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


Key developments since March 1999: Both FRY and KLA forces used mines in the fighting that ended on 9 June 1999. NATO forces dropped cluster bombs in the March-June bombing campaign. Since June 1999, extensive mine action programs have been carried out. As of 1 July 2000, sixteen commercial and nongovernmental organizations are engaged in mine clearance. Approximately 8 million square meters of land have been cleared, including 4,173 AP mines, 4,175 AT mines, 4,591 cluster bomblets, and 9,412 other UXO. As of 31 May 2000, 463 villages in high and medium impact areas have been provided mine awareness education; eleven organizations are engaged in mine awareness programs. From June 1999 to 31 May 2000, there were a total of 492 mine/UXO victims identified in Kosovo.


With the break-up of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) in 1992, Kosovo became the southernmost province of the new Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY). The FRY has been heavily dominated by its Serbian majority, while the majority population in Kosovo is ethnic Albanian. International pressure as a result of escalating conflict between the FRY armed forces and the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and increasingly repressive measures against civilians in Kosovo led to negotiations in Rambouillet, France in February-March 1999. As these talks broke down, Serbian forces began “ethnic cleansing,” forcing more than 800,000 Kosovars to flee to Albania and Macedonia.[1] With the stated objective of halting this process, on 24 March NATO launched a bombing campaign against the FRY and Serbian forces in Kosovo, which last lasted seventy-eight days. In the course of this conflict, large areas of Kosovo have been contaminated with mines and UXO.

In the agreement between the FRY and NATO on 9 June 1999, all FRY forces were withdrawn from the province and responsibility for the province’s security was transferred to KFOR. As a province of FRY, Kosovo lacked the administrative apparatus of government. To provide an interim administration, UN Security Council Resolution 1244 created the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). The ultimate status of the province remains undecided.

Mine Use by Yugoslav Forces

The FRY has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty. (See report on Yugoslavia.) Historically the SFRY was a major producer of mines, and it is estimated that the FRY inherited stockpiles of several million mines in 1992. Many were used in the conflicts in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1992-1995, but it is likely that large stocks remained at the start of the conflict.

Several Yugoslav armed forces were operating in Kosovo before and during the NATO air campaign. The Yugoslav Army (Vojska Jugoslovenska, or VJ) and Special Police forces operated in tandem with Serbian paramilitary forces under the control of the Serbian Interior Ministry known by the acronym MUP (Ministarstvo Unutrasnjih Poslova).

The Yugoslav Army laid extensive barrier minefields along its southern border. These minefields account for 75-80% of the mines laid in Kosovo. The majority are situated in remote border regions; many of them are marked.[2] The VJ also laid unmarked minefields around defensive positions in a wide variety of locations.[3] On occasion, Yugoslav forces also used booby-traps to target civilians.

The MUP Special Police and paramilitary forces laid many AP mines in and around civilian population centers. Evidence of such “nuisance mining” was found in Sicevo in Pec district, and most frequently in central Kosovo in Cabic, Donje Obrinje, Glogovac, Potart and Ujmir in Pristina district, and in Lubizba in Prizren district. “[M]any villages are afflicted with random mines laid with the sole aim of causing civilian casualties and thereby discouraging the return of refugees... are causing significant casualties and are denying access to farm land. This situation is most prevalent in villages formerly occupied by the MUP.” [4]

Yugoslav forces are reported to have used PMA-1/1A, PMA-2, PMA-3, and PMR-2A mines. PMA-1/1A mines have been found in many places, such as around the village of Veliki Krystac in the Prizren district. The PMA-2 was discovered on the forested paths of Trstenik near Pristina and in the Djakova area, and the PMA-3 in Kotradic in Pec district. Many PMR-2A mines have been found on the outskirts of Donja Dubnica in the northern Mitrovica district.[5]

Mine Use by the KLA

In June 1999, KLA leaders said that if the KLA were in a position to do so, it would sign the Mine Ban Treaty.[6] KLA use of mines in the preceding months casts doubt on such a statement. It is unknown where the KLA obtained its mines, although there had been unsubstantiated allegations that they obtained weapons from Albania.[7]

The KLA officially ceased to exist in September 1999 and stocks of weapons and ammunition, including mines, were handed over to KFOR before that date under the terms of an agreement for their demilitarization.[8] The agreement provided a timetable for the KLA to disarm itself, and contained specific provisions concerning landmines and related weaponry in which the KLA agreed not to place any more mines (section 10b), to mark their minefields and booby traps by 25 June (section 14a), to establish secure weapons storage sites by 28 June to be registered with and verified by KFOR (section 23a), and to store in the registered weapons storage sites all prohibited weapons, including landmines within thirty days or before 20 September (section 23f1).

But it is very likely that mines of all types continue to be held by individuals and by unofficial Kosovar Albanian and Serbian groups. The number of mines handed over to KFOR is classified and it is not possible to make any accurate estimates of that number. In June 2000 two large caches of weapons and ammunition, including several hundred mines, were discovered in central Kosovo, in the village of Klecka near a former KLA headquarters. The KLA denied responsibility.[9]

KLA officials including its chief mine clearance officer, Col. Bardhyl Tahiri, claimed that it never used AP mines during the conflict.[10] According to the Kosovo Mine Action Coordination Center (KMACC), KLA forces did use AP mines sporadically during the war, mainly nuisance mining, particularly on routes travelled by VJ forces.[11] They also laid minefields around their defensive positions, but to a significantly lesser degree than the VJ, having smaller material resources, less freedom of movement and being engaged in a more fluid form of warfare. The HALO Trust found variations of PMR fragmentation mines around the perimeter of a KLA safe house in the village of Krajkovo in Pristina district.[12]

The KLA predominantly used antitank mines.[13] Colonel Tahiri said that the KLA used antitank mines either captured or recovered from the VJ as well as AT mines improvised from components including explosive charges removed from Yugoslav AP mines. Most of the mines laid by the KLA were not properly recorded and the deaths of the combatants who laid them effectively erased any knowledge of their location.

According to UN sources, in the first weeks after KFOR entered Kosovo, the KLA systematically collected military ordnance for possible future use. In particular, the removal of stake mines from mixed stake and blast minefields resulted in the creation of some blast mine fields without any form of visible identification.

In the year since KFOR entered Kosovo in June 1999 there have continued to be reported and confirmed incidents of new mine use, particularly antitank mine use, by unknown persons, targeting the remaining Serbian population.[14] On 2 June 2000 near Preoce about seven kilometers west of Pristina, two people were killed and three injured in a mine explosion. On 15 June 2000 near Lepina two people were killed. KFOR now checks many roads and tracks each day.[15] On 22 March 2000 KFOR personnel discovered a device constructed from twenty-seven antitank mines on a road bridge north of Mitrovica, shortly after a railway bridge nearby had been destroyed by an explosion.[16]

On 29 July 2000, NATO recovered a large cache of weapons, including 80 mines.[17]

NATO Cluster Bomb Use

During the bombing campaign, the U.S. dropped 1,100 cluster bombs of the type CBU-87/B, each containing 202 BLU-97/B bomblets and the UK dropped 500 RBL/755 cluster bombs, each containing 147 BL-755 bomblets.[18] Thus, a combined total of 295,700 bomblets were dropped by NATO. Estimates of the “dud rate” of cluster bombs, that is, the percentage that fail to explode on contact as intended and thus become de facto antipersonnel mines, run from a conservative 5% to as high as 30%. Human Rights Watch has criticized NATO for use of cluster bombs in populated areas and reported that NATO cluster bomb use can be confirmed in seven incidents resulting in civilian casualties (another five are possible but unconfirmed); some ninety to 150 civilians died during the conflict from use of these weapons.[19]

Landmine Problem

Kosovo was littered with tens of thousands of antipersonnel landmines, mostly laid by FRY forces. Although it has been reported that some 500,000 mines were laid, KMACC has told Landmine Monitor that the actual number is likely to be around 50,000.[20] About eighty percent of the landmines are concentrated near the southern border, while nuisance mines are concentrated in the interior of the province. Additionally, it is estimated that 10-30,000 unexploded cluster bomblets and other UXO were to be found in the province at the end of the conflict.[21] Through its concerted efforts the international community quickly gained a remarkably full picture of the extent and variety of the mine/UXO problem in Kosovo, although data continues to be added. This initial information was gained from several sources.

On 13 June, the UK-based HALO Trust began a ten-week long minefield survey, in coordination with the KMACC in Pristina, which was completed in August 1999. The HALO report positively identified 252 areas with mines or unexploded ordnance (many areas containing multiple minefields), 684 villages which were found to be free of war debris, as well as 269 villages where it was uncertain (due to lack of information) whether or not they were affected.[22]

A second source was the hundreds of maps of known minefields that the VJ began to provide to KFOR on 19 June 1999, as required under the agreement ending the war.[23] The first maps handed over identified 425 distinct minefields, but NATO engineers working under KFOR soon concluded that although at least eighty percent of the records coincided with their own ground observations, many of the maps and other information lacked sufficient detail to be useful. KFOR asked the VJ to revise the maps, and on 5 August, records marking 616 minefields were provided; one minefield was a duplicate, leaving the net total number of minefields identified by the VJ as 615. This has since been amended to 620.[24]

This second set of more comprehensive records showed sixty of the original 425 minefields in different locations,[25] and KMACC found gaps in many areas especially in heavily mined areas in the south of the province near Macedonia and Albania; the quality of the maps was highly variable.[26] Nevertheless, this information suggested that the great majority of mines were concentrated in the south near the borders with Macedonia and Albania. An unknown number of mines were buried on the Albanian side of the border. (See Landmine Monitor Report 2000-Albania).[27]

Another source of less complete and reliable information were KLA officers indicating locations where they had used landmines during the conflict. Colonel Tahiri reported that the KLA did not have maps of its mines, but had cleared all the mines that it had used.[28] He also said the KLA has provided KMACC with complete information about its clearance activities, yet the KMACC program manager said that the KLA had reported only a few of their mine clearance activities to his office,[29] and KFOR officials said that the KLA had registered relatively few mines with them.[30]

A fourth source was the mapping coordinates for the areas attacked with cluster bombs by NATO during the conflict; although initially reluctant to provide “classified information,” after international pressure the data was given to KMACC. The records indicated 333 separate targeted areas.[31] The final ongoing source of information has been reports being filed daily with KMACC by KFOR forces, nongovernmental organizations, commercial contractors and others operating under U.N. auspices in Kosovo.

Mine Action Funding

Funding for mine action in Kosovo has been a mixture of direct funding to NGOs and commercial companies and the establishment of a UN Voluntary Trust Fund (VTF) for Kosovo. As of 31 May 2000, approximately $6.83 million had been contributed to the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Kosovo, and an additional $600,000 pledged. Contributions are outlined in the table below.[32]

Table 1. Contributions to the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Kosovo as of 31 May 2000

Date Funds Received
Amount (US$)
European Union
European Union
San Marino
United Kingdom

Funds Pledged
European Union

Total Funds

Table 2. Funding of mine action organizations 1999-2000[33]

Funding (governmental unless stated otherwise).
BACTEC International Ltd.
U.K. Department for International Development (DFID).
Operating in MNB (N), MNB (C) and MNB (E).
MNB = MultiNational Brigade area)
Danish Church Aid / Action by Churches Together (DCA/ACT)
Denmark. Operating in MNB (W).
Defence Systems Ltd.
U.K. DFID. Senior partner in MNB (S).
EMERCOM (Russia)
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
European Landmine Solutions Ltd. (ELS)
UK DFID. Operating in MNB (W) and MNB (S).
HALO Trust
U.K. DFID, Ireland, Japan, Switzerland, the Netherlands, International Trust Fund (ITF) using funds from United States, Germany and Czech Republic, bilateral agreements with AAR of Japan and Pro Victimis.
Operating in MNB (W). Senior Partner in MNB (C).
Handicap International
Operating in MNB (W). Senior Partner for Djakove Municipality.
HELP (Germany)
Germany through the ITF (with matching US funds).
International Demining Alliance of Canada Inc.
Italy and ECHO. Operating in MNB (W).
Mines Advisory Group
Manual teams funded by World Vision and ECHO. Flail funded by U.K. DFID. Senior Partner MNB (N).
MACC core assets funded using EU contributions to VTF and donation by Belgium. Senior Partner MNB (E).
Mine Clear International Ltd
Funded using EU contributions to VTF. MACC core assets operating Province-wide.
Norwegian People’s Aid
Norway. Flails donated by Finland.
Senior Partner MNB (W).
U.S. Operating in MNB (E).
Swiss Federation for Demining
Working in support of ICRC Safer Village Program.

Mine Action Coordination and Planning

UNMIK was mandated to "establish, as soon as possible, a Mine Action Center to deal with the threat posed to the returnees and internally displaced persons by landmines and unexploded ordnance."[34] Accordingly, the United Nations Mine Action Service established a Mine Action Coordination Center (KMACC) in Pristina, which became operational on 17 June 1999, five days after the entry of KFOR into the province.[35]

Mine action in Kosovo is based on lessons learned in other mine-affected areas, including Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to John Flanagan, the Program Manager of KMACC, “[W]e are not reinventing the wheel. The lessons have been hard learned over time and we cannot ignore them.”[36]

There are three fundamental aspects of the Mine Action Program (MAP) in Kosovo. From its inception, KMACC has concentrated on coordination and the setting and enforcement of standards, without attempting to engage directly in clearance operations. It has not opened regional offices but has appointed implementing agencies as “senior partners” in each of the MultiNational Brigade (MNB) areas. Second, there is a realistic and structured mine action plan for containing the landmine/UXO problem and then scaling down international assistance and handing the program over to the local implementing agency, the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC). Whether or not this happens on time or without problems remains to be seen, but donors, the UN and international NGOs have a clear timetable on which to plan. Third, compared with previous mine action programs, KMACC activities are effectively integrated into the overall reconstruction plan for Kosovo.

Mine action planning for Kosovo is based on the premise that the problem can be brought under control through a three-year program. In order to achieve this, the program has been divided into three distinct phases, the first two of which have been completed:[37]

  • Preliminary Phase: key activities in Kosovo included mine awareness training to refugees in camps before they returned to the mine-affected area, rapid assessment of the mine/UXO threat, establishment of a Mine Action Coordination Center in Pristina as the focal point for humanitarian mine action activities, and establishment of a victim surveillance system. This phase is now complete.
  • Emergency Phase: key activities included mined area verification/survey; Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) tasks; battle area clearance; mine/UXO clearance of houses, key installations, essential infrastructure and mined areas; building local capacity; ongoing mine awareness; and development of victim assistance capacities. This phase was completed on 31 December 1999.
  • Consolidation Phase: the transition from Emergency to Consolidation Phase activities in Kosovo involved the development of an integrated plan for mine action. The plan builds upon the foundation created during the Emergency Phase, particularly with regard to the local capacity developed over this period by NGOs. The objectives of this third phase include the systematic clearance of mines, reduction in casualties through effective mine awareness, rehabilitation and reintegration assistance to mine victims, and development of institutional arrangements upon which the medium to long-term requirements for mine action will be based.

The plan will also integrate the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) into the Mine Action Program, as the indigenous organization tasked to assist with mine/UXO clearance. Reliance on international assistance will decrease in a controlled manner as part of a deliberate exit strategy, including reduction in the number of local deminers as mined areas become cleared. This is necessary to ensure that there is a phased reintegration of personnel into employment outside mine action.

In order to achieve the objective of clearing all high priority areas in 2000, emphasis is placed on the integration of manual teams, mechanical assets and Explosive Detection Dog (EDD) teams, which greatly increases the efficiency of clearance operations. This integrated approach will lead to a significant amount of land being returned to productive use without the necessity for full-scale manual clearance operations. Level 2 survey activities are being developed to pinpoint the exact location of the mined areas, prior to beginning clearance activities at a particular site. The MACC philosophy for Quality Control is to systematically inspect each clearance site at various stages of the process. The combination of these checks will constitute a comprehensive evaluation of the standards to which activities have been completed. KMACC has contracted the services of an independent QC capacity for this purpose.

Having entered the Consolidation Phase at the start of 2000, the mine action objectives for this year are the clearance of all high priority mined or dangerous areas, clearance of all cluster munition sites, the reduction of casualties through effective mine awareness and support to the existing prosthetic and rehabilitation capacities in addition to psychosocial and vocational training activities. For these aims to be attained, KMACC made several assumptions, that current levels of support would continue with additional assets as required, and that weather would permit a full work season. Two other assumptions were that there is no significant increase in reported dangerous/mined areas, and that all cluster strike areas can be rapidly surveyed and marked. KFOR units have been assigned responsibility for this latter task.

The success so far of the operation in Kosovo has brought within sight the broader humanitarian objectives of the Mine Ban Treaty. The KMACC stated, “Finally, in Kosovo, there is the possibility of fulfilling the requirements of the Ottawa Treaty, even though the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is not a signatory. By reinforcing the success that has been achieved to date, this situation could be realised in a period of three years. This would be a tremendous achievement both symbolically and physically, and the international community could be justifiably proud of this result. Conversely, any reduction in effort at this point could mean that this period is measured in decades, not years.”[38]

Survey and Prioritization

As noted above, on 13 June 1999, the UK-based HALO Trust began a ten-week long minefield survey, in coordination with KMACC in Pristina, which was completed in August 1999. The HALO Trust level 1 survey was designed to locate battle debris that posed an immediate risk to the civilian population. Based on interviews with repatriated refugees and other residents, and assessments by HALO experts in vehicles and on foot, the survey focused on affected or potentially affected areas in and around populated villages and towns. Six teams covered every accessible village over a ten-week period beginning on 13 June, four days after the end of the war. They later provided 1,205 survey reports of specifically affected areas to KMACC. The HALO report positively identified 252 areas with mines or unexploded ordnance (many areas containing multiple minefields), 684 villages which were found to be free of war debris, as well as 269 villages where it was uncertain (due to lack of information) whether or not they were affected.[39]

The core tool facilitating coordination and task prioritization is the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA), a mine action management package developed for the UN by the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining in collaboration with UN Mine Action Service. The system has been used operationally for the first time in Kosovo. It is made up of a database that holds mine/UXO information and a Geographic Information System to display and map data, which can be produced on a scale of 1:50,000.

The survey information provided by the HALO Trust was the first data entered into IMSMA, and gave an initial indication of the location and scale of contamination. The Survey Action Center (SAC) was then contracted to tailor a specific software solution to combine data from a wide variety of sources[40] and the initial HALO assessment. A socio-economic impact index was created and information aggregated at the district level for the 320 districts of Kosovo. Classification of dangerous areas and district remains flexible enough to absorb reconstruction priorities as they are created.

The methodology has proven to be statistically highly accurate. According to KMACC, “As a result of the Survey, each district within the Province has been categorised as having a High, Moderate, Low or Nil impact as the result of mine/UXO contamination. Furthermore, each individual mined or dangerous area can be characterised in the same way, based on its effect on agricultural development, proximity to habitation or lines of communication, and impact on activities such as firewood collection. Based on these criteria, 760 out of a total 1,926 recorded dangerous areas have been classified as having a high impact. This degree of analysis enables a clear definition of priorities for clearance, as well as identifying where other activities such as mine awareness must be placed as a minimum activity....”[41]

Mine/UXO Clearance

As of July 2000, there are sixteen international commercial and nongovernmental organizations engaged in mine and UXO clearance. Although KFOR has made some preparations for the return of the VJ to clear mines as required by the Military Technical Agreement, the decision to implement this rests with Commander KFOR based on his assessment of the security situation. The VJ has not returned as yet because of security risks.

Table 3. Organizations engaged in mine and UXO clearance in Kosovo, July 2000[42]



BACTEC International Ltd.
Four CBU clearance teams and two EOD teams.
Danish Church Aid / Action by Churches Together (DCA/ACT)
84 manual mine clearance personnel; access to Hydrema Flail (Danish Battalion KFOR)
Defence Systems Ltd.
Four manual clearance teams and two ready response teams.
EMERCOM (Russia)
Twenty deminers and two Explosive Detecting Dog (EDD) teams (four dogs total).
European Landmine Solutions Ltd. (ELS)
Six CBU clearance teams, and three EOD teams.
HALO Trust
Two hundred mine clearance personnel, three CBU clearance teams, four Case rollers and a crusher.
Handicap International
Two manual teams and one EDD team (two dogs).
HELP (Germany)
Two manual clearance teams.
International Demining Alliance of Canada Inc.
Two manual clearance teams. One mini-flail (Bozena). One EDD team (two dogs). One EOD team.
One Manual Team and two EOD teams.
Mines Advisory Group
One mine action team, Minecat flail, one Minecat support team of 7 deminers.
Mine Tech
Two manual teams and four EDD teams (MACC core assets).
Two manual teams and two EDD teams (UNHCR)
Mine Clear International Ltd
One Armtrac heavy flail and one Bozena mini-flail
Norwegian People’s Aid
Four manual mine clearance teams. Two Sisu flails as MACC assets.
Five CBU clearance teams
Swiss Federation for Demining
Three rapid response teams


Mine/UXO Awareness

As with mine survey and clearance, mine awareness is coordinated through KMACC. After a chaotic start with too many NGOs trying to implement mine awareness programs with no experience and no attempt at coordination, KMACC together with UNICEF have been able to coordinate and rationalise the system.

Mine awareness programs can be designed to target specific groups. As analysis of mine victim data shows that males between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five are the most at-risk group of the population, an awareness campaign targeting this group is currently being implemented. A child orientated awareness program is being implemented to cover the gap until mine awareness education becomes part of the school curriculum in November 2000. This activity will be launched in conjunction with the ongoing Safer Village projects and safe play area-marking schemes. The Safer Village concept examines the specific needs of a village and tries to provide alternatives to risk-taking behavior. This may mean the provision of firewood in winter until forests where wood has traditionally been collected are cleared on mines. The Child-to-Child program focuses on the child as a trainer of other children, and on parents in the home using traditional games and activities to reinforce mine awareness messages over a longer period of time. An additional benefit has been children using information gained in this program to report mines and UXO in the locality to village adults and KFOR personnel.

There are eleven organizations currently carrying out mine awareness programs in Kosovo, as outlined in the table below. Additional mine awareness capacity is expected from HMD Response using U.S. government funding through the International Trust Fund.

Table 4. Organizations currently implementing mine awareness programs[44]


Senior Partner in MNB (S)
HALO Trust
Two mine awareness teams
Bilateral agreement with AAR Japan. Operating in MNB (W).
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
Safer Village Community mine awareness teams.
Active in all but four of the twenty-nine municipalities
Islamic Relief Worldwide
Imam and Child to Child Programs
Funded using EU contribution to VTF.
Teams from Sweden, Finland and France accredited by the MACC to conduct mine awareness.

Mines Advisory Group
Seven teams
4 Child to child training.
3 Community-based mine awareness. MNB (N, E, S)
Mines Awareness Trust
Two teams
Operating in MNB (W).
Child to Child and Train the Trainer programs.
Community-based mine awareness teams
Operating in support of MineTech
Clearance operations.
Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA)
Two mine awareness teams
Operating in MNB (W) in support of NPA clearance operations. Funded using EU contribution to VTF.
Save the Children

School Curriculum development funded by UNICEF.
Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVAF)
Youth Program
Funded by MACC using EU contribution to VTF.

Note: MNB refers to MultiNational Brigade

Some 1,973 villages have been classified as being in low, medium and high impact areas. As of 31 May 2000, 209 villages of the 425 in the high impact areas (49%) had been reached with mine awareness programs. Of the 537 villages in the medium impact areas, 47%, or 254, had been involved in mine awareness activities.[45] Mine awareness efforts by activity are described in the table below.

Table 5. Mine awareness by activity as of 31 May 2000[46]

Child to Child
Total Activities
High impact
Medium impact

Note: This table describes the number of villages that are either in a Medium or High Impact area and does not include figures for villages located in Low Impact areas.

Mine/UXO Casualties

In the five months after the end of the war on 9 June 1999, 800,000 refugees returned to Kosovo.[47] During this period there were many mine casualties, despite the fact that mine awareness programs had been carried out in refugee camps before their return. From 7-14 July 1999, the World Health Organization (WHO) conducted an assessment of the number of people injured or killed by mines and UXO in the four weeks following the end of the conflict, based on data from Kosovo’s six hospitals and the KMACC database. It estimated that in the four weeks following 13 June 1999, 150 people were maimed or killed by mines and UXO: “[T]his corresponds to a monthly incidence rate of 10 per 100,00 population (an annualised rate of 120 per 100,000). Seventy-one per cent of the survivors are younger than twenty-four.... Nineteen per cent of the seventy-five patients interviewed were injured during demining efforts by the Kosovo Liberation Army. In some areas 35% and 42% of hospital beds in the surgical and orthopaedic wards are occupied by survivors of explosions of mines or unexploded ordnance.”[48] WHO commented that this rate far exceeds that found in many other countries affected by mines.[49]

Between June 1999 and 31 May 2000, there have been more than 492 people involved in mine/UXO incidents. Of these, ninety-eight have died and the remainder have sustained injuries ranging from traumatic loss of limbs to minor wounds. Following the decline of casualties over winter, the rate of casualties has risen recently to approximately fifteen per month.[50] The resources currently available to deal with the immediate and follow-up specialized treatment for mine victims are inadequate. Unexploded cluster munitions appear to pose the greatest threat, particularly to children. As of June 2000, about 80 children (0–18 years) had been killed or injured by these UXO compared to about 60 child victims from antipersonnel mines. [51]

Since 1 June 1999, the overall victim rate is 15.4 per 100,000 population, and mortality rate is 4.9 per 100,000 population. Based on mortality data from 1994, mine/UXO injuries represent the fourteenth leading cause of death in Kosovo. There is one death for every five mine/UXO victims injured.[52]

There have been ten casualties among mine clearance personnel up to July 2000. Five incidents involved traumatic amputations of the lower leg through mine blast, two involved blast injuries to one foot (with minor, non-permanent damage to the foot), two involved blast injuries from close proximity to mine/UXO detonations (both non-permanent injuries) and one involved minor damage (non-permanent injury) to the hand.[53] Numerous casualties to KFOR personnel have also been reported in the press.[54]

Survivor Assistance

In Kosovo, the lead agency for victim assistance is the World Health Organization which, with the ICRC and a number of NGO partners such as Handicap International and the Mother Theresa Society, are developing the means to provide comprehensive medical and rehabilitation care to mine victims. However, this will take some time, as much of the public health system and services had deteriorated in recent years and will require considerable effort to be upgraded. By February 2000 Handicap International had registered 482 amputees (of which, seventy-three percent were adult men, sixteen percent adult women, eleven percent children).[55] Not all of these are mine victims. There is one prosthetics center in Kosovo, in Pristina. In addition, the International Trust Fund of Slovenia has provided rehabilitation assistance to a number of mine victims.[56]

Table 6. Organizations with current victim assistance programs[57]

Handicap International
Prosthetic and rehabilitation support.

Victim surveillance system
In conjunction with WHO and MACC
Victim assistance outreach program
Funded by EU contribution to VTF.
Victim assistance point of contact


[1] Human Rights Watch, Human Rights Watch World Report 2000 (Human Rights Watch: New York, December 1999), pp. 314-316.
[2] Consolidated Minefield Survey Results: Kosovo, the HALO Trust, Pristina, 14 August 1999.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid., p.8.
[6] Meeting with representatives of the military and political sides of the KLA, and ICBL Ambassador Jody Williams and then-Canadian Landmine Ambassador Jill Sinclair, Pristina, Kosovo, 30 June 1999.
[7] Landmine Monitor Report 1999, p. 829.
[8] The Undertaking of Demilitarisation and Transformation by the UCK [KLA] was signed on 21 June 1999 by KFOR Commander Lt. Gen. Mike Jackson and KLA Commander-in-Chief, Hashim Thaci.
[9] ”Peacekeepers Seize Kosovo Weapons Cache,” Reuters and New York Times, 18 June 2000; “Kosovo Rebel Commander Denies Hiding Weapons,” Baltimore Sun, 19 June 2000; “KFOR Finds Largest Weapons Cache Yet,” European Stars and Stripes, 20 June 2000, p. 6.
[10] Human Rights Watch interview with the Col. Tahiri, KLA headquarters, Pristina, 1 September 1999; Human Rights Watch interview with Col. Tahiri, Salihu Veseli, Chief of Demilitarization, and Commandant Remi, KLA headquarters, Pristina, 4 September 1999.
[11] Report (untitled), Kosovo Mine Action Coordination Center, UNMIK, August 1999.
[12] Consolidated Minefield Survey, HALO Trust, 24 August 1999, p. 50.
[13] KLA officers provided KMACC officials with some information about their use of antitank mines during the conflict and their clearance of antipersonnel mines after the war. The information was incomplete and made only a marginal contribution to the international community's knowledge about the extent of battle debris left behind from the war. Human Rights Watch interviews with Lt. Col. John Flanagan, Program Manager, KMACC, 1 September 1999, and with Col. Bardhyl Tahiri, KLA chief mine clearance officer with KMACC, 1 and 3 September 1999.
[14] Email from KMACC, 30 June 2000; Danica Kirka, “Two Serbs Killed, 3 Injured in Land Mine Explosion,” Associated Press, 2 June 2000; Threat Factsheet No. 5, KMACC, (undated).
[15] Email to Landmine Monitor/Kosovo from KMACC, 30 June 2000; Danica Kirka, “Two Serbs Killed, 3 Injured in Land Mine Explosion”, Associated Press, 2 June 2000.
[16] Threat Factsheet No. 5, KMACC, (undated).
[17] Eric B. Pilgrim, “KFOR Seizes Illegal Arsenal,” European Stars and Stripes, 1 August 2000, p. 2.
[18] See, Human Rights Watch, “Civilian Deaths in the NATO Air Campaign,” February 2000. See also, HRW, “Cluster Bombs: Memorandum for CCW Delegates,” 16 December 1999, and HRW, “Ticking Time Bombs: NATO’s Use of Cluster Munitions in Yugoslavia,” May 1999.
[19] HRW, “Civilian Deaths,” p. 2.
[20] Email from Lt. Col. John Flanagan, Program Manager, KMACC, to Landmine Monitor (Mary Wareham), 1 August 2000. Landmine Monitor is grateful to John Flanagan for providing comments on the draft Landmine Monitor report.
[21] KMACC has estimated that there are up to 30,000 unexploded bomblets in Kosovo. The Mine and UXO Situation in Kosovo, KMACC, 15 June 2000. Human Rights Watch noted a conservative estimate of 5% would mean 15,000 unexploded bomblets from cluster munitions. See footnote 16. Others give failure rates of ten percent or more. See Rae McGrath, “Cluster Bombs: The Military Effectiveness and Impact on Civilians of Cluster Munitions,” UK Working Group on Landmines, August 2000. The HALO Trust estimated 10,000 UXO. Consolidated Minefield Survey Results, 14 August 1999, p. 3.
[22] Consolidated Minefield Survey Results, the HALO Trust, Pristina, 14 August 1999.
[23] Military Technical Agreement Between the International Security Force (KFOR) and the Governments of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Republic of Serbia, 9 June 1999, p. 4.
[24] Email from Lt. Col. John Flanagan, Program Manager, KMACC, to Landmine Monitor (Mary Wareham), 1 August 2000.
[25] Human Rights Watch interviews with KMACC and KFOR officials in Pristina, 23-27 August 1999.
[26] Human Rights Watch interview with Chris Clark, Operations Officer, KMACC, 26 August 1999.
[27] Human Rights Watch interviews with KMACC and KFOR officials in Pristina, 23-27 August 1999; HALO Trust Senior Survey Officer quoted in: “Profiles, Eastern Europe & the Caucasus: Kosovo,” Journal of Mine Acton, 1, 4.1 (Spring issue), p. 80.
[28] Human Rights Watch interview with Col. Tahiri, KLA, Pristina, 1 September 1999.
[29] Human Rights Watch interview with the Lt. Col. Flanagan, KMACC, Pristina, 1 September 1999.
[30] Human Rights Watch interview with KFOR officers, Pristina, from 24 August to 3 September 1999.
[31] Al J. Venter, “The Prom 1: Waiting on the Ground for Deminers in Kosovo,” Journal of Mine Action, 1.4.1 (Spring issue) 2000, pp. 12-16.
[32] Mine Action Capacity Operating in Kosovo over the Reporting Period, UNMIK KMACC quarterly report 1 March-31 May 2000, Annex A.
[33] Mine Action Capacity Operating in Kosovo over the Reporting Period, UNMIK KMACC quarterly report 1 March-31 May 2000, Annex A. MNB is MultiNational Brigade area.
[34] UN Security Council Report of the Secretary General pursuant to Paragraph 10 of Security Resolution 1244 (1999).
[35] Report (untitled), Kosovo Mine Action Co-ordination Center, UNMIK, August 1999; responsibility for KMACC was assigned to the office of the Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, responsible for Humanitarian Affairs. This office forms the first pillar of the UNMIK structure, the other three being Civil Administration (UN), Institutional Building (OSCE) and Reconstruction (EU).
[36] Email from KMACC, 30 June 2000.
[37] UNMIK Mine Action Programme, Operational Plan for Consolidation Phase, Mine/UXO Clearance, KMACC, 13 December 1999.
[38] The Mine and UXO Situation in Kosovo, Public Information document, Kosovo Mine Action Co-ordination Center, 15 June 2000, p. 7.
[39] Consolidated Minefield Survey Results: Kosovo, the HALO Trust, Pristina, 14 August 1999.
[40] Sources of data include: UNMIK, UNHCR, FAO, WFP, IMG, WHO, ICRC.
[41] The Mine and UXO Situation in Kosovo, KMACC, 15 June 2000, p. 5.
[42] Mine Action Capacity Operating in Kosovo over the Reporting Period, UNMIK KMACC quarterly report 1 March-31 May 2000, Annex A. Amendments to MAG section provided in email from Tim Carstairs, Communications Manager, MAG to Landmine Monitor (Mary Wareham, Human Rights Watch), 28 July 2000.
[43] The Mine and UXO Situation in Kosovo, KMACC, 15 June 2000, p. 3.
[44] Mine Action Capacity Operating in Kosovo over the Reporting Period, UNMIK KMACC quarterly report 1 March-31 May 2000, Annex A. Amendments to MAG section provided in email from Tim Carstairs, Communications Manager, MAG to Landmine Monitor (Mary Wareham, Human Rights Watch), 28 July 2000.
[45] Ibid.
[46] The Mine and UXO Situation in Kosovo, KMACC, 15 June 2000 p., 4.
[47] Kosovo: Emergency Bulletin 21, Save the Children, November 1999, p. 1; for details of casualties in Yugoslav minefields over the Albanian border see report on Albania in Landmine Monitor Report 2000.
[48] E. G. Krug and A. Gjini, “Number of Land Mine Victims in Kosovo in High,” British Medical Journal, 14 August 1999, p. 450.
[49] WHO Finds Heavy Toll from Land Mines in Kosovo, Press Release, World Health Organization, 15 July 1999.
[50] The Mine and UXO Situation in Kosovo, KMACC, 15 June 2000, p. 4.
[51] UNMIK MACC, extrapolated from IMSMA database, June 2000; original data from the ICRC.
[52] UNMIK MACC, extrapolated from IMSMA database by Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, June 2000; original data from ICRC.
[53] Email from Lt. Col. Flanagan, KMACC, 12 July 2000.
[54] “German Soldiers Wounded in Kosovo Minefield,” Reuters, 23 September 1999; “One Peacekeeper Killed, Five injured in Kosovo,” Associated Press, 23 September 1999; “US Soldier Killed in Mine Explosion in Kosovo,” FBIS, 16 December 1999; “Soldiers Injured in Kosovo Landmine Blast,” Financial Times, 30 December 1999.
[55] Activity Report on the Activities of the National Orthoprosthetic Workshop, August 1999-February 2000, Handicap International, Pristina, undated; Synthesis Report of Operation, Handicap International, Pristina, January 2000, p. 6.
[56] Email from John Flanagan, KMACC, to Landmine Monitor, 1 August 2000.
[57] Mine Action Capacity Operating in Kosovo over the Reporting Period, UNMIK KMACC quarterly report 1 March-31 May 2000, Annex A.