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Country Reports
FINLAND , Landmine Monitor Report 2000
LM Report 2000 Full Report   Executive Summary   Key Findings   Key Developments   Translated Country Reports


Key developments since March 1999: Finland contributed US$5 million to mine action programs in 1999 and deployed mine clearance teams to Kosovo and Mozambique. It contributed about $1.9 million to mine action January-April 2000. Finland has carried out destruction of some non-detectable mines, in accordance with Amended Protocol II. Finland reiterated its goal of joining the Mine Ban Treaty in 2006.

Mine Ban Policy

Finland is the only country in the European Union that has not signed the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty (MBT). In part to mitigate its isolation in the EU in particular, and the wider international community, it has become Finnish policy to voice support for the total banning of antipersonnel mines and indicate “readiness” to join the MBT in the future.[1]

The government formed a working group comprised of officials from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense to consider the AP mine issue. In its report of December 1997, it declared that Finland was in the process of moving toward a total ban on AP mines and would be prepared to replace them with other methods of independent and reliable defense. But the working group insisted that Finland needed additional money - several million U.S. dollars - for alternatives to AP mines; even if alternatives and the funds to acquire them were available the transitional period would take at least ten years.[2] In December 1999, the goal of being able to join the MBT by 2006 and replace its mines before the end of 2010 was reiterated in its report on AP mine policy to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.[3] The working group continues its deliberations.

In March 2000, officials of the Foreign Ministry said that it was not an easy decision to remain outside the MBT: “The step to take was difficult. We are not usually outsiders in international politics and disarmament.” [4] The government felt it had to stay out of the Ottawa Process because it was “not capable of influencing the end result. We could not join the Ottawa Treaty because of the requirement to destroy stockpiles in such a short time. We could not do it in four years. We could, of course, have signed the treaty, but we could not ratify. So we decided not to sign. We think that it is better that if we are going to sign we would also be capable to ratify. We decided that we will not take part in the process. After that Finland found its position easier.”[5]

Officials consistently point to Finland’s geographical and geopolitical position, as a large country with a small population bordering on Russia, with whom it has fought two wars in the last sixty years as a fundamental reason for staying outside the MBT. Finland wants to have, and to give the signal that it has, a “strong, credible, independent defense.” In March 2000, an official from the Ministry of Defense explained: “Antipersonnel landmines are part of the Finnish defense system. Finland is a country fragmented by the lake system, full of different areas around the waterways. To defend these kind of areas Finland needs landmines which fit well and are essential.”[6] He repeated the claim often made that the military would need a budget increase of 3-5 Miljard Finnish marks (US$500-800 million) to cover the expenses of replacing AP mines.[7]

While government and military officials always refer to Russia when discussing AP mine issues, they deny that Finland is afraid of its neighbor, saying that a possible attack from Russia is already out of question and history.[8] This claim seems to contradict the explanations about the need for strong border defenses. One military official noted, “Even though Russia is not the threat, it is an uncertain factor. I think, nobody can really estimate how time and the situation will change. We have a long border with Russia.”[9] Defense officials deny that Finland looked upon any other states as an example not to sign the MBT, and say that the Ministry of Defense is unanimous in this decision, which has been taken from a national point of view. They note that “many Finnish people think that landmines are a very important part of the defense policy.”[10] In Finland, war veterans and most of Finnish society defend and support the priorities and needs of the Defense Forces.

What no government or military official has explained is the real practicality of relying on AP mines as border-defense against invasion when the mines are in stockpiles rather than already deployed.[11] Finland has no mass-delivery systems,[12] and would have to rely on hand-emplacement of hundreds of thousands of mines in a country where the lake systems make travel difficult and slow. It is the view of the Campaign to Ban Landmines in Finland that, if the military were to admit that AP mines are an out-dated form of defense, they would risk discussion of the relevance of current defense doctrine and planning; this is a discussion the Finnish defense establishment is not ready to take up.

A member of the Finnish Parliament says that Finnish policy is double-sided. “Finland is in a way the ‘superpower of disarmament’ but this is when it is about the strategic weapons of other countries. When the disarmament concerns the weapons strategically important to Finland we are not as positive about it. It is embarrassing that we are in the same group with the United States of America, China and Russia. We have to remember that while planning to plant antipersonnel landmines around strategic places, these are also where civilians are in danger.”[13]

Finland held the presidency of the European Union in the last half of 1999. Despite being the only European Union member not to have signed the MBT, it was put in the position at the United Nations of delivering the EU statement in favor of the implementation of the MBT:

The EU emphasizes the importance of full and speedy implementation of the Ottawa Convention, including the reporting obligations and the deadlines laid down in the Convention as to the destruction of antipersonnel mines in mined areas and in stockpiles as well as assistance to the mine victims. Moreover, the EU calls upon all States to combine their efforts in order to achieve the total elimination of antipersonnel mines worldwide. In this context, the importance of the possibility the Convention offers for States Signatories to provisionally apply its provisions pending its entry into force should be stressed. The EU and its Member States will actively participate in the program of intersessional work adopted at the First Meeting of State Parties.[14]

At the time of this statement, the Campaign to Ban Landmines in Finland pointed out the irony of a country that has not even signed the MBT being able to give a pro-treaty statement on behalf of EU countries that are signatories, many of whom have taken key leadership roles in the Ottawa Process which produced the MBT. Despite the strength of the EU statement, it has been difficult for the EU to act cohesively in encouraging the signing, ratification and implementation of the MBT when one of its member countries has not signed the treaty.

A Finnish member of the European Parliament (MEP) said that in the EU, Finland does not come under great pressure to join the MBT because its borders are seen as an independent problem.[15]

Regionally, the Finnish position has also had a negative influence. An NGO dealing with issues in the Baltics and based in Riga, Latvia, believes that Estonia and Latvia are following Finland’s lead on the MBT.[16]

In the United Nations, Finland has voted for all key resolutions in favor of banning AP mines, including Resolution 54/54B in December 1999 calling for universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty. Finland also attended as an observer the First Meeting of State Parties in May 1999; the delegation was led by the Head of the Unit for Humanitarian Assistance at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Finland has also followed the intersessional work of the MBT, attending meetings of the Standing Committees of Experts.

Finland has been a core supporter of negotiating landmine issues in the Conference on Disarmament (CD). It would be happy to see a transfer ban negotiated in the CD but has been careful to not take any steps or voice its support for initiatives seen as hostile by countries that support the Ottawa Process and MBT. Finland sees the different approaches as complementary to each other.[17]

Finland is a party to Amended Protocol II of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW). Finland participated in the First Conference of States Parties on Protocol II in December 1999, and submitted its Article 13 report at that meeting.


Almost all AP mines in stock are Finnish-made mines, said to be produced between 1945 and 1981. No mines have been produced since then.[18] From this, the Campaign to Ban Landmines in Finland concludes: “This means that the majority of the mines in stocks are quite old, some of the oldest have been given new fuses, or renewed in some other ways, but mainly the stock should probably be anyway, for military technical reasons, modernized and replaced with new mines or now after this ban process with something else.”[19] Finland has the capability and the know-how to produce AP mines and it is, in principle, possible to do so as long as there is no legislation that prohibits production. (For more detail, see Landmine MonitorReport 1999, pp. 786-787.)

Until 1981 several Finnish companies produced components for simple, “basic” mines that the army assembled as blast-mines, fragmentation-mines, and some Claymores; however, most of the Claymores in stock were imported from Austria.[20]

Finland has no mine delivery systems. “APMs are mainly meant to be delivered by hand, but there are some future delivery development plans for the new military readiness groups. Using helicopters as a delivery system has been researched only in a theoretical way. At the moment Finland does not have technical equipment for delivering APMs.”[21]

On the question of replacing and finding alternatives for AP mines, the Defense Ministry said that it "evaluate[s] possibilities in different kinds of research and follows with the development in other countries."[22]


The Defense Ministry stated in 1998 and again in 1999 that Finland does not export AP mines.[23] However, in another interview a Defense Ministry official said that “Finland has exported components of mines (antitank) but never whole APMs.”[24] Following regulations in the CCW Amended Protocol II, which came into force in Finland in December 1998, Finland does not transfer any AP mine production technology to any other country.[25] All exports and transfers of know-how or production licenses of military goods and components are regulated under arms trade law (which now incorporates the CCW restrictions) and must be licensed by the Ministry of Defense.[26]

Finland has imported Claymore-type mines (model VM88) from Austria.


Finland’s tradition of transparency does not include military issues, especially if it means disclosing information on stockpiles and other information that has to do with war plans. But at the CCW Protocol II meeting in December 1999, Finnish delegates told the ICBL that in the near future Finland may give information on the number of mines in stockpiles.[27] At present, public knowledge of AP mine stockpiles remains as described in the Landmine Monitor Report 1999: officially numbering hundreds of thousands but less than a million.[28]

But the Campaign to Ban Landmines in Finland continues to believe that “the stated amount is in clear contradiction with statements that APMs are an essential part of Finland's defense, and especially in consideration of Finland's long land border and with the statement that it would be very expensive to consider alternatives and destroy the stocks because Finland has more landmines on average than other European countries.”[29] Also, a government officer, who wishes to remain unnamed, commented that the size of the stockpile is probably bigger than reported in the Landmine Monitor Report 1999.

Finland will not destroy its mine stockpiles before it finds alternatives to AP mines for its defense and signs the MBT. However, ratification of the CCW Amended Protocol II has resulted in destruction of some stocks to be compliant with the Protocol. It is not known what impact Protocol II has had on the absolute numbers of mines, but the changes to the composition of the stockpiles resulting from ratification are clearer. It has been necessary to destroy some of the older AP mines (types Sakaramiina SM57 and SM61), and adapt others (Sakaramiina SM65). The SM65 blast-mines do not meet the Amended Protocol II requirements in terms of being detectable; Finland has decided not to add metal to the stockpiled mines except when they are used in training, maintaining the capacity to add the metal if the mines should be taken out from stocks for use. When this change is made these mines will be called Sakaramiina 65-98.[30] One official said that they "started to destroy old blast mines already before the end of last year (1998) and they are already all destroyed."[31] Some antitank mines (Pohjamiina PM76) have also been destroyed. The old mines have been destroyed in Lapland or they have been recycled; for example, all the copper has been collected for reuse.[32]

As in other countries, the Finnish Ministry of Defense has renamed its Claymore mines as directional fragmentation “charges” or “explosives” as of 3 December 1998. But the Defense Staff has also stated it will not use the weapon by tripwire-activation: “Finland has changed and classified all Claymore mines as weapons and they are command-detonated only.”[33] The name has changed and the policy is to use them only in command-detonated mode, but no modifications of the weapon have been made: “[I]t is still possible to trigger them by tripwires.”[34]


Antipersonnel landmines remain an essential part of Finnish defense doctrine, and Finland reserves the right to use them and other weapons that might function as AP mines. But the mines are in stocks and there are no minefields in peacetime in Finland.[35]

Finland has reported that it also reserves the right to use explosive booby traps in population centers under certain conditions. In its Article 13 report for Amended Protocol II, Finland states: “Use of booby traps is forbidden in population centers where civilians are still present and fighting has not yet escalated or it is not expected immediately, except situations where the center is connected to a military installation or in close proximity. Booby traps may be used in population centers if dangerous areas are guarded, fenced and properly signed.”[36]

Mine Action Funding

Since the early 1990s Finland has supported mine action programs with FIM 103 million (US$16.7 million) in Afghanistan, Angola, Bosnia, Cambodia, Laos and Mozambique.[37] The Finnish contribution includes cash contributions, personnel and in-kind assistance.

For the period 1998-2001 Finland has allocated FIM 120 million (US$19.5 million) for mine action as detailed below.[38] In connection with this decision Finland established in June 1998 a Stand-by Unit for Humanitarian Demining, which consists of twenty to thirty people to be deployed according to operational needs in assisting demining programs. The Unit has the capacity to train local deminers and carry out mine awareness training, and includes a mechanical mine clearance capacity. One expert of the Stand-by Unit participates in the Western European Demining Assistance Mission (WEUDAM), which was deployed in May 1999 to train mine clearance specialists and instructors in Croatia.

In 1998 a mechanical mine clearance project was also started, in Cambodia, which involved a six-man team (Finn Flail Team), two Finnish RA-140 DS mine clearance vehicles and one XA-180 command and control vehicle. These projects are provided with full support and service packages (vehicles, maintenance, spare parts, personnel costs). In 1999 mechanical mine clearance teams were also deployed in Mozambique and Kosovo. The mechanical mine clearance project in Kosovo is the newest project funded from Finland’s humanitarian aid budget, at a cost of FIM 18 million (US$3 million) for the first two years. There are two RA-140 DS (Raisu) clearance vehicles and six persons in the area of Pejen (Pec) and Deqanin in west Kosovo, clearing or investigating suspected mined rural fields. This project is carried out in cooperation with Norwegian People's Aid (NPA).[39] Finland also supports mine action programs of Finnish nongovernmental organizations, including the Finnish Red Cross and Finn Church Aid. Finland and South Africa started cooperating on mine action by signing a Memorandum of Understanding in Helsinki on 15 March 1999 during the visit of President Nelson Mandela. Within this framework Finland and South Africa will cooperate on mine clearance, mine awareness, mine information and victim assistance in southern Africa.

In 1999, the following mine action projects were funded by Finland:[40]

3 million
mine clearance
3 million
victim assistance,
mine awareness
3 million
local prostheses production
Finnish Red Cross
Finnish mechanical mine clearance

mine incident database project
planning/project officer
(US$1.8 million)
Finnish mechanical mine clearance
UNDP/NPA in kind/personnel assistance
7.7 million
(US$1.4 million)
Finnish mechanical mine clearance
UNDP in kind/personnel assistance
contribution to core functions

In the year 2000 as at 1 May, the following mine action projects were funded:[42]

3 million
(US$ 488,000)
mine clearance
(US$ 570,600)
mine clearance
Halo Trust
1.2 million
(US$ 195,000)
mine clearance,
3rd phase
Finn Church Aid/MAG
(US$ 147,000)
mine incident database, 2nd phase
(US$ 92,000)
mine awareness
Finnish/Cambodian Red Cross
1.2 million
(US$ 195,000)
Finnish mechanical demining
(US$ 100,000)
Support for coordination functions

(US$ 100,000)
Support for Level 1 survey


[1] Council of State, Report to the Parliament, 17 March 1997.
[2] Press Release, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, No. 352, 16 December 1997; Jalkaväkimiina -työryhmän raportti (report of the APM-working group), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 16 December 1997.
[3] Report of the Permanent Mission of Finland to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, 2 December 1999, p. 2.
[4] Interview with Counselor Timo Kantola, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 6 March 2000.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Interview with Col. Yrjö Kukko, Ministry of Defense, 2 March 2000.
[7] Ibid.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Telephone interview with Commander GS Henrik Nysten, Ministry of Defense, 4 May 2000.
[10] Interview with Col. Kukko, Ministry of Defense, 2 March 2000.
[11] Report to the OSCE, 2 December 1999, p. 3.
[12] Telephone interview with Commander GS Henrik Nysten, Ministry of Defense, 4 May 2000.
[13] Interview with Parliamentarian Kimmo Kiljunen, Social Democratic Party, 6 April 2000.
[14] Statement of Finland on behalf of the EU to the United Nations General Assembly First Committee, New York, 11 October 1999.
[15] Interview with MEP Heidi Hautala, President of the Green Group in the European Parliament, 31 March 2000.
[16] Statement by Dr. Igors Tipans, Baltic International Center for Human Education, at ICBL seminar in Brussels, 31 January 2000.
[17] Report to the OSCE, 2 December 1999, p. 2.
[18] Interview with Lt. Col. Jaakko Martikainen, Defence Staff, 5 February 1999; Report to the OSCE, 2 December 1999, p. 3.
[19] Laura Lodenius, Coordinator, Campaign to Ban Landmines in Finland, 31 January 1999.
[20] Telephone interview with Col. Arto Mikkonen, Defense Staff, 18 February 1999.
[21] Telephone interview with Commander Nysten, 4 May 2000.
[22] Telephone interview with Lt. Col. Kukko, Ministry of Defense, 12 February 1999.
[23] Telephone interview with Senior Governmental Secretary Jari Takanen, Ministry of Defense, 5 February 1999; Press Release, Defense Force, No. 200, 2 December 1998.
[24] Telephone interview with Lt. Col. Kukko, Ministry of Defense, 12 February 1999.
[25] Telephone interview with Lt. Col. Kukko, Ministry of Defense, 5 February 1999.
[26] Telephone interview with Senior Governmental Secretary Jari Takanen, Ministry of Defense, 5 February 1999.
[27] Laura Lodenius, Coordinator, Campaign to Ban Landmines in Finland, reported after the CCW First Conference of States Parties, Geneva, December 1999.
[28] Landmine Monitor Report 1999, p. 789-790.
[29] Laura Lodenius, Coordinator, Campaign to Ban Landmines in Finland, 31 January 1999.
[30] Press Release, Defense Staff, 3 December 1998. See also, Finland’s National Report required by CCW Amended Protocol II, Article 13, dated 11 November 1999.
[31] Telephone interview with L. Col. Heikki Backstrom, Ministry of Defense, 22 February 1999.
[32] Ibid.
[33] Telephone interviews with Lt. Col. Kukko, Ministry of Defense and Lt. Col. Martikainen, Defense Staff, 5 February 1999; and Press Release, Defense Force, Press Release 200, 2 December 1998.
[34] Telephone interview with Col. Mikkonen, Defense Staff, 18 February 1999.
[35] Statement of Brigadier General Kari Rimpi, Defense Staff, Press Release, 2 December 1998.
[36] Finland’s Article 13 Report, Amended Protocol II, dated 11 November 1999.
[37] Landmine Monitor Report 1999, p. 790-791; further details are available from the Campaign to Ban Landmines in Finland.
[38] Memorandum of Ilkka-Pekka Similä, First Secretary, Unit for Humanitarian Assistance, Department for International Cooperation, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, 19 April 2000; Report to the OSCE, 2 December 1999, p. 3.
[39] Press release, Department for International Development Cooperation, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, 17 April 2000.
[40] Memorandum of Ilkka-Pekka Similä, First Secretary, Unit for Humanitarian Assistance, Department for International Cooperation, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, 19 April 2000; Report to the OSCE, 2 December 1999, p. 3; the country totals do not tally with the total for each funding year due to fluctuation in the exchange rate during this period.
[41] Abbreviations: UNOCHA - UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, WEUDAM - Western Union Demining Assistance Mission; UNDP - UN Development Program; NPA - Norwegian People’s Aid; UNMAS - UN Mine Action Service; HI - Handicap International; MAG - Mines Advisory Group; ADP – Accelerated Demining Program; ICRC - International Committee of the Red Cross.
[42] Memorandum of Ilkka-Pekka Simila, 19 April 2000.