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Table of Contents
Country Reports
CZECH REPUBLIC, Landmine Monitor Report 2000
LM Report 2000 Full Report   Executive Summary   Key Findings   Key Developments   Translated Country Reports

CZECH REPUBLIC

Key developments since March 1999: The Czech Republic ratified the Mine Ban Treaty on 26 October 1999 and it entered into force on 1 April 2000. National implementation legislation was passed on 18 November 1999 and entered into force on 3 December 1999. The original timeline of 20 June 2001 to complete mine/UXO clearance will likely slip to the end of 2001. By the end of 1999, a total of 9,972 hectares of land and 2,022 buildings had been cleared in and around the two main former Soviet bases.

Mine Ban Policy

The Czech Republic signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997, and ratified it on 26 October 1999. The treaty entered into force for the Czech Republic on 1 April 2000.

National implementation legislation was passed on 18 November 1999 and entered into force on 3 December.[1] Additionally, the criminal code was amended to impose imprisonment of one to five years for violations of the law.[2] Relevant sections of the treaty have been incorporated in military regulations with a view to preventing possible violations, and are taught at military colleges and universities.[3]

The government participated in the First Meeting of State Parties in Mozambique in May 1999, with a delegation headed by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Martin Palous.[4] The government has participated in all the intersessional meetings of the Mine Ban Treaty.

In a statement at the General Assembly on 22 September 1999, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Kavan stated, "We support all efforts towards achieving a universal applicability to this Convention."[5] The government voted in favor of UN General Assembly resolutions supporting a ban on landmines in 1996, 1997, 1998 and in December 1999.

The country is a party to Amended Protocol II of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), and submitted its national annual report required under Article 13 on 25 October 1999.[6] The Czech Republic attended the First Conference of State Parties to Amended Protocol II in December 1999. At the Conference, the Secretary-General at the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs Zdenek Matejka noted that, among the steps taken to ensure national implementation, the CCW and Amended Protocol II have been incorporated in national legislation, and “the relevant provisions are integrated in military instructions and operating procedures.”[7]

In his comments at the CCW Conference, Secretary-General Matejka also noted that the Czech Republic continues to support all other fora, in particular the Conference on Disarmament, aiming toward a universalization of Protocol II and the Mine Ban Treaty.[8]

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Martin Palous, head of the Czech Delegation, had also stated this view at the FMSP in Maputo, where he said that “the Czech Republic has given lasting support to all other fora, in particular the Geneva Conference on Disarmament, that strive to involve all mine-producing States in the efforts to eliminate these lethal weapons. We are aware that such states may be able to cite sensible reasons for non-compliance; however, we are firm believers in the ability of the political process to overcome these obstacles in the near future, so that the Convention may become truly universal.”[9]

Declaration on Joint Operations with Non-Signatories of the MBT

With its ratification of the Mine Ban Treaty, the government deposited a declaration with which it seeks to protect its troops from prosecution for the “mere participation in the planning or execution of operations, exercises or other military activity,” where non-signatories use AP mines.[10] There is concern that the language of the declaration is so broad as to be inconsistent with the Mine Ban Treaty.[11]

Production

The former Czechoslovakia was a significant producer and exporter of antipersonnel mines, and the Czech Republic inherited the AP mine production facilities when the country divided into the Czech and Slovak Republics. According to the Czech government, production of antipersonnel mines was halted in 1990. The types of AP mines produced by Czechoslovak state factories and some of the countries to which they were exported are noted in the Landmine Monitor Report 1999.[12]

Two former producers of antipersonnel mines, POS Policka and Zeveta Bojkovice, both located in the province of Moravia, have now been converted to other types of production. POS Policka, near Uhersky Brod in southern Moravia, produced AP mines until 1989. About forty percent of its military production capacity has been converted to non-military programs (handles for petrol pumps), but it continues the production of antitank mines. Zeveta Bojkovice, near Usti nad Orlici in eastern Bohemia, also ceased production of antipersonnel mines in 1989. Sixty per cent of its military production capacity has been converted to non-military programs (spare parts for cars and other engineering production) while the rest of its capacity has been retained for the production of ammunition for small arms and light weapons.[13]

Regarding production of antivehicle mines with antihandling devices and other munitions that might function like antipersonnel mines, the Czech Foreign Ministry has made the following statement: "Under the terms of Article 2 of the Convention, Czech manufacturers produce and supply to the Army of the Czech Republic cargo projectiles with remotely-delivered antitank mines equipped with electronic anti-disturbance devices. There is no production of any other anti-handling devices or mines delivered by cargo projectiles."[14] Despite the above disclaimer, Czech stockpiles contain antivehicle mines of concern to the ICBL. (See below).

Transfer

The former Czechoslovakia was a significant exporter of AP mines. The Czech Republic imposed a moratorium on exports in October 1994, which was made indefinite in November 1997,[15] then was superseded by the Mine Ban Treaty.

Asked to clarify its position on the legality of another country transiting AP mines across Czech territory, officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the ban on transfers would apply also in the case of joint operations with countries which are not party to the Mine Ban Treaty, for example within NATO. However, it was noted by Mr Tuma that the Czech Republic also has to meet its obligations to the Washington Treaty as a member of NATO.[16] There appears to be ambiguity in the government's position.

Stockpiling and Destruction

By December 1997 the Czech Republic had destroyed all 44,353 non-detectable AP mines in its stocks that did not comply with Amended Protocol II.[17] These type PP-Mi-Na mines were destroyed at Týniste nad Orlicí.

On 23 May 1998, the Minister of Defense approved a stockpile elimination plan calling for completion of destruction by 30 June 2001.[18] Between January 1998 and May 2000 a total of 1,222 PP-Mi-Sr II APMs were destroyed, including 18 mines destroyed during testing of new equipment, 1,150 mines destroyed during testing of the AP mine dismantling facility and 54 mines destroyed during bomb disposal training courses. Due to technical and financial problems with the mine dismantling line the original timeline of 20 June 2001 to destroy the remaining 329,100 AP mines will be reconsidered, though not beyond the deadline of 1 April 2004 as required by Article 4 of the MBT.[19]

Due to the technical problems, AP mine destruction has been transferred to a small military facility in Bohuslavice nad Vlàrí near Slavicín in southern Moravia. The destruction of 329,000 PP-Mi-Sr and PP-Mi-Sr II metallic cased fragmentation mines started on 2 May 2000, with an anticipated rate of 600 mines per day. The mines are destroyed by disassembling and recycling some materials, such as scrap metal and TNT components.[20]

The Ministry of Defense plans to retain 4,900 antipersonnel mines for testing new demining technologies and for training bomb disposal experts of the Czech Army, as permitted under the treaty.[21] These mines are two types of metallic fragmentation mines: PP-Mi-Sr (1,400 to be retained) and PP-Mi-Sr II (3,500).

Regarding antivehicle mines, the Czech Army has PD-Mi-PK, PT-Mi-PK, PT-Mi-Ba III, PT-Mi-U, PT-Mi with tilt-rod fuse, PT-Mi-K, and PT-Mi-P mines in stock.[22]

The Mine Ban Treaty prohibits antivehicle mines with antihandling devices that will explode as the result of an unintentional act of a person, and antivehicle mines with sensitive fuse mechanisms that cause them to function as antipersonnel mines. Tilt rod fuses cause an antivehicle mine to function as an antipersonnel mine.[23] While some Czech authorities state that only the PT-Mi is used with a tilt-rod fuse, independent sources indicate that the PT-Mi-P and PT-Mi-U mines are also used with a tilt rod fuse. [24] Other Czech authorities have stated that none of the antivehicle and antitank mines listed above are fitted with any antihandling device,[25] and that: "[t]he only mechanical anti-handling device ever produced in the Czech Republic was the anti-handling fuse Ro-10. The production was discontinued in 1990.”[26]

There is similar uncertainty on the question of whether any of these mines could be victim-activated by tripwire, a mode that is prohibited under the MBT. The Czech authorities interviewed could not assure that steps have been taken so that the listed mines cannot be used with a tripwire.[27] According to the U.S. Department of Defense, the PD-Mi-PK antivehicle mine can be fired "electro-mechanically by a contact cable, by command detonation or mechanically by a tripwire."[28] The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs states: "The mine (PD-Mi-PK)...is actuated by pressure of vehicles - by a contact cable, by a tripwire or command detonated. Like anti-tank mines, PD-Mi-PK is a directional mine designed to attack vehicle body, usually from the side. The Czech Republic does not classify PD-Mi-PK as an APM under Article 2 of the Convention."[29] From this information it is not clear that these mines would not be tripwire activated by “the presence, proximity or contact of a person” and therefore illegal under the MBT if used with a tripwire.

Landmine Problem

The country has long borders that were lines of confrontation between the Warsaw Pact and NATO during the Cold War. The present-day Czech authorities state that during the Cold War the former Czechoslovakian Socialist Republic did not deploy live mines on its borders with former Federal Republic of Germany and Austria. There were only inert mines, arranged to look like live mines in order to deter intruders. These inert mines, together with booby traps and tetrahedrons, were removed after the ‘Velvet Revolution’ in 1989.[30]

The government reported in 1995 that troops from the former Soviet Union had left approximately two tons of mines in waste dumps, in weapons pits, and in the ground near the Ralsko and Mladá military bases which were occupied by Soviet troops from 1968 to 1991. Army demining units have been clearing these bases of mines and UXO. The original plan to complete clearance by the end of 1999 could not be achieved.

Czech Army demining units will complete clearing mines and unexploded ordnance at Mladá by 30 June 2000, while clearing of the Ralsko base will take until the end of 2001.[31] By the end of 1999 at Mladá, some 1,301 buildings and 4,600 hectares of land had been cleared. At Ralsko, 721 buildings and 5,372 hectares of land had been cleared by the end of 1999.[32]

Mine Action

The Czech Republic has contributed to humanitarian mine action. In 1998, $22,500 was donated to the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Clearance and $3,500 to the ICRC to help mine victims. In 1999, $107,000 was donated to the Slovenian International Trust Fund (ITF) for Demining, Mine Clearance and Assistance to Mine Victims, mainly for mine victim assistance. The Czech Ambassador to Slovenia Jana Hybaskova chaired the ITF Board of Advisors in 1999.[33] Czech SFOR (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and KFOR (FRY-Kosovo) units are engaged in mine clearance in their areas of responsibility.

In 1998 the Czech government said that "health facilities in the Czech Republic are ready to admit for paid medical treatment a limited number of landmine victims, in particular children, and to ensure the supply of all necessary prostheses.”[34] This plan has now been altered: “In the light of the excellent results achieved by the Rehabilitation Institute in Llubljana which, inter alia, produces prostheses, the Czech Republic abandoned its original intention to admit mine victims to Czech medical facilities or to supply prostheses, and pay the costs from its ITF contribution.” The donation to the ITF ($107,000) was used “to cover the costs associated with the short stay of Mr Jiri Hrabák, senior consultant at the prosthetic ward of the Teaching hospital in Plzen and Chairman of the Prosthetic Society, at the rehabilitation centres in Fojnica and Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in September/October 1999.”[35]

<CROATIA | DENMARK>

[1] Act 305/1999 on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and their Destruction, 18 November 1999.
[2] Amendment to Act 140/1961, Criminal Code, section 185a on the Development, Production and Possession of Prohibited Combat Equipment. Sanctions include imprisonment for one to five years for development, production, possession, stockpiling or import of any weapons or explosives prohibited by law or by an international treaty approved by Parliament; and imprisonment for one to five years for designing, constructing or using facilities for the development, production or storage of such weapons.
[3] JUDr Alexander Slaby, Director of the United Nations Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Prague, Letter No: 111558/2000-OSN, 31 March 2000.
[4] Declaration of Markku Reimaa on behalf of the European Union, 11 October 1999, in the Conference on Disarmament, General Debate within the First Committee, General Assembly/DIS/3140.
[5] Statement by Jan Kavan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, at the Fifty-fourth Session of the United Nations General Assembly, 22 September 1999.
[6] National annual report from the Czech Republic, CCW/AP.II/CONF.1/NAR.8, 25 October 1999.
[7] Statement by Zdenek Matejka, Secretary-General at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, to the First Conference of State Parties to the Amended Protocol II of the CCW, Geneva, 15-17 December 1999.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Statement by Martin Palous, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Head of the Czech Delegation at the First Meeting of State Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, Maputo, Mozambique, 4 May 1999.
[10] Text of declaration provided to Landmine Monitor by JUDr. Alexander Slaby, Letter No: 104237/2000-OSN, 7 February 2000.
[11] This issue of concern to the ICBL was described at length in Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 676-678.
[12] Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 707-708.
[13] Letter from JUDr Miroslav Tuma, Deputy Director of the United Nations Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Prague, No. 116684/2000-OMO, 11 May 2000.
[14] JUDr Alexander Slaby, Letter No: 111558/2000-OSN, 31 March 2000.
[15] Statement by JUDr Miroslav Tuma, Deputy Director of the United Nations Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at the Regional Conference on Landmines, Budapest, 26-28 March 1998.
[16] Interview with Miroslav Tuma, Jaroslav Zouzal, and Lt. Col. Josef Trabalik, Prague, 26 April 2000.
[17] Statement by JUDr Miroslav Tuma, Budapest, 26-28 March 1998.
[18] JUDr Alexander Slaby, Letter No: 111558/2000-OSN, 31 March 2000.
[19] Ibid.
[20] JUDr Miroslav Tuma, Letter No. 116684/2000-OMO, 11 May 2000.
[21] JUDr Alexander Slaby, Letter No: 111558/2000-OSN, 31 March 2000.
[22] Ibid.
[23] Several MBT States Parties have destroyed antivehicle mines with tilt rods because they were judged to violate the treaty.
[24] Human Rights Watch Fact Sheet, “Antivehicle Mines with Antihandling Devices,” prepared for the Standing Committee of Experts on the General Status and Operation of the Convention, Geneva, 10-11 January 2000.
[25] Jaroslav Zouzal during interview with Miroslav Tuma, Jaroslav Zouzal, and Lt.Col. Josef Trabalik, Prague, 26 April 2000.
[26] JUDr. Miroslav Tuma, Letter No. 116684/2000-OMO, 11 May 2000.
[27] Interview with Miroslav Tuma, Jaroslav Zouzal and Lt. Col. Josef Trabalik, Prague, 26 April 2000.
[28] U.S. Department of Defense, "ORDATA II, Version 1.0," CD-ROM.
[29] JUDr Miroslav Tuma, Letter No. 116684/2000-OMO, 11 May 2000.
[30] Ibid.
[31] JUDr Alexander Slaby, Letter No: 111558/2000-OSN, 31 March 2000.
[32] Ibid.
[33] Interview with Miroslav Tuma, Jaroslav Zouzal, and Lt. Col. Josef Trabalik, Prague, 26 April 2000.
[34] Statement by JUDr Miroslav Tuma, Budapest, 26-28 March 1998.
[35] JUDr. Miroslav Tuma, Prague, Letter No: 116684/2000-OMO, 11 May 2000.