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Country Reports
EUROPE/CENTRAL ASIA, Landmine Monitor Report 2000
LM Report 2000 Full Report   Executive Summary   Key Findings   Key Developments   Translated Country Reports

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Mine Ban Policy

Thirty-two of the fifty-three countries in Europe/Central Asia are States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, including eight in this reporting period (since March 1999): Netherlands, Italy, Iceland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Tajikistan (which acceded), Czech Republic, and Albania.

Another eight countries have signed but not ratified: Cyprus, Greece, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova, Poland, Romania, and Ukraine. Moldova has nearly completed the ratification process. Based on their statements and actions, it appears that some of these signatory countries are not committed to ratifying the treaty in the near future, including Cyprus, Greece, Lithuania, and Poland. All of the European Union has signed except Finland, all of NATO except Turkey and all of Central/East Europe except the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

In the region, eight of the thirteen non-signatories are countries of the former Soviet Union. The non-signatories are: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Krygyzstan, Latvia, Russia, Turkey, Uzbekistan, and FR Yugoslavia.

Of the States Parties, twenty-two submitted their Article 7 reports as required under the Mine Ban Treaty. Six are late in their reporting, including Andorra, Iceland, Luxembourg, Monaco, San Marino, and Turkmenistan.

The following 13 States Parties report that they have enacted implementation legislation: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. In addition, Macedonia and Sweden report that adequate implementation measures have been taken. A number of other states indicate that the treaty has been incorporated into domestic law, or that existing law is adequate, and new, separate legislation is not needed: Denmark, Ireland, Portugal, and Slovak Republic. The following states have drafted legislation, but it has not yet become law: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, and the Netherlands. Albania, Holy See and Iceland report that preparations are underway.

Turkish officials have stated that landmine policy has changed dramatically. In May 1999 Turkey for the first time stated its intention to join the Mine Ban Treaty in the near future, and it reiterated that statement in December 1999. Also in December, Turkey reported that a military directive banning the use of AP mines on Turkish territory has been in place since January 1998. Earlier, in March 1999, Turkey signed an agreement with Bulgaria to demine and prohibit future use of mines on their common border. Turkey reported on similar negotiations with Georgia and Azerbaijan, and a similar proposal to Greece.

Belarus stated publicly on several occasions that the only impediment to joining the Mine Ban Treaty is its need for international financial and technical assistance for destruction of millions of stockpiled antipersonnel mines. Finland reiterated its goal of joining the Mine Ban Treaty in 2006. Although Russian President Vladimir Putin has not made any public statements regarding a mine ban since his election, a government press release in March 2000 spoke of the policy “aimed at banning of landmines” declared by the president.


In the period since the release of the Landmine Monitor Report 1999, the most extensive new use of AP mines globally has been in Chechnya and in Kosovo. Both Russian forces and Chechen fighters have used mines since fighting erupted in September 1999. In its pursuit of Chechen rebels, Russia “accidentally” dropped mines on Georgia on two occasions. In April 2000, Russia announced its decision to mine part of the border between Chechnya and Georgia. Georgia is considering mining its side of the border as well.

In the course of the Kosovo conflict, forces of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia laid approximately 50,000 mines; Kosovo Liberation Army forces used mines as well, but in much less significant numbers. During the NATO air operation, US and UK planes dropped some 1,600 cluster bombs; it is estimated that this resulted in at least 15,000 pieces of unexploded ordnance which pose the same danger to civilians as AP mines.

It appears that there was continued use of AP mines in Abkhazia by Georgian armed groups. The PKK rebel forces also apparently continued to use AP mines in Turkey and Northern Iraq. After disturbances along their borders, Uzbekistan reportedly reinforced its border with Kyrgyzstan with landmines. Azerbaijan has continued to accuse Armenia of laying mines in Azeri territory, but Landmine Monitor has not found concrete evidence of such use and Armenia denies such charges.

The UN reported that Cyprus, a treaty signatory, “refreshed” minefields on its side of the buffer zone on the island.

Production and Transfer

Landmine Monitor Report 1999 noted that twenty-three countries in the region had stopped production of antipersonnel mines and that Russia, Turkey and Yugoslavia remained the only producers. In June 2000 Turkish officials told a representative of the ICBL that Turkey no longer produces AP mines, but there has been no formal confirmation. Russia confirmed what it had first announced in 1998: a halt to its production of blast AP mines. Yugoslavia said in 1998 that it did not produce or use AP mines, but especially in light of the Kosovo conflict, the statement does not have credibility.

No country in the region is believed to export AP mines. Eighteen are past exporters; sixteen have signed the treaty. Russia has a formal moratorium on export of non-detectable and non-self-destructing mines. Yugoslavia has publicly stated that it no longer exports AP mines.

Belarus on 4 February 2000 extended its export moratorium until the end of 2002. The government also issued a decree in 1998, banning the transit of AP mines through its national territory. Turkey’s export moratorium, which was set to expire in January 1999, was extended for another three years.

In September 1999, the Romanian company Romtechnica offered AP mines for sale at a military sales exhibition in the United Kingdom. The Romanian authorities explained the incident as a simple error in documentation. The incident is still under investigation by the UK’s Ministry of Defense. Romania is a signatory of the Mine Ban Treaty; it has an export moratorium in place.

Stockpiling and Destruction

Landmine Monitor estimates that Russian has 60-70 million AP mines in stockpiles, second only to China. Belarus has acknowledged having millions of AP mines, and Landmine Monitor believes the number is likely in the 10-15 million range. Ukraine, a treaty signatory, is known to have about 10 million AP mines. Although they will not reveal information, it is likely that others with large stockpiles of antipersonnel mines include Yugoslavia, Finland, Turkey and treaty signatories Romania and Greece.

As of early 2000, the biggest stocks held by States Parties were Italy (4.8 million), Albania (1.6 million), Sweden (1.2 million), and Bulgaria (778,455). However, these numbers are out-of-date, as rapid destruction programs are underway in all these countries, except Albania which requires financial assistance.

Millions of mines continue to be destroyed. Since March 1999, five countries in the region have completed the destruction of their stocks. These include Bosnia and Herzegovina (460,727), Denmark (266,517), France (1,098,281), Hungary (356,884) and the United Kingdom (2.1 million). Previously, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Norway and Switzerland had completed destruction of operational stocks of AP mines.

Destruction is underway in Albania (8,400), Bulgaria (107,417), Croatia (3,434), Czech Republic (45,575), Italy (2.1 million), Moldova (unknown number), Netherlands (254,526), Slovak Republic (127,781), Slovenia (8,104), Spain (642,684), and Sweden (2 million). Again, these numbers are going to be out of date for many of these countries since active destruction programs are in progress. Macedonia and Portugal are the only States Parties in the region that have not begun destruction, but both have developed plans for destruction.

With regard to mines retained for training purposes, as permitted under Article 3; three countries in the region have indicated they will retain none—Austria, Hungary and Switzerland. Hungary had stated in its Article 7 report that it would retain 1,500 AP mines, but an official subsequently told Landmine Monitor that no mines will be retained. Norway indicated in its Article 7 report and during SCE meetings that it would retain none, but subsequently the Defense Ministry stated a small number, about 100, would be retained. Some other countries report they will retain small amounts, such as Ireland (130) and Macedonia (50).

Those countries in the region that will retain more than 1,000 AP mines include Croatia (17,500), Italy (8,000), Slovak Republic (7,000), Slovenia (7,000), Belgium (5,770), Denmark (4,991), Czech Republic (4,900), UK (4,519), France (4,514), Netherlands (4,076), Bulgaria (4,000), Spain (4,000), Germany (3,006), Portugal (3,000), and Bosnia and Herzegovina (2,165).

Several countries have revised downward the number of mines they will retain, including: Bulgaria (4,000 from 10,446) and Spain (4,000 from 10,000). The Slovak Republic reports that it is considering a downward revision as well.

The ICBL has expressed concern about the stockpiling of U.S. antipersonnel mines in a number of countries in the region, including States Parties Germany and Norway, as well as the United Kingdom at Diego Garcia, and treaty signatory Greece.

Another issue of concern for the ICBL has been certain antivehicle mines (AVMs) with antihandling devices or sensitive fusing mechanisms which cause them to act like AP mines, and thus are banned under the treaty. Several countries have taken the initiative to destroy such mines. Hungary has destroyed 100,000 UKA-63 antivehicle mines with tilt rods, and Slovakia has destroyed all its stocks of the PT-Mi-K antivehicle mines with antilift firing mechanisms. Yet the Czech Republic has apparently decided to keep its PT-Mi-K mines, as well as other AVMs with tilt rod fuzes. Likewise, Sweden apparently has several types of AVMs with tilt rod fuzes, but has not said if it intends to destroy them. France reports that it has destroyed a dozen different types of AVMs with tilt rod fuzes and various antihandling devices, but is retaining other types of AVMs of concern, as is Austria, Belgium, Germany, Spain, and the UK.

In May 2000, the German Ministry of Defense reported that the DM 39, a weapon that seems to be able to serve as either an antihandling device or as an AP mine, is no longer in use, and destruction of stocks should be finished within the year. In 1997, the Netherlands had originally planned to modify its Gator mixed mine system (imported from the United States in 1991) by removing the AP mines and replacing them with antivehicle mines with antihandling devices, but has now decided to destroy the entire Gator mixed mine system.

Landmine Problem

Of 53 countries in Europe and Central Asia, 23 are mine-affected, as well as Abkhazia, Chechnya, Kosovo, and Nagorny-Karabakh. Eight of these are States Parties (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Slovenia, and Tajikistan) and five are signatories (Cyprus, Greece, Lithuania, Moldova and Ukraine). Ten mine-affected countries in the region have not yet joined the treaty (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Russia, Turkey and Yugoslavia).

The most serious problems are in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Yugoslavia (including Kosovo), Chechnya, and Nagorny-Karabakh. Bosnia and Herzegovina reported a total of 18,293 suspect or mined areas in the country. In Croatia estimates of mined or suspected mined areas have been revised downward to 4,500 square kilometers (from 6,000). In Kosovo, a total of 620 minefields have been identified. Yugoslavia laid an estimated 50,000 mines. NATO bombing left at least 15,000 unexploded cluster munitions which function like AP mines. Albanian officials state that the entire Albania-Kosovo 80 kilometer-long border is affected by antipersonnel and antitank mines laid by Serbian forces. The Nagorny-Karabakh Minister of Agriculture said that thirty percent of the territory’s agricultural lands are not being used because of the danger of mines. In Abkhazia, HALO Trust completed a minefield survey and estimated over 18.3 square kilometers of land were potentially mine-threatened.

World War Two mines and UXO still need clearance in Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Russia. These countries are included here as mine-affected while those in Western Europe are not as they have a lesser problem with mines fromW.W.II (for example, Belgium and France). Other countries have problems from munition dumps left by the former Soviet Union.

Mine Action Funding

Thirteen of the top seventeen donors for global mine action are from this region, including Norway, Sweden, UK, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands, France, Italy, Switzerland, Finland, Belgium, Austria and Ireland. Combined contributions totaled about $120 million in 1999; between 1990-1999, they spent about $485 million on mine action programs. Victim assistance is included in these totals for most of the countries, but they do not, for the most part, include money spent on research and development. Bosnia and Herzegovina is among the five biggest recipients of mine action funding in the world; most funding is now channeled through the (Slovenian) International Trust Fund. Funding for Chechnya, on the other hand, has been almost non-existent, even before the most recent conflict. Money spent on mine action in Croatia increased eighty percent over 1998, to a total of $24 million, with the Croatian government providing about 90 percent of the funds.

Mine Clearance

Significant mine clearance programs are underway in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Kosovo. In Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1999 approximately 3.7 square kilometers of land were cleared and another 573,229 square meters surveyed. In Croatia; a total of 23.59 square kilometers of land was cleared of mines or declared not to contain them and in 1999. In Kosovo, a Mine Action Coordination Center became operational five days after KFOR entered the province. As of 1 July 2000 almost eight square kilometers of land had been cleared, as well as more than 16,000 houses and 776 schools.

In Abkhazia, 460,077 square meters of land had been cleared, and 2,448 antipersonnel mines destroyed, as of May 2000. HALO Trust suspended mine clearance operations in Chechnya in December 1999. HALO began operations in January 2000 in Nagorny-Karabakh.

From April to October 1999, Bulgaria completed demining of its territory, including the borders with Turkey, Greece, and Macedonia, destroying 17,197 mines from 76 minefields. Through the Stability Pact of South Eastern Europe, Turkey is proposing a region-wide agreement to clear common borders. In October 1999 the Albanian Mines Action Committee (AMAC) was founded to coordinate mine action in the country. In June 2000, RONCO began demining operations in two priority areas defined by AMAC.

Mine Awareness

Where there are significant mine clearance programs, there are also significant mine awareness programs. In Bosnia, between June-December 1999, the Red Cross organized 1,470 mine awareness presentations, which reached 36,500 people; through a UNICEF program all teachers in the country have received mine awareness training. In 1999, the ICRC and Croatian Red Cross organized mine awareness programs in all fourteen of Croatia’s mine-affected counties, reaching 66,612 people. In Kosovo, there are eleven organizations carrying out mine awareness activities; some of which began with awareness training in refugee camps in Macedonia and Albania before the return to Kosovo. As of 31 May 2000, 463 villages in high and medium impact areas have been provided mine awareness education. In Abkhazia, systematic mine awareness has been underway since 1999, aimed at school children in mine-affected communities. At the height of the war in Chechnya, mine awareness ground to a halt, but by late spring 2000 a handful of local NGOs had begun activities again.

Mine Casualties

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, mine casualties have decreased significantly. Ninety-four casualties were recorded in 1999, down from 149 in 1998, 286 in 1997 and 625 in 1996. In Croatia, 51 casualties were reported in 1999, down from 77 in 1998. In Nagorny-Karabakh, casualties have dropped from a high of eighty-two in 1995 to thirty in 1999.

After the end of the war in Kosovo, as refugees returned to the province there were many mine casualties. In the first four weeks, it is estimated that 150 people were killed or wounded. From June 1999 through May 2000, there have been 492 people involved in mine accidents. In Albania, there were 136 mine casualties from June 1999 to July 2000. While impossible to know the real number, there have been hundreds of new mine victims in Chechnya.

Survivor Assistance

In Europe, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Yugoslavia, and Estonia have disability laws. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Cyprus have a national coordination body on disability. In some countries and areas in the region with mine incidents, immediate emergency medical treatment for victims appear to be non-existent. This situation is particularly dramatic in Chechnya. Belarus, Albania, and Azerbaijan are mentioned as having limited first aid services. In the affected countries, modern health care services are available only in urban centers.

All countries for which data is available have rehabilitation services, though available only in the capitals for Albania, Azerbaijan and Yugoslavia. Victims in Bosnia and Herzegovina have to pay for their own rehabilitation, although services are generally accessible. Needy Croatians receive some rehabilitation services at no cost, but for proper care Croatians have to travel to Slovenia. In Abkhazia and Azerbaijan, the government in cooperation with the ICRC provides services. In Russia, governments appear to leave rehabilitation to NGOs. Prostheses are well distributed and free in the whole of Belarus. Ukrainian victims must wait a long time for a prosthesis. Abkhazia covers all victims’ expenses related to rehabilitation; Azerbaijan only provides free wheelchairs. Psychological support is given to children in Georgia and to all Abkhazians although not on a regular basis. Chechen medial and rehabilitation services have collapsed. Only these countries have implemented socio-economic reintegration activities: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Russia.