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Country Reports
BENIN, Landmine Monitor Report 2001
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Key developments since May 2000: Benin has set up an interministerial commission to consider the measures needed nationally to implement the Mine Ban Treaty. With French support, Benin is establishing a regional demining training center open to other African countries, which should become operational in mid-2002.

Mine Ban Policy

Benin signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997, ratified it on 25 September 1998, and became a State Party on 1 March 1999.

An interministerial commission made up of officials from the Ministries of Defense, Environment and Foreign Affairs was established in 2000 to consider Mine Ban Treaty national implementation measures.[77] As of June 2001, a draft has not been made available and no national implementation measure is yet applicable.

Two transparency reports as required Article 7 have been submitted to the United Nations: on 15 October 1999, for the period August-31 December 1999, and on 18 October 2000 for calendar year 2000. Benin submitted nil-reports except for Form A on national implementation measures. Benin did not attend the Second Meeting of State Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in September 2000, but did participate in the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in May 2001.

Benin voted in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution 55/33V, which calls for universalization and full implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty. Benin’s full support to this resolution is a part of a broader pro-ban policy; according to officials from the Ministry of Defense, Benin is firmly committed to peacekeeping policy in general and banning weapons such as antipersonnel mines.[78]

Benin attended the Seminar on Universalization and Implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty in Africa, held in Bamako, Mali, on 15-16 February 2000. It made an official statement on the importance of the Mine Ban Treaty,[79] and jointly with France proposed the establishment in Benin of a regional mine clearance training center for other African States.[80] The creation of such a center, which should be operational by mid-2002, is “a way to contribute to the implementation in Africa of the Ottawa Convention on Antipersonnel mines.”[81]

Benin is a State Party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons, but has not adhered to 1980 or Amended Protocol II.

Production, Transfer, Stockpiling, and Use

Benin has not produced, transferred or used antipersonnel mines. Benin does not have any stocks of antipersonnel mines, even for training purposes. Benin does not have a mine problem on its territory. There are no mine victims in Benin.

Mine Action

A training course for army officers on the management of mine clearance operations, for instance during regional peacekeeping activities, took place in Benin from 28 May to 5 July 2000. France provided material and technical support to the course, including 30 experts specialized in mine clearance techniques.[82] This has enabled the creation of an operational mine clearance section in Benin.

The future Benin regional mine clearance training center, to be located in Ouidah, will be managed by a Benin army officer, but will be open to all “African States without distinction of culture or military tradition: Anglophone, Francophone or Lusophone.”[83] Training sessions will allow the participants to manage demining operations in the field using their own military personnel. Courses will include instruction on techniques for demining and explosive ordnance disposal, stockpile destruction and mine awareness.

France confirmed its participation in the project, planning to provide, among other things, military experts with mine clearance training skills and teaching material.[84] The Belgian delegation in Bamako has indicated that the Ministry of Defense would consider supporting the project upon detailed written request.[85] This could include funding to cover the expenses of sending up to six trainees to attend a training course in Belgium.[86]

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[77] See Article 7 report, submitted 18 October 2000 for calendar year 2000.
[78] Interview with Lt-Col Karimou Seibou, Officer in charge of AP mine policy in Benin, Ministry of Defense, and Joseph Agani Atchade, Officer in charge of AP mine policy in Benin, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bamako, Mali, 16 February 2001. See also the joint statement by Benin and France: “Projet de création au Bénin d’un centre de formation au déminage” [Project for the creation in Benin of a demining training center], Bamako, Mali, 15-16 February 2001.
[79] Joint statement by Benin and France, Bamako, 15-16 February 2001.
[80] Ibid, and “Création au Bénin d’un centre de formation au déminage à vocation régionale, soutien de la France à l’initiative béninoise, éléments d’intervention” [Establishment in Benin of a regional demining training center, modalities of French support to the Benin initiative], Official document from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Direction générale des Affaires politiques et de Sécurité, Paris, 5 February 2001.
[81] Joint statement by Benin and France, Bamako, 15-16 February 2001.
[82] Ibid.
[83] Ibid.
[84] “Création au Bénin d’un centre de formation au déminage à vocation régionale, 5 February 2001.
[85] Interview with Col Baudouin Briot, Belgian Military Joint Staff, Operations Division, Department of Defense Policy and International Relations, Bamako, Mali, 16 February 2001, and telephone interview, 3 April 2001.
[86] Interview with an officer from the Belgian Ministry of Defense, Bamako, Mali, 16 February 2001.