Klein that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Republic of Croatia should demilitarize the border area and fifteen kilometers into their territories.

In the Yugoslav republic of Montenegro, the peninsula of Prevlaka, which is also the southern Yugoslav-Croatian border, is full of antipersonnel landmines. This peninsula is still under the control of international peace-keeping forces.

There is much evidence that antipersonnel landmines are being used in Kosovo. While there has not been official confirmation from the Ministry of Defense, there are many claims that the Yugoslav Army planted antipersonnel landmines along the border with Albania and with the Republic of Macedonia. According to information from several local NGOs run by Kosovo Albanians,[15] mines are planted from the Yugoslav side of the border, both with Albania in the area of Djakovica toward the border and the town Junik (close to the Albanian border) and with the Republic of Macedonia, near Jazince (close to the Macedonian border.) The government claims that the illegal crossing of Albanians into the Yugoslav territory ranges between several individuals to two hundred people daily and that these people bring all kinds of weapons, including antipersonnel landmines into the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. [16]

International organizations working in Kosovo provided very precise information about the use of antipersonnel and antitank landmines inside the territory of Kosovo. These included the UNHCR office in Pristine and the Kosovo Verification Mission, Mine Action and Information Center in Pristine.[17] British Army officer, Capt. Rupert Burridge, acting in Kosovo Verification Mission, Mine Action and Information Center, provided a document entitled “Summary of Mine/UXO/ /Booby Trap Reports” in Kosovo. The report includes some 55 incidents from August 1998 through early February of 1999. Some reports are verified and some are unconfirmed.

Examples of the incidents include the following:

August 1998: At the road from Stimlje to Suva Reka, six mined charges were located in culvert. They were cleared by detonation. Also verified reports of mining along tracks from Bukos to Budakovo, South East of Suva Reka.

14 September 1998: Kosovo Diplomatic Observer Mission armored vehicle was destroyed, when it detonated an antitank mine buried in the gravel road between Likovac and Pluzina.

25 September 1998: A soft skinned Serbian Police vehicle was destroyed when it detonated something on a gravel track between Likovac and Gornje Obrinje. Five men were killed.

30 September 1998: A soft skinned ICRC vehicle was destroyed when it detonated something on a gravel track between Likovac and Gornje Obrinje. One dead, two injured.

20 October 1998: DAT personnel have seen one booby -trapped antipersonnel landmine in a school north of main road in Bajgora. Factory in Bajgora is also been reported unsafe. In Bajgora two children were injured in a house when they picked up booby -trapped pen.

27 October 1998: Minefields of antipersonnel landmines and antitank mines have been reported on both sides of the road and both sides of the border with Albania. ( Border crossing West of Morina).

12 November 1998: UNHCR report that villages Hulaj , Pobergje, Voksh, have been reported as mined. Some villagers report they suspect there are mines nearby the main Peja- Decane road. At the same day UNHCR reported that the boy found a grenade in a pile of straw in village of Babaloc. UNHCR also reported that in Drenovac Police throw non-exploded grenade. UNHCR also reported that in a village Gramacel a boy found mine in a school yard. Also mine was found in the corridor of the school building. The school is now reported as cleared downstairs.

17 November 1998: PSF report an antitank mine under some pallets in the middle of the yard of a building material company, (two hundred yards from the Health Center) at the place called Malisevo.

17 November 1998: Kosovo Liberation Army reported two antipersonnel landmines two hundred meters from the Malisevo-Orahovac road.

18 November 1998: Kosovo Liberation Army reported that road Zociste-Retimlje-Opterusa is mined.

28 November 1998: UNHCR convoy leader was informed that the school and two houses in the village Lipljan were mined.[18]

Victims of the landmines have been civilians, members of Kosovo Liberation Army and Serbs. It appears that mines and explosive devices are used by both sides. Antitank mines are much more present than antipersonnel landmines inside the Kosovo territory. There are more victims stricken by antitank mines than antipersonnel landmines. Apparently inside Kosovo territory there are no big concentrations of antipersonnel landmines. Otherwise, such minefields covered by antipersonnel landmines would be reported to the Mine Action and Information Center. Finally, there are lot of improvised explosive devices and home-made explosive devices which can be a serious threat especially to the civilians, particularly children.

Landmine Problem

Yugoslavia has a mine problem, particularly the southern part of the country is mined and UXO affected. It is believed that the Yugoslav Military and Police have some records of mined areas. Documentation of minefields in Vojvodina and Montenegro is known only to the Yugoslav Army. The Kosovo Verification Mission, particularly the Mine Action and Information Center in Pristine, has the most valuable documentation of mined areas.

It would be very hard to give precise data about types of mine-affected land in Yugoslavia. As already noted, areas along the borders between Yugoslavia and Croatia, in the north and south, and along borders between Yugoslavia and Albania, and Yugoslavia and Macedonia are the most mine-affected. Only the Yugoslav Army has information about how many kilometers of the border areas are mined.

Within Kosovo, the most affected areas are roads. The second most affected areas populated areas, particularly houses and schools. The third are forests. It would be very difficult to determine the actual amount of mine-affected land. With the unstable situation in Kosovo, changing from day to day, this level of detail is not impossible.

The FRY has not started any mine clearance on its territory. There are antipersonnel and antitank minefields along the border between FRY and Croatia, despite the Dayton Agreement. The political situation in Kosovo is much more complicated so Yugoslav authorities are not likely to be prepared to clear minefields planted at the border. However, it is more likely that Yugoslav Army engineer units are going to clear roads and minefields inside the territory of Kosovo for their own benefit.

Mine Awareness

The mine awareness program in the SFRY was well prepared as it was seen as an important element of Yugoslav military doctrine. One of the main postulates of this doctrine was: “We are living as if the peace in the world will last for thousands of years, but we are prepared in case war starts tomorrow.” Thus, the SFRY had a well-developed educational program for the population. Not only mine awareness, but also preparedness in case of a nuclear attack or from other types of modern weapons.

In secondary schools and universities everyone had to take a course called “General National Defense and Social Self-Protection.” Working people received similar training at their workplace; the unemployed, children and pensioners took these courses in their communities. These courses were handled by medical staff who had received special training. The last such course for medical staff was in 1988 at ten places in the SFRY. Over two thousand medical personnel were prepared to educate people over the entire territory of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. According to Dr. Nikola Bogunovic, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has never organized such mine awareness programs for the general population.[19]

UNICEF is organizing a large mine awareness campaign for primary school children in Kosovo, and their teachers and parents. Educational material has already been prepared and will be distributed to all primary schools and local health ambulances in Kosovo. The materials consist of fliers in Albanian (100,000 copies), in Serbian (15,000 copies) and 15,000 posters in Albanian and 1,500 in Serbian. “The fliers and posters are designed to be understandable to the youngest population. Priority in designing this material is to teach children how to properly react when they see landmine, not to frighten them by landmines and other explosive devices,” according to Svetlana Marojevic from the Belgrade office of UNICEF.

These materials will be distributed to teachers who will use them to educate school children and their parents how to protect themselves from landmines and other explosive devices. UNICEF, UNHCR, the Yugoslav Red Cross, and Norwegian People’s Aid will participate in the distribution. The budget for this campaign is US$60,000.[20] The Yugoslav Campaign is planing to join this campaign by printing and distributing a primer about landmines. Some 500 copies of the primer have already been printed in Serbian and will also be printed in Albanian. The primer contains basic information about technical characteristics of APMs and their effects, a history of the movement to ban landmines, and international documents that restrict and ban antipersonnel mines.

Landmine Casualties

In the period from 1991 to 1995 the FRY took complete care of approximately six hundred landmine victims injured in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.[21] Nobody has precise statistics. Dr. Nikola Bogunovic, vice manager of the Yugoslav Health Institute,[22] reported twelve persons in 1997 with landmine injuries. In 1998 when armed conflict in Kosovo became more serious, there were ten injured and twenty dead; by mid-March in 1999, thirteen landmine casualties were reported.

Some examples include: in September 1998 in Kosovo six men died and two were injured by antitank mines; in October 1998 in Kosovo eleven men died and one was injured by landmines; in November 1998 in Kosovo three men died and seven men were wounded by landmines and improvised explosive ordnance; and in January 1999 in Kosovo eleven men were injured by antitank landmines.

Survivor Assistance

The FRY took care of six hundred landmine victims during the war in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.[23] The government provided complete surgical treatment and hospitalization; full rehabilitation, both physical and psychological, and all necessary prosthetic and mobility devices for all these victims. The government also started a program for the social and economic reintegration of landmine survivors. Fabrication of prosthetics and mobility devices in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is very expensive; one prosthesis costs approximately two thousand US dollars. All materials for the fabrication of prosthetics in the FRY must be imported. Continued assistance for landmine victims became a big problem for the government, particularly for the Ministry of Health. Assistance for mine victim programs was provided by Handicap International and the ICRC in 1991 and 1992.[24]

The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, despite its economic and social problems has very developed surgical and rehabilitation services for landmine victims, as well as reintegration services for landmine victims. Medical infrastructure throughout the country has been able to provide treatment within three hours. For example, towns in Kosovo and Metohia, with populations of at least 5,000, are covered by health ambulance services which provide basic first aid and transport to hospitals. With the conflict, some parts of the region are not as accessible as before.

But all landmine and UXO victims from Kosovo receive necessary surgical treatment in hospitals in Kosovo. For example all wounded policemen received surgical treatment in Pec’s General Hospital. Surgical capacities in Kosovo are six hundred and nineteen beds for patients. Orthopedic capacities are two hundred and fifty-three beds.

In the FRY there are several Health Clinic Centers which all have both surgical and orthopedic capabilities. The Military Health Academy Institute, in Belgrade, is well known for its surgical and orthopedic specialties. Beside the Clinic Centers of Serbia and the Military Health Academy, Belgrade has several clinics with surgical and orthopedic capacities. “Health security” is free so every citizen of the FRY can have completely free treatment in any of these hospitals, both surgical and orthopedic. All landmine patients from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia had received surgical and orthopedics treatment in Belgrade’s Clinics.

The Institute of Orthopedic Prosthetics is located in Belgrade.[25] This is the only institution in the FRY that can provide full treatment for landmine victims, including an orthopedic wing, a rehabilitation wing, capacity for production of prosthetics and programs for reintegration in society. For all landmine victims from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, this institution provided their temporary and then first permanent prosthetics. In the FRY there are other institutions which have capacities for prosthetics production in Nis, Novi Sad and Podgorica. Their area of operations covers the entire territory of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In addition to all rehabilitative treatment, all patients who have health security are entitled to receive their first and second permanent prosthetics and all other mobility devices for free.

One problem is that all amputees must wait for three years before receiving a replacement prosthesis after having received the first permanent device. According to the chief prosthetist at the Institute of Orthopedic Prosthetics, this regulation should be changed. The needs of younger patients, for example, are not the same as older, more sedentary people. Another problem is the lack of financial resources for the production of prostheses because of the economic crisis. 2[6]

The FRY has seventeen rehabilitation centers, but none are located in Kosovo.[27] Landmine survivors, during their rehabilitation process, are provided skills training in state factories and companies for work compatible with their disability. But this program is not functioning very well because of economic crisis so most landmine survivors are left to the care of their families.[28]

There is also private fund named “Kapetan Dragan” which has a program to educate the disabled to work on computers. But after finishing the course, it has been very hard for these people to find jobs.[29] Most of the landmine survivors are receiving disability pensions, but all the pensions in FRY are very low, so it is very difficult for a person to live only on the pension.

Since 1996, the Republic of Serbia has had a disability law, the “Law of Qualifying for Work and Employing Invalids.”



[1]Yugoslav Telegraph Agency’s called Tanjug report, 20 February 1999.

[2]Colonel Dusan Stanizan, “Mines: Weapon without Aim,” Novi glasnik, March/April 1996.

[3]Bojana Oprijan Ilic, “How to extract the seeds of evil,” Nasa Borba, 18 and 19 July 1998.

[4]The NGO “ The Women in Black” is a humanitarian organization and was founded in Belgrade in 1992. The primary work of this organization is public agitating against the war in parts of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

[5]Stanizan, “Weapons without Aim.”


[7]Interview with General Ilija Radakovic, Belgrade, 15 December 1998.

[8]Interview with source from Ministry of Defense with the previous Yugoslav Campaign co-ordinator Aleksandar Resanovic, Belgrade, September 1998.

[9]Interview with Radakovic.

[10]Interview with source from Ministry of Defense.

[11]Interview with source from the Ministry of Defense.


[13]Interview with Radakovic, 7 January 1999.

[14]Ljiljana Gojic, “Evil shadows of the war”, Nasa Borba 30 September 1997.

[15]Information on mining was provided by Dr. Vojsa Dobruna, Center for protection of Woman and Children; Aferdita Saracini Kelmendi, Radio 21; Pajazit Nussi, Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms in Pristine.

[16]Interview with source from the Ministry of Defense.

[17]Interview with John Campbell, security advisor, UNHCR, Pristine; Captain Rupert Burridge, Kosovo Verification Mission, Mine Action and Information Center, Pristine.

[18]Yugoslav Telegraph Agency’s called Tanjug report, 20 February 1999.

[19]Interview with Dr. Nikola Bogunovic.

[20]Interview with Svetlana Marojevic, UNICEF, 22 February 1999.

[21]Interview with Bogunovic; also interview with Savic and Jovanovic.

[22]Interview with Bogunovic.

[23]“The Serbian Republic of Krajina” was part of the Croatian territory under the control of ethnic Serbs. In this part of Croatia, Serbs were the biggest population. After Croatia declared its independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, ethnic Serbs in Croatia declared this particular part of Croatia as the “Serbian Republic of Krajina,” independent of the Croatian state. For several years they managed to control this part of Croatian territory.

[24]Interview with Dr. Nikola Bogunovic, Vice-Manager of the Yugoslav Health Institution, Belgrade, 15 January 1999; interview with prosthetics ward chief Ljubisa Jovanovic and technician chief Branko Savic from the Institute of Orthopedic Prosthetics, Belgrade, 29 January 1999.

[25]Interview with Ljubisa Jovanovic.

[26]Interview with Branko Savic and Ljubisa Jovanovic.

[27]Interview with Bogunovic.

[28]Interview with Jovanovic and Savic.

[29]Interview with Dragan Vasiljkovic, Director of the “Fund Captain Dragan,” Belgrade, 24 January 1999.