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ALBANIA, Landmine Monitor Report 2002


Key developments since May 2001: On 4 April 2002, Albania completed the destruction of its stockpile of 1,683,860 antipersonnel mines. No mines are being retained for training or development purposes. Albania has identified a total of 85 contaminated areas, totaling 14 million square meters of land. Lack of funding has hampered clearance efforts. During 2001, a total of 302,000 square meters of land was cleared, including 744 antipersonnel mines. There were nine new mine and UXO casualties in 2001, a significant reduction from the previous year. Albania submitted its initial Article 7 Report in April 2002.


The Republic of Albania signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 8 September 1998 and ratified it on 29 February 2000, becoming a State Party on 1 August 2000. Law 8547 of 11 November 1999 gave legal force in Albania to its general obligations under the treaty, but does not include the penal sanctions required by Mine Ban Treaty Article 9. Additional legislation said to be in preparation in early 2000 remains uncompleted.[1]Albania attended the Third Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in September 2001 in Managua, Nicaragua. It also participated in the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in January and May 2002.[2] In January, a progress report on the stockpile destruction project was given and in May, the delegation reported on the successful completion on 4 April 2002 of stockpile destruction and also presented details of the mine clearance program (see later sections).

The initial transparency report required by Mine Ban Treaty Article 7, due on 28 January 2001, was submitted to the United Nations on 3 April 2002 (though dated 10 January 2002). It covers calendar year 2001. It contains detailed information on the stockpile of antipersonnel mines and the destruction program.[3]

On 29 November 2001, Albania voted in favor of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 56/24M in support of the Mine Ban Treaty.

Albania is not a party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) or its Amended Protocol II. It was expected that Albania would accede to the CCW by early 2002;[4] the relevant ministries had forwarded the necessary documents to the Council of Ministers for signature and ratification by Parliament, but the Prime Minister’s resignation on 29 January 2002 halted the process.[5] Albania participated as an observer in the Third Annual Conference of States Parties to Amended Protocol II and the Second CCW Review Conference in December 2001.


In 2001 and the first half of 2002 there were no reports of new use of mines within Albania.[7]

Antipersonnel mine production officially ceased in 1991. Albania possessed two antipersonnel mine manufacturing facilities – ULP Mjekës in central Albania and KM Poliçan in the south. Neither facility still possesses equipment unique to antipersonnel mine manufacture, and both have converted their activities to ammunition demilitarization under the auspices of government and NATO projects.[8]

The Albanian government has not expressed a position on the legality of transit of antipersonnel mines through its territory by a non-State Party, nor on the legality of other States engaging in activities involving antipersonnel mines on Albanian territory. In 1999, US Army engineer units reportedly deployed to Albania with antipersonnel mines and their delivery systems as part of Task Force Hawk to support operations in Kosovo. According to the source of the information, most of the US Army units deployed from bases in Germany. At the time of this deployment, Albania was a signatory to the Mine Ban Treaty and Germany was a State Party.[9]


At the Third Meeting of States Parties, Albania announced, “The project of destroying the Albanian stockpile of antipersonnel mines has already begun on 29 June 2001, and will progress to completion by April 2002.”[10] Stockpile destruction was completed on 4 April 2002.[11]

The stockpile destruction program, carried out in converted former antipersonnel mine production facilities at ULP Mjekës, was completed ahead of schedule, under the management of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Maintenance and Supply Agency (NAMSA).[12] Albania’s Article 7 Report indicated that Albania possessed four types of antipersonnel mines, totaling 1,607,420 and “held at 57 different secure military storage depots locations throughout Albania.”[13] In the last stages of stockpile destruction, an additional 76,440 antipersonnel mines were discovered, so that a total of 1,683,860 antipersonnel mines were destroyed.[14]

The Albanian Armed Forces transported the mines from their stockpile locations to the destruction facility, covering 410,000 kilometers in the process. The NAMSA team also traveled to Sazan Island in the Adriatic Sea to locate and destroy 8,100 antipersonnel mines by open detonation in a three-day operation assisted by the US Navy 8th Mobile Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Team from European Command (EUCOM) Sigonella. The program included a two-day operation led by General Karoli, Commander of the Albanian Land Forces, to recover mines from the former rebel stronghold of Lazarat in the south of Albania, as well as 5,350 antipersonnel mines sealed in tunnels since 1997.[15]

The army transportation agency and ULP Mjekës declared that there were no accidents during the stockpile destruction program.[16]

The stockpile destruction program was the first NATO Partnership for Peace Trust Fund project, and was co-sponsored by Albania and Canada, and financed by Austria, Belgium, Canada, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Albania’s contribution was to provide office facilities in Tirana for the NAMSA project supervision team and military transportation of the mines. The project costs were offset by recycling of ferrous metals (1,100 tons, from which KM Poliçan is making manhole covers and Kurum International is making steel reinforcing rods) and of TNT explosives (192 tons, converted into about 2,000 tons of ammonite explosive for construction use). The program is reported to have been completed at below the projected cost of US$790,000 (approximately 45 US cents per mine).[17]

Albania has chosen not to utilize the Article 3 exception. It has concluded “there are no justifiable reasons for the retention” of antipersonnel mines “for training or any other purpose,” and has therefore destroyed its entire antipersonnel mine stockpile.[18]

At the Standing Committee meetings in January 2002 there was discussion of the possibility of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) transferring its stockpile of antipersonnel mines to Albania for destruction. The Head of the Albanian Mine Action Executive (AMAE) said that Albania had offered assistance and premises for transferring the stockpile for destruction, but as of mid-May 2002 the FYROM had not responded.[19]


The existing mine problem derives from two sources: looting in 1997 when mines and other weaponry were stolen from military storage sites, and the 1998/1999 conflict in Kosovo which led to the Albanian border area being contaminated by mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) of Serbian, Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), and NATO origin.[20]

During the civil unrest and looting in early 1997, explosions in 15 ammunition depots killed civilians[21] and contaminated surrounding areas with UXO; these areas were termed “hotspots.” Ismet Miftari, the chief of Albanian EOD, estimated in April and May 2000 that 600,000 antipersonnel mines were looted during the civil disorder.[22] An extensive national and international process of collecting and destroying looted weaponry has been conducted in Albania since 1999. On 15 April 2002, Ana Stjarnerklint, the UN Development Program (UNDP) Resident Representative in Tirana, was reported as saying that “150,000 weapons have been collected, 116,000 have been destroyed, and 100,000 to 150,000 have been taken (smuggled) out of the country.... This leaves about 250,000 still in circulation, and this is a dangerously high level.” The same report referred to “500,000 light weapons” being looted in 1997.[23] The reports of these activities make no specific references to mines, but the UNDP technical representative confirmed that the collections do include mines.[24]

No information has been reported on how the collection and selection processes are supervised. Albania’s Article 7 Report does not state whether and how the Mine Ban Treaty prohibitions have been made known to the population in general, or to the police and other officials involved in the collection process.

In 1998 and 1999, areas close to the border with Kosovo were said to be contaminated with antipersonnel and antivehicle mines as well as UXO of Serbian, KLA and NATO origin.[25] Albania’s Article 7 report states that mine contamination “is limited to the Albania-Kosovo border.... During the Kosovo crisis in 1998-1999, Serb military and paramilitary forces laid large numbers of mines along the Kosovo border with northern Albania. In addition to defensive minefields within Kosovo it was discovered that mines were also laid within Albanian territory as a defensive measure, where topographical and tactical conditions made this necessary, and also as an interdiction measure against assembly points and infiltration routes being used by the [KLA].”[26] The mines are a combination of antipersonnel mines (PMA-1, PMA-2 and PMA-3 blast mines, PROM and PMR-2A fragmentation mines) and antivehicle mines (TMM-1, TMA-4 and TMA-5), almost all of Yugoslav manufacture.[27]

A total of 85 contaminated areas have been identified, in the districts of Tropojë, Has, and Kukës, totaling 1,400 hectares (14 million square meters) of land. Contamination is reported of some 120 kilometers of border up to 400 meters into Albania, as well as some isolated munition impact areas up to 20 kilometers beyond the border.[28] The Article 7 report provides details of each mine-contaminated area.[29] These areas are mainly forest, agricultural and grazing areas, with villages and frequently used routes for travel over the border into Kosovo. At the Standing Committee meetings in May 2002, the Albanian delegation described the mines and UXO as posing not only a physical threat, but also having “a major impact on the already harsh lives of those who live in the affected areas.... Nearly 120,000 people, mostly living in abject poverty, whose livelihood depends on farming, herding, gathering firewood and other subsistence activities and also obtaining essential supplies across the border, are profoundly affected by the presence of mines and UXO.”[30]

Marking and fencing of known mine- and UXO-contaminated areas has been problematic due to inclement weather during winter months preventing access, a lack of resources, and the theft of marking posts for use as fuel or fencing.[31] In 2002, the UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) plans to provide 3,000-5,000 signs for the re-marking of mine- and UXO-contaminated areas.[32]

The Article 7 Report adds that there are no other known mined areas in Albania. Ministry of Defense areas that had been “defensively mined” were cleared by the Albanian armed forces before Mine Ban Treaty ratification in February 2000.[33]


The Albanian Mine Action Committee (AMAC) was formed in October 1999 as the policy-making body for mine action, with responsibility for obtaining funding and assistance, and prioritizing mine action. The Albanian Mine Action Executive was established at the same time to carry out mine action under AMAC direction, including producing a mine action program, accreditation and quality assurance of all mine action (to UN standards), survey and marking, investigation of all mine-related accidents/incidents, and data-gathering.[34]

In mid-2000 the UNDP formulated a proposal for addressing weaknesses in the AMAE and AMAC, which it has supported since their establishment in 1999. The proposal was revised in June 2001 and in September a UNDP-funded mission assessed the capacities and needs for mine action in Albania. The AMAC was described as having “virtually faded out over time” while the AMAE had “neither the capacity nor capability of addressing any of the mine action processes expected of a ‘Mine Action Center’.... Dedicated and assured funding is non-existent. In effect the major result of the AMAE since its inception has been to fund its own continued existence. No funds have been available for the technical and operational control of mine action activities, particularly mine clearance.”[35]

In March 2002, Pavli Zëri, the Deputy Defense Minister and Head of AMAC, told Landmine Monitor, “We know that we have made slow progress so far in designing projects thanks to lack of experience, but professional assistance is welcomed.” He said:

The legal department of the Ministry of Defense is preparing the draft for institutionalization of AMAC/AMAE which will regulate the relations of the institution including the management of funds. The draft is not yet approved by the government.... The lack of the law created the lack of coordination with other institutions such as the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Defense, local authorities etc.... When everything will be regulated by the law the authority of the mine action body will be raised and the Mine Action Plan will be better implemented.... The law will force other institutions to be involved and give whatever contribution might be needed, even if it is a modest one.[36]

The UNDP-Albania program aims to support the development of a national mine action program, increase AMAE’s capacity, with particular reference to the International Mine Action Standards and standing operating procedures for humanitarian demining, evaluate capacities for victim assistance and rehabilitation, and establish a mine casualty data-collection system.[37] With UNDP support a Chief Technical Advisor was appointed in April 2002, with an Information Officer to be appointed in June 2002. The intention was to complete the national mine action plan by July 2002 and “have the AMAE fully operational by December 2002, including operational Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA), external quality management and administrative cells. In addition to this, a regional office will be established in Kukes to coordinate mine action at field level.”[38]


On a number of occasions, Albanian authorities have criticized the lack of funding for mine action in Albania. In January 2002, Pavli Zeri claimed that there had been “little progress on the clearance of mines and unexploded ordnance.... Support from the international community for humanitarian demining has been very limited and there currently appears to be little prospect of progress in 2002.”[39] In June 2002, the Albanian Minister of Defense was quoted as saying: “On 29 February 2000, Albania signed and ratified the Ottawa Treaty banning antipersonnel mines and demilitarized its landmine industry. And from April 2001 to the present, we have fully destroyed the entire stock of antipersonnel mines, two years before the deadline. But regardless of the efforts made by committed antipersonnel mine professionals and the support of several loyal donors, financing and assistance for this antimining activity has been sporadic, resulting in low demining figures.”[40] Similarly, a September 2001 report from the Ammunition Management Ordnance Disposal Advisory Training Team (AMODATT) declared: “Whilst Albania has made a visible effort to tackle all aspects of mine action, international support to demining efforts has been inadequate. The AMAE is effectively non-functional and is critically under resources.”[41]

About US$2.2 million was donated for mine action in Albania in 2001. The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) mine action investments database records donations in 2001 from Austria (US$100,000), Canada (US$98,442), Germany (US$325,000), Norway (US$100,024), and Switzerland (US$853,000).[42] In addition, in its fiscal year 2001, the United States provided US$684,401, through the International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victim Assistance (ITF) based in Slovenia, to support demining operations in Albania.[43]

The majority of international funding in 2001 and 2002 was provided directly to mine action organizations working in Albania, rather than to the AMAC or AMAE for allocation. Some of the donations have been identified as contributions to the NAMSA stockpile destruction project (Austria, Canada, and Norway). Switzerland reports funding of US$605,000 for mine clearance in northern Albania, and US$125,000 of in-kind support for mine clearance, US$18,000 in support for the AMAE, and US$105,000 for the stockpile destruction project. Germany donated US$325,000 for mine clearance in Tropojë district, which was conducted by the German NGO, HELP International.[44]

The International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victim Assistance started channeling funds for mine action in Albania in 2001, after concluding an agreement with the government on 28 November 2000.[45] The ITF has also provided in-kind computer equipment, software, and financial support to AMAE.[46]

In March 2001, Germany donated 17 metal detectors to the ITF for demining operations in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia. Before the detectors were distributed to the mine action centers, training was provided by the ITF. On 27-29 May 2000, five Albanian demining experts were trained in Tirana by members of the Civil Protection Department of the Slovenian Ministry of Defense.[47] Also within the ITF framework, in February 2002 funding was provided for two years for two Geographical Information System specialists to implement the IMSMA (Information Management System for Mine Action).[48] The Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining reinstalled the IMSMA software at the mine action center in Albania in 2001.[49]

As the AMAE had no funds for July and August 2001, the UNDP provided temporary funding. At the end of August a chief technical advisor was employed, with funding from UNDP between September and December 2002 (US$24,000). One of the adviser’s first duties was to raise funds to enable AMAE to operate normally.[50] From June 2001 through March 2002 Switzerland donated US$18,000 for AMAE office maintenance. UNICEF funded a mine awareness adviser from July 2001 to April 2002 (US$27,383).[51]

For 2002, mine action funding includes the following: Switzerland has provided US$300,000 via the ITF, which has attracted a similar amount from the US in matching funds; the US$600,000 donation has been channeled to the Swiss Federation for Mine Action to resume battle area clearance, including cluster bomb strike zones, in Kukës and Has districts. This operation started on 2 April. DanChurchAid, a Danish NGO, has funding of US$550,000 (received from ACT-Holland and ACT-Geneva, from private donations, and taken from its own sources) for general and technical surveys, clearance of minefields, and data gathering on socio-economic priorities in Tropojë district. This operation started on 8 April 2002. Germany has allocated US$270,000 for “integrated mine action” in Albania in 2002.[52] The UNDP will provide assistance budgeted at US$669,060; this capacity building by UNDP has a shortfall of US$150,000 for 2002. For the demining program there is a shortfall of US$64,000, as of May 2002.[53]

To increase mine clearance capacity in Albania, UNMAS has transferred substantial equipment from Kosovo. Some of the equipment will be handed over to the AMAE, and some used to establish a humanitarian demining capability in the Albanian Armed Forces.[54]

At the Standing Committee meetings in May 2002 the Albanian delegation said that “until now very little of the mines and UXO threat on the Albania-Kosovo border has been cleared.... A realistic estimate indicates that Albania can be rid of the effects of mines within 3 years for a modest budget of US$5-7 million. This needs, however, to be confirmed by impact and technical surveys.”[55]


Albania’s Article 7 Report provides the following new information: the “General Mine Action Assessment (formerly incorporating Level 1 Surveys) is ongoing. This is the responsibility of the Albanian Armed Forces (AAF) with assistance by CARE funded consultants in 1999.”[56] The assessment identified the extent of contaminated areas, but how the survey process was carried out is not known. The AMAE states that: “The initial General Surveys undertaken by AAF assets and by the CARE funded contractor has proven to be of variable quality and accuracy and have to be confirmed by socio-economic impact surveys.... The shortcomings in the General Surveys have been compounded by the lack of resources to undertake further detailed technical surveys. It is considered that enhanced technical survey effort is necessary to assist the prioritisation process and to better target limited clearance resources.”[57]

According to the government, technical survey began on an ad hoc basis in 2000 and on a more organized basis in 2001.[58] As of early 2002, approximately 15 percent of the contaminated area identified had been subjected to technical survey and the government said, “This process has produced encouraging results both in identifying mine and UXO affected areas more accurately and also in the area reduction process. It is hoped to continue the process in 2002.”[59]

However, in January 2002, Arben Braha, the AMAE Director, said that due to lack of funding and support the AMAE was not able to organize a technical survey.[60] In March 2002, a local representative of the Swiss Federation for Mine Action claimed, “A technical survey is very much needed due to the fact that the last one was carried out in 1999. No funds are provided since it takes a lot of time and money. If a general survey is conducted I believe that the mined area can be reduced.”[61]

The AMAE has been provided with the IMSMA database system, but existing maps do not meet IMSMA requirements and computer equipment is inadequate due to lack of funding. At the request of AMAE, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) gave technical assistance by setting up hardware and installing software.[62] On 23 March-5 April 2002 members of the AMAE attended a training course on the IMSMA system in Tirana, with participants from other countries. In previous years, Albanian staff have attended other courses on IMSMA.


During 2001, three mine clearance organizations operated in Albania: HELP International, the Swiss Federation for Mine Action, and RONCO. They cleared a total of 30.2 hectares (302,000 square meters of land, destroying in the process 744 antipersonnel mines, 25 antivehicle mines, and 115 items of UXO. The Article 7 Report describes the rates of clearance as “disappointing...small-scale and [reliant] on basic manual clearance methods which, though offering high levels of clearance confidence, are slow and not particularly cost-effective.... These operations have cleared a total of less than 50 hectares in the past two years, which has made little impact on the global problem within Albania representing less than 3 percent of the total contaminated area.”[63]

In 2001, the HELP operation had two eight-man demining teams operating beside a road at Qaf-Morine in Tropojë District. These teams are made up of experienced Bosnian team leaders and locally recruited and trained deminers. The Article 7 Report described this operation as “methodical and...of acceptable quality, however it has been extremely slow. The HELP Project Manager has been investigating the provision of both mechanical and Mine Detection Dogs (MDD) support for the future, subject to sufficient funding in an attempt to accelerate clearance rates.” HELP had cleared 1.84 hectares (18,400 square meters) by 31 October 2001, destroying in the process 146 antipersonnel mines and three items of UXO.[64]

The Swiss Federation for Mine Action (SFMA) started training local staff in April 2001, with mine clearance and battle area clearance (BAC) starting on 21 May 2001 in five areas in the Kukës and Has districts. Four manual teams were constituted of locally recruited and trained deminers, each under the supervision of an expatriate. The main emphasis was on clearance of KB-1 submunition strike areas using search instruments. These areas had been surface-cleared by Army teams in 1999. Two large areas affected by antipersonnel and antivehicle mines were also cleared. SFMA introduced explosive detection dogs in October 2001 to accelerate clearance rates. Although this was achieved, the benefit was compromised at the end of October when it was found that the dogs were failing to detect the TMM-1 antivehicle mine. By 31 October, the SFMA had cleared 17.63 hectares (176,300 square meters), destroying in the process 269 antipersonnel mines, 25 antivehicle mines and 112 items of UXO, of which 102 were KB-1 submunitions.[65] By the end of the year the SFMA had cleared 190,854 square meters destroying in the process 308 antipersonnel mines, 26 antivehicle mines and 137 items of UXO.[66]

The RONCO operation started on 22 May 2001 in the area of Has Qafe Prushit, close to the border crossing, where operations have been going on for two years. It used limited mechanical support to manual teams made up of experienced deminers from Bosnia. In spite of the integrated nature of the operation, progress was limited. The Article 7 Report suggests this may have been because of the inappropriateness of the mechanical equipment selected.[67] The RONCO operation ended on 20 October 2001, with 10.73 hectares (107,300 square meters) cleared and 329 antipersonnel mines found, according to the Article 7 Report.[68]

By the end of 2001, the Armed Forces had cleared ten of the fifteen “hotspots” resulting from the munitions explosions during civil unrest in 1997. A local NATO officer described this as an outstanding achievement in view of the Army’s limited resources. Of the five remaining hotspots, it was planned to clear one near Burrel by the end of May 2002. The other hotspots are in the areas of Selic, Klos, Pilur and Picar (Gjirokastër). They are not fenced or guarded and the civilian population still has access to them, resulting in casualties in 2001.[69]


UNICEF is the lead UN agency for mine risk education in Albania. Its objectives include reducing the risk of mine/UXO accidents, developing mine risk education training programs for school teachers, and enhancing community projects through local organizations. In 2001, UNICEF supported the mine risk education activities carried out by CARE in northern districts, including a two-day seminar for 84 teachers in the Tropojë district. Training of teachers will be continued by a cascade system, with UNICEF training Ministry of Education staff to act as trainers in the 11 highest risk areas. A needs assessment survey started in 2001 is continuing in 2002, to feed into a national mine risk education strategy planned for 2002. The UNICEF program also includes support for the Mine Victims Association and social reintegration of survivors, and provision of signs for re-marking dangerous areas.[70]

The AMAE appointed a mine risk education officer in mid-2001. Organizations that have carried out mine risk education in Albania in 2001 include CARE, the ICRC, and the Albanian Red Cross. These activities included poster campaigns, visits to school and community facilities, and television, press and radio campaigns.[71]

The ICRC and Albanian Red Cross launched a joint mine risk education program in October 1999. This program has developed to work now with local branches focusing on high-risk group in mined areas, notably children and farmers. Owing to economic pressures, the local population knowingly enters dangerous areas in search of firewood and grass for use in winter months, travels over the border into Kosovo where prices are lower, and sometimes attempts to clear mines and UXO themselves. One aim of the Red Cross campaign is to change behavior by offering other solutions to meet these needs.[72]

At local level, villages in the affected areas are visited by mine risk education instructors. In 2001, 29,020 people were contacted in the affected districts of Tropojë, Has, Kukës and also Shkodra. Activities included an interactive play, “Bear Trap,” performed by local professionals in 33 villages to 2,614 children and 460 adults in 2001. Promotional material, posters and games have been distributed. The instructors also have the role of collecting information on mine/UXO casualties for the AMAE.[73]

In February 2001, the ICRC made a film on mine survivors in Tropojë and Has districts. The film, “Women and Mines in Albania,” was broadcast on 8 March by international TV channels. In April, a 30-minute program on the Red Cross activities was broadcast nationally. In June, a compilation of reports called “Mines in Albania” was produced and broadcast by CNN International, EBU and 8 Mont Blanc TV stations. In November 2001, a report on UXO casualties was broadcast by three main Albanian TV channels.[74]

According to a local ICRC fact sheet of March 2002, it has helped secure funding from Switzerland for the Swiss Federation for Mine Action and from private donors for Dan Church Aid in 2001-2002. In the process, the ICRC is attempting to establish an integrated approach linking mine risk education with clearance and humanitarian work in general.[75]


In 2001, nine new mine/UXO casualties were reported by the ICRC. One adult male was killed and three others were injured, and five boys were injured.[76] Most were the result of UXO explosions.[77] This number is a significant reduction from the 35 new casualties reported by ICRC in 2000.[78]

A record of landmine and UXO incidents is maintained by the AMAE in Tirana. However, due to the remoteness of some mine-affected areas, and the fact that some incidents go unreported, the actual number of casualties is expected to be higher.[79] The number of ICRC mine/UXO data collectors also reduced considerably in 2001.[80]

At the Standing Committee meetings in May 2002, the Albanian delegation reported that “since 1999 there were 197 mine accidents in which 211 persons were injured and 25 killed.”[81] UNDP reports that mine casualties since 1999 “number almost 200 separate incidents with over 230 casualties representing some 20 percent of all civilian casualties arising from mines and UXO contamination engendered by the Kosovo crisis.”[82]

In September 2001, the Team Leader of the German demining group HELP, a Bosnian national, was injured by a PMA-2 mine while monitoring work in the demining area.[83] An AMODATT team leader reported that due to non-marking or removal of markings around sites contaminated by mines/UXO in the 1997 civil disorder, people have access to the sites and tampering with the explosives. As a result, one civilian perished at Ura e Gjadrit in July 2001 and two young boys were seriously injured at Suç, Burrel, in November 2001.[84]


State facilities provide immediate medical aid and treatment to mine casualties. After the first intervention mine survivors are sent to specialized facilities if needed, such as eye or burns clinics. As in previous years, the Albanian Prosthesis Center in Tirana received no financial support from the State, due to continuing bureaucratic difficulties in the handover of financial responsibility from the Ministry of Finance to the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Defense, which is responsible for the administration of the Center. At the Center, ten staff cover the whole country’s needs for prostheses. The Center works closely with the ICRC and there is an agreement to prioritize mine survivors for treatment.[85]

In January 2002, the government submitted the voluntary Form J in its Article 7 report, giving information on victim assistance. The report stated, “There has been some limited success in the area of Victim Assistance although this has largely centered on the provision of prosthesis to mines victims... There is currently very limited capability for support to families of victims, counselling or retraining of victims.”[86]

During 2001, the Albanian Prosthesis Center fitted 59 mine survivors (45 men, five women, and nine children) with artificial limbs. The ICRC is the only international organization providing raw materials for the production of artificial limbs at the Center. In April 2001, the ICRC funded the training in Italy of seven Albanian Prosthesis Center staff as prosthesis technicians. The ICRC also provided leather for the production of orthopedic shoes for mine survivors.[87]

On 28 November 2000, a two-year agreement was signed between the Albanian Mine Action Center and the ITF to collaborate on demining and mine victim assistance. In 2001, the ITF allocated approximately US$100,000 for victim assistance programs in Albania, which included support for the rehabilitation for 39 Albanian mine survivors at the Slovenian Rehabilitation Institute and the training of seven Albanian Prosthesis Center staff in June-July 2001 in Slovenia.[88] In 2002, 25 mine survivors will receive assistance.[89]

To assist with the economic reintegration of mine survivors, the ICRC supported the “Shoemaker” project initiated by the Albanian Red Cross. In the project, 12 survivors from the northern districts of Has and Kukes were taught how to make shoes over a period of eight months. The training started on 2 April and lasted until November 2001.[90]

Included in the UNDP program of mine action assistance for 2002 is the evaluation of national capacities for victim assistance and rehabilitation, and the establishment of a mine casualty data-collection system. The UNDP has budgeted US$50,000 as a contribution to the World Health Organization for victim assistance in Albania in 2002.[91]


There is no disability provision specific to mine survivors, but they are entitled to the same rights as all persons with disabilities in Albania, which includes a monthly payment of approximately US$80 (equivalent to a monthly salary in the public sector). In addition, a one-year pension is available to people injured in the performance of their duties, such as border policeman or soldiers marking minefields. There is no statutory obligation to provide prostheses to amputees.[92]


[1] Interview with Ledia Hysi, Head of Legal and Consular Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tirana, 25 October 2001.
[2] Ambassador Ksenofon Krisafi, the Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, headed the delegation in Nicaragua. In January, the delegation included Amb. Krisafi, Pavli Zëri, the Deputy Minister of Defense and Head of the Albanian Mine Action Committee, and Major Frederik Beltoja, Chief of Integration Division, Ministry of Defense. In May, it included Pavli Zëri, Arben Braha, Amb. Vladimir Thanati, and Mira Schneider from the UN Mission in Geneva.
[3] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, submitted on 3 April 2002, dated 10 January 2002, covering calendar year 2001.
[4] Interview with Ledia Hysi, Head of Legal and Consular office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tirana, 25 October 2001.
[5] Interview with Armand Skapi, Acting Head, United Nations Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tirana, 7 March 2002.
[6] For details of past production and transfer see Landmine Monitor Report 1999, p. 699 and Landmine Monitor Report 2000, p. 560.
[7] Interview with Arben Braha, Director, AMAE, Tirana, 17 May 2002.
[8] Article 7 Report, Section 5, 3 April 2002.
[9] Major Scott C. Johnson, “Strategic Mobility, the Force Projection Army, and the Ottawa Landmine Treaty: Can the Army Get There?” A student monograph submitted to fulfill the requirements of the School of Advanced Military Studies, US Army Command and General Staff College, 15 February 2001. The author identifies his source in footnote 94 (p. 48): “Matt Pasvogel, interview by author, 9 January 2001. Captain Pasvogel was an engineer company commander who deployed with Task Force Hawk. His unit deployed with both MOPMS and Volcano mine dispensing equipment and mixed self-destructing AP/AT mines. Munitions that were not employed during the mission, but were available in Albania for use if the need did arise.”
[10] Statement of Ksenofon Krisafi, Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Third Meeting of States Parties, Managua, Nicaragua, 18-21 September 2001.
[11] Email from William D. G. Hunt, NAMSA Project Supervisor, 4 April 2002.
[12] Interview with William D. G. Hunt, NAMSA Project Supervisor, Tirana, 4 April 2002, and email, 4 April 2002.
[13] Article 7 Report, Section 2, 3 April 2002; see Landmine Monitor Report 2001, p. 597, where it was noted that the PMD-6 wood and bakelite variants were counted as one “type.”
[14] Email from William D. G. Hunt, NAMSA Project Supervisor, 4 April 2002.
[15] Interview with William D. G. Hunt, NAMSA Project Supervisor, Tirana, 4 April 2002, and email, 4 April 2002.
[16] Information confirmed in email from William D. G. Hunt, NAMSA Project Supervisor, 4 April 2002.
[17] Interview with William D. G. Hunt, NAMSA Project Supervisor, Tirana, 4 April 2002, and email, 4 April 2002.
[18] Article 7 Report, Section 4.1, 3 April 2002.
[19] Interview with Arben Braha, Director, AMAE, Tirana, 17 May 2002.
[20] Article 7 Report, Executive Summary, 3 April 2002.
[21] See Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 701-702.
[22] See Landmine Monitor Report 2001, p. 597. It is not clear if this estimate has been confirmed by subsequent events.
[23] Alban Bala, “Balkan Weapons Round-up,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 15 April 2002, www.reliefweb.int, accessed on 22 April 2002.
[24] Interview with Shkëlqim Sina, National Technical Representative, UNDP Small Arms and Light Weapons Control, Tirana, 17 May 2002.
[25] Article 7 Report, Executive Summary, 3 April 2002.
[26] Article 7 Report, Executive Summary and Section 3, 3 April 2002.
[27] Article 7 Report, 3 April 2002, Section 3, and “Operation Summary,” Swiss Federation for Mine
Action, December 2001.
[28] AMAE, “Albania Mine Action Program,” report circulated at Standing Committee meetings in May 2002, p. 1.
[29] Article 7 Report, Sections 3 and 9.2, 3 April 2002,; for a description of the nature of the mine/UXO-contaminated areas and the effects on the local population, see Landmine Monitor Report 2001, p. 598.
[30] “Albania Mine Action Programme,” presented at Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Awareness and Mine Action Technologies, Geneva, 28 May 2002.
[31] Article 7 Report, Sections 3 and 9.2, 3 April 2002.
[32] “Mine Awareness Education in Albania,” UNICEF, (undated).
[33] Article 7 Report, Section 3, 3 April 2002.
[34] Ibid., Section 1.2.2.
[35] “Mine Action in Albania,” Government of Albania and UNDP, reference ALB/02/001 (undated), pp. 8-9.
[36] Interview with Pavli Zëri, Head of AMAC and Deputy Minister of Defense, Tirana, 23 March 2002.
[37] “Assistance to the National Mine Action Programme in Albania,” UNDP, undated.
[38] “Mine Action in Albania,” Government of Albania and UNDP, reference ALB/02/001 (undated), p. 9.
[39] Article 7 Report, Executive Summary, 3 April 2002.
[40] “Albania: Kosovo land-mine legacy still scars territory,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 19 June 2002, www.reliefweb.int, accessed on 19 June 2002.
[41] “Post Operational Report,” AMODATT, Phase 5, 2 October 2000 - 24 September 2001.
[42] “Multi-year Recipient Report: Albania,” UNMAS Mine Investments database, accessed on 12 May 2002.
[43] US Department of State, “To Walk the Earth in Safety,” November 2001, p. 23.
[44] “Annual Donor Report for Germany: 2001,” UNMAS Mine Investments database, accessed on 8 May 2001.
[45] “ITF Signed Administrative Agreement with Albania,” Press Release, International Trust Fund, 28 November 2000, www.sigov.si/itffund/news, accessed on 12 June 2001.
[46] “Annual Report 2001, International Trust Fund for Demining and Victim Assistance,” p. 16.
[47] “Germany Donates Mine Detectors,” Newsletter No. 6, International Trust Fund, July 2001, p. 5.
[48] Interview with Arben Braha, Director, AMAE, Tirana, 5 April 2002.
[49] “Update on Activities between January and December 2001,” Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining, 31 December 2001, p. 4.
[50] “AMAE report,” September 2001.
[51] Interview with Arben Braha, Director, AMAE, Tirana, 5 April 2002.
[52] “Current and Planned Donor Activity for Germany,” UNMAS Mine Action Investments database, accessed on 8 May 2001; ACT stands for Action for Churches Together.
[53] “Albania Mine Action Program,” AMAE, document distributed at Standing Committee meetings, Geneva, May 2002, p. 7.
[54] “Mine Action in Albania,” Government of Albania and UNDP, reference ALB/02/001 (undated), p. 8.
[55] “Albania Mine Action Programme,” presented at Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Awareness and Mine Action Technologies, Geneva, 28 May 2002, original emphasis.
[56] Article 7 report, submitted on 10 January 2002, Section 1.2.3.
[57] “Albania Mine Action Program,” AMAE, document distributed at Standing Committee meetings, Geneva, May 2002, pp. 2-3.
[58] Article 7 Report, Section 1.2.3., 3 April 2002.
[59] Ibid.
[60] Interview with Arben Braha, Director, AMAE, Tirana, 10 January 2002.
[61] Interview with Alex Van Roy, Project Manager, Swiss Federation for Mine Action, Kukes, 26 March 2002.
[62] ICRC Fact sheet, Mine Action 2001, ICRC Tirana.
[63] Article 7 report for calendar year 2001, submitted on 3 April 2002, Section 1.2.4.
[64] Ibid.
[65] Ibid.
[66] Annual Report 2001, International Trust Fund for Demining and Victim Assistance, p. 16, and “Operation Summary,” Swiss Federation for Mine Action, December 2001.
[67] Article 7 Report, Section 1.2.4., 3 April 2002.
[68] The ITF reported this as 108,773 square meters cleared and 267 mines and 19 UXO found. Annual Report 2001, International Trust Fund for Demining and Victim Assistance, p. 16.
[69] Interview with Captain Emanuele Andreottola, Team Leader - Task Area 1, AMODATT (NATO) Office, Tirana, 22 March 2002, and “Post Operational Report,” AMODATT, Phase 5, 2 October 2000 - 24 September 2001. In October 2000, the AMODATT mission replaced the NATO Explosive Ordnance Disposal Ammunition Storage Training Team (EODAST) dispatched to Albania to assist the Albanian armed forces with Albania’s significant EOD problem.
[70] “Mine Awareness Education in Albania,” UNICEF, (undated).
[71] Article 7 Report, Section 9.1, 3 April 2002.
[72] ICRC Fact Sheet, “Mine/UXO Awareness Program–Albania–Year 2001,” March 2002; ICRC, “Albania: Mine Clearance, Mine Awareness,” 11 April 2002.
[73] ICRC Fact Sheet, “Mine/UXO Awareness Program–Albania–Year 2001,” March 2002; and ICRC, “Albania: Demining and Mine Awareness Program,” 13 July 2001.
[74] Ibid.
[75] ICRC Fact Sheet, “Mine/UXO Awareness Program–Albania–Year 2001,” March 2002; and ICRC News, “Albania: Dealing with the Legacy of Mines,” 5 July 2001.
[76] Statistics compiled by ICRC in collaboration with Arben Braha, Director, AMAE, in January 2002.
[77] Interview with Arben Braha, Director, AMAE, Tirana, 10 January 2002.
[78] ICRC Fact Sheet, “Detailed Statistics on Mine/UXO Incidents in Albania,” 7 February 2001. The US State Department reported 31 mine casualties in 2000. US Department of State, “To Walk the Earth in Safety,” November 2001, p. 23.
[79] “Albania: Dealing with the legacy of mines,” ICRC News, 01/26, 5 July 2001.
[80] Interview with Paul-Henri Morard, Head of Delegation, ICRC Albania, Slovenia, 2 July 2002.
[81] “Albania Mine Action Program,” presented at Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Awareness and Mine Action Technologies, Geneva, 28 May 2002.
[82] “Mine Action in Albania,” Government of Albania and UNDP, reference ALB/02/001 (undated), p. 4.
[83] “AMAE report,” September 2001.
[84] Interview with Capt. Emanuele Andreottola, Team Leader - Task Area 1, AMODATT (NATO) Office, Tirana, 22 March 2002, and “Post Operational Report,” Ammunition Management Ordnance Disposal Advisory Training Team (AMODATT), Phase 5, 2 October 2000-24 September 2001.
[85] Interview with Harun Iljazi, Head of Orthopedics Center, Tirana, 12 February 2002.
[86] Article 7 Report, Form J, 3 April 2002.
[87] “Mine Action Year 2001,” ICRC Albania Fact Sheet.
[88] Annual Report 2001, International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victim Assistance, p. 18.
[89] Interview with Arben Braha, Director, AMAE, Tirana, 10 March 2002.
[90] “Mine Action Year 2001,” ICRC Albania Fact Sheet.
[91] “Assistance to the National Mine Action Programme in Albania,” UNDP, undated.
[92] See Landmine Monitor Report 2001, p. 602.