+   *    +     +     
About Us 
The Issues 
Our Research Products 
Order Publications 
Press Room 
Resources for Monitor Researchers 
Table of Contents
Country Reports
HUNGARY, Landmine Monitor Report 2000
LM Report 2000 Full Report   Executive Summary   Key Findings   Key Developments   Translated Country Reports


Key developments since March 1999: Hungary completed destruction of the 356,884 AP mines in stockpile in June 1999. It has also destroyed 100,000 UKA-63 antivehicle mines with tilt-rod fuzes. Hungary served as the chair of the SCE on Stockpile Destruction.

Mine Ban Policy

The Republic of Hungary signed the Mine Ban Treaty (MBT) on 3 December 1997, and was the eighth country to ratify on 6 April 1998. On 24 February 1998, the Hungarian Parliament passed national legislation adopting the MBT, which came into effect on 7 March 1998.[1]

Hungary attended the First Meeting of States Parties to the MBT in May 1999. Since the FMSP, it has served as co-chair of the MBT’s intersessional Standing Committee of Experts on Stockpile Destruction, and has taken a lead role in promoting the importance of stockpile destruction internationally as preventive mine action. It also has participated in nearly all of the other SCE meetings. Hungary attended the regional landmine conferences in Zagreb in June 1999 and Ljubljana in June 2000.

The government submitted its initial Article 7 report on 1 October 1999, covering 1 March 1999 to 27 August 1999, and its second Article 7 report on 25 April 2000, covering 27 August 1999 to 25 April 2000.[2] The reports are minimalist, providing little supplemental information.

Hungary voted in favor of the December 1999 UNGA resolution supporting the treaty, as it has on the other pro-ban UN resolutions in 1996, 1997, and 1998.

Hungary is a State Party to Amended Protocol II of the Convention on Conventional Weapons. The government participated in the First Conference of States Parties to Amended Protocol in December 1999, having submitted its report as required under Article 13. Hungary continues to support attempts to negotiate a transfer ban of AP mines in the Conference on Disarmament.

Production and Transfer

Hungary informed the United Nations in 1995 that it no longer produced or exported AP mines.[3] However, it had been a significant past producer and exporter of AP mines. Hungarian Mechanical Works (Magyar Mechanikai Muvek, MMM) was the sole producer for many decades.[4] It produced M-49, M-62, GYATA-64 and POMZ-2 AP mines, as well as the UKA-63 antivehicle mine.[5]

On 1 January 1998, MMM became Mechanical Works Special plc (Mechanikai Muvek Specialis RT., MWS). This company, owned by the Ministry of Defense, handles the destruction of all mines in Hungary. While MWS is still capable of producing antivehicle mines on a large scale, Hungary stated in its Article 7 report that conversion of AP mine production capabilities had been completed.[6]

Stockpile and Destruction

Hungary completed destruction of its antipersonnel mine stockpile on 29 June 1999.[7] According to Hungary’s initial Article 7 report, a total of 356,884 AP mines were destroyed in 1998 and 1999, including 207,198 GYATA-64 mines in the period 1 March 1999 to 27 August 1999.[8] According to MWS, all the mines that were destroyed in 1998 and 1999 were GYATA-64 mines.[9]

In addition to the GYATA-64, the Ministry of Defense has acknowledged that prior to beginning destruction, Hungary also had in stock POMZ-2 AP mines and MON-50 Claymore-type directional fragmentation AP mines.[10] The Article 7 reports did not include information on these mines.

Apparently, all of the POMZ-2s were destroyed prior to entry into force of the MBT, including many in 1997.[11] It has been indicated that none of the stocks of MON-50s have been destroyed and there are no plans to do so.[12] The MON-50 is a directional fragmentation mine; use of tripwire operated directional fragmentation mines is not permitted by the MBT, but use of such mines in command detonated mode is allowed. A landmine expert from the Military College of Technology states that Hungary also has MON-100 and MON-200 directional fragmentation mines, and that all are equipped with electric percussion cap and cable and can be detonated only by remote control; there is no tripwire attached for victim-activation.[13] When such a modification might have been made is not known.

The Article 7 reports provide no information regarding the two other AP mines produced by Hungary in the past, types M-49 and M-62. The Ministry of Defense declined to provide requested information on these mines on at least two occasions.[14] However, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official has indicated that these mines were produced shortly after World War II and had an expired shelf life; thus they were destroyed as part of the regular ammunition maintenance program some time ago.[15]

It would be useful, in the interests of complete transparency, for information regarding POMZ-2s, MONs, M-49sand M-62s to be provided in the Article 7 report.[16]

Hungary reported that 1,500 GYATA-64 mines would be retained for development of demining techniques, as permitted under Article 3 of the MBT.[17] In March 2000, a letter from the Ministry of Defense noted that the number retained was 2,000 mines.[18] However, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official stated in July 2000 that in fact Hungary had retained no AP mines, and that all had been destroyed.[19]

In an interview in March 2000 with the deputy-director general of the MSW destruction facility, he revealed that some 100,000 UKA-63 type mines, representing half the stockpile, had been destroyed from September 1996 to March 2000, and that the remaining 100,000 units were scheduled to be destroyed by March 2002.[20]

The destruction of the UKA-63 mines is of particular interest to the ICBL, as it is an antivehicle mine with a tilt rod fuze, which likely makes the mine act like an AP mine and therefore banned under the MBT.[21] The ICBL has pressed governments to report on such mines in the interest of transparency and to help establish which antivehicle mines with antihandling devices are prohibited under the treaty.

Hungary’s Article 7 reports provides no detail about methods used for destroying the mines or about safety and environmental standards observed in their destruction. The reports state only that destruction is carried out by MWS at Törökbálint, by the “disassembly” method, according to “industrial standard.”[22]

MWS and Foreign Ministry officials indicate that stockpile destruction (carried out by the Ministry of Defense-owned MWS) takes place in the assembly plant on a specially developed production line that can process 200 kilograms in an eight-hour shift. There is a stand-by machine in case of failure of the production line. Dismantling takes place in three steps behind concrete protecting walls. Three mines are dismantled simultaneously, and workers have to account for every mine. All parts of the GYATA-64 and UKA-63 mines are recycled, except the detonator, which is destroyed by explosion. Explosives from the mines are used for excavating; steel plates are sent to furnaces. Explosive charges used in excavations are exported to the Scandinavian firms, Dinamo Nobel and Nitro Nobel, and to a German company, with a one to three years’ guarantee, and cannot be converted to arms again. Other parts, such as non-decaying or slowly decaying plastic covers, are used in highway construction or destroyed in combustion furnaces. Mine dismantling has been performed without any casualties so far.[23]

Hungary would like to establish a “regional mine-destruction center” at an established military base with good infrastructure, in the eastern part of the country near Nyíregyháza. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is financing this project. A profit-oriented Hungarian company owned by the Ministry of Defense has the contract to destroy mines in an environment-friendly way, utilizing plasma-burning technology developed in the United States. The glass-like end product would be used in highway and embankment construction. In the future, landmines from other regional states could be destroyed there, but the plant would be able to burn other kinds of hazardous refuse as well.[24]

Landmine Problem and Mine Clearance

The government reports that there are no mined areas in Hungary. While the country was demined after World War II, there are “mine and munitions contaminated areas” in Hungary today.[25] The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that “[T]here is no official register” of underground objects.[26]

Affected areas in Hungary come from three periods and sources: World War II, the Soviet Army 1944-1991, and the conflicts in Yugoslavia 1991-1995. There is only one such World War II mined area remaining, around 3,000-5,000 hectares of wooded area near the village of Nagybajom. Mine accidents were last recorded in this area in the 1950s, but each year one or two mines are found in the forest.[27]

Soviet troops occupied 104 Hungarian settlements, from 1944 to June 1991. They stocked mines of unknown quantity and types in Hungary. From 1 January 1994 to 31 December 1999, the MH-HTAZ found 2,300 antitank mines on land formerly used by the Soviet Army. Mines of Soviet origin were found in shooting-ranges and drill grounds of Kunmadaras, Veszprém, Orgovány, Kecskemét, Debrecen and Esztergom (the latter was the most contaminated).[28]

During the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia, especially in the periods of the Serbian-Croatian war (1991-1992, 1994-1995), mine barriers were deployed on the Yugoslavian side of a sixty-six kilometer-long section of the border, starting at the junction of the river Dráva and the Danube. Mines were usually deployed within a few meters of the Hungarian border, some of them stretching into Hungarian territory from a few centimeters to three meters. Border guards and bomb-disposal experts of the Hungarian Army neutralized all mines found on Hungarian ground. The settlements of Erdõpuszta, Kölked, Udvar, Lippó, Ivándárda, Old, Alsószentmárton, Magyarboly, and Drávaszabolcs all had such mine deployments on their outskirts. According to the Hungarian Border Guard authority, they have installed one hundred warning boards in the Hungarian area facing the mined border line, and strongly advise local inhabitants to take these warnings seriously.[29]

Mine Action

Hungarian troops have engaged in some demining as part of the IFOR/SFOR peacekeeping contingent in Croatia. Hungary has also stationed a 350-strong KFOR contingent in Kosovo at Pristina since summer 1999. There is a mine searcher, bomb-disposal team in this contingent, which so far has demined the road to the KFOR telecommunications center that they protect.[30]

At the Budapest Regional Conference on Landmines in March 1998, then-Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs announced Hungary’s “Agenda '98,” consisting of six items with the purpose of banning and destroying antipersonnel landmines and lessening the damage caused by the weapon. Among other things he said that Hungary would establish a physio- and psychotherapeutic institution to help landmine victims, and would pursue a German-Hungarian demining initiative in the Eastern Slavonia region of Croatia.[31]

In the two years since then, Hungary offered $3,000 for the Slovenian demining program in 1999 and another donation is expected in 2000, but further contributions to demining programs are uncertain. The German-Hungarian initiative has not been realized. Between ten and forty professional Hungarian deminers work in Croatia, employed by foreign, profit-oriented private companies.[32]

The physio- and psychotherapeutic program to aid the recovery of landmine victims was to have been funded by Canada ($100,000) with a similar amount of Hungarian support in the form of buildings. But the project, managed by the Children for Children Foundation, did not gain support from any Hungarian Ministry up to July 1999, after which the Canadian Government ordered a revision of the project, to be completed by spring 2000.[33]


[1] Act X of 1998 ratifying the MBT. Act LXXXVII of 1998, Articles 38 and 60, and Act LXXI, Article 14, of 1993 amend the criminal code (Act IV of 1978) to provide penal sanctions for violations of international law.
[2] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Reports, submitted 1 October 1999, covering 1 March 1999-27 August 1999, and submitted 25 April 2000, covering 27 August 1999-25 April 2000, available at: http://domino.un.org/ottawa.nsf.
[3] UN General Assembly, “Report of the Secretary-General: Moratorium on the export of anti-personnel landmines," (New York: United Nations, 1995), A/50/701, 3 November 1995, p. 6.
[4] Magyar Honved (Ed.), “Eltaposott aknak,” A honvedelmi Minizterium hetilapja (weekly magazine of the Ministry of Defense), 10 April 1998, pp. 4-8: This article reported that in the “past few decades,” MMM has completed the renewal of twenty to thirty million mines for the Hungarian Army.
[5] See Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 627-628. Landmine Monitor Report 99 reported production of three other mines, the RAMP blast mine, No. 1131 bounding mine, and Model 36 fragmentation mine, but Hungarian officials are unaware of Hungarian production of such mines. Telephone interviews with Dr. Laszlo Lukacs and Gyorgy Viczian, 29 May 2000.
[6] Article 7 Report, Form E, submitted 1 October 1999, covering 1 March 1999 to 27 August 1999.
[7] Statement by HE Mr. Gabor Bagi, Deputy State Secretary, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, at the Zagreb Regional Conference on Antipersonnel Landmines, 28 June 1999.
[8] MBT, Article 7 Report, Form G 1, available at: http://domino.un.org/ottawa.nsf.
[9] Interview with Deputy Director-General Molnár, MWS plc, Törökbálint, 10 March 2000.
[10] Letters from Col. László Tikos, Head of Public Information, Ministry of Defense, 28 February 2000 and 21 March 2000. In November 1996, it was reported to the Parliament that the army possessed a total of 375,306 AP mines.
[11] Interview with Deputy Director-General Molnár, MWS plc, Törökbálint, 10 March 2000; Magyar Honvéd (Ed),“Eltaposott aknák,” A Honvédelmi Minisztérium hetilapja (weekly magazine of the Ministry of Defense), 10 April 1998, pp. 4-8. A newspaper report in December 1997 had stated that 15,000 POMZ-2s had been destroyed and that “a few hundred” MON-50s were not destroyed; see Col. József Tián, technical head, land forces, Hungarian Army, in: Matyuc Péter, "A hídépítés rövidebb ideig tart, mint az aknatelepítés," Népszabadság, 24 December 1997, pp. 1 and 4. On 12 July 2000 Col. Jozsef Tian told the LM researcher that 29,720 POMZ-2 had been destroyed up until 14 June 1999. A Ministry of Foreign Affairs official indicated that POMZ-2 destruction began in 1991 and was completed before MBT entry into force; thus destruction was not reported in the Article 7 report. Email to Landmine Monitor/HRW 26 July 2000.
[12] Col. László Bodrogi, Head of Department for Technology of Tactical Operations, Zrínyi Miklós University of National Defense, "Lehet-e hatása a gyalogság elleni aknák betiltásáról szóló nemzetközi egyezményeknek a katonai védelmi tevékenységekre?" Muszaki Katonai Közlöny, MHTT Muszaki Szakosztály folyóirata (technical magazine of the Hungarian Army), No. 4, 1999, pp. 36-39; this information was confirmed by several sources which wished to remain anonymous, Budapest, January-April 2000.
[13] Telephone interview with Lt. Col. Lukács, Military College of Technology, 29 May 2000. This was confirmed by a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official. Email to Landmine Monitor/HRW 26 July 2000.
[14] Landmine Monitor letters on this subject to Col. Tikos, Ministry of Defense, 17 February 2000; MoD responses 28 February 2000 and 21 March 2000.
[15] Email to Landmine Monitor/HRW, 26 July 2000.
[16] Article 7 Report, Hungary, 1 March 1999-27 August 1999, and 27 August 1999-25 April 2000.
[17] Article 7 Report, 1 March 1999-27 August 1999, Form G 1.
[18] Letter from Col. László Tikos, Ministry of Defense, 21 March 2000.
[19] Email to Landmine Monitor/HRW, 26 July 2000.
[20] Interview with Deputy Director-General Molnár, MWS plc, Törökbálint, 10 March 2000; Magyar Honvéd (Ed),“Eltaposott aknák,” A Honvédelmi Minisztérium hetilapja (weekly magazine of the Ministry of Defense), 10 April 1998, pp. 4-8.
[21] There are two other Hungarian antivehicle mines of concern, the CVP 1 Dual Purpose, which has a variable pressure fuze, and a nonmetallic-shaped ATM, whose designation is unknown. See Human Rights Watch Fact Sheet, “Antivehicle Mines with Antihandling Devices,” January 2000.
[22] Article 7 Reports, Form F, 27 August 1999, and 25 April 2000.
[23] Interviews with Deputy Director-General Molnár, Törökbálint, 10 March 2000, and Dr. László Deák, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Budapest, 25 February 2000; confirmed independently by two workers of MM, who wished to be unnamed.
[24] Interview with Dr. Deák and György Viczián, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Budapest, 25 February 2000.
[25] Ibid; Letter from Dr. Deák, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 25 February 2000; Letter from Lt. Col. László Lukács, Head of Technical Department of Bólyai János Military College of Technology, Zrínyi Miklós University of National Defense, 3 March 2000.
[26] Ibid; Telephone interview with Captain Lajos Posta, Head of the Reconnaissance Department of the First Bomb-disposal and Mine-searcher Battalion of the Hungarian Army (MH HTAZ), Budapest, 7 April 2000.
[27] Telephone interview with Dr. József Fehér, clerk to Nagybajom, 11 April 2000.
[28] Ibid.
[29] "Aknatelepítés a Drávaszögben," Magyar Hírlap, 25 April 1995, p. 27. Through the good offices of the Management of Duna-Dráva National Park, the Landmine Monitor researcher had the opportunity to inspect these areas in March 2000; details are available upon request.
[30] "KFOR-krónika," supplement to Magyar Honvéd, 12 March 2000, p. 14.
[31] László Kovács, former Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Hungary (1994-1998), Statement, in: ICBL Report, Regional Conference on Landmines, Budapest, 26-28 March 1998, pp. 4-9: “Hungary has undertaken to complete the elimination of her entire stockpile of anti-personnel landmines by December 31, 2000. We stand committed, however, to mobilize the necessary resources to accomplish this goal well before the end of this year.” This statement was understood at the time to commit Hungary to stockpile destruction by the end of 1998 and was reported as such in the Landmine Monitor Report 1999. For a fuller account of Agenda 98, see: Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 626-627.
[32] Telephone interview with György Viczián, military expert for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 12 May 2000.
[33] Telephone interview with Dr. András Blahó, President of the Advisory Board, Children for Children Foundation, 12 April 2000.