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Country Reports
EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA , Landmine Monitor Report 2003

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States Parties
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Czech Republic
Holy See
Macedonia (Former Yugoslav Republic of)
The Netherlands
San Marino
Slovak Republic
United Kingdom


Serbia and Montenegro




Mine Ban Policy

Thirty-seven of the 53 countries in the region of Europe and Central Asia are States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, with two new ratifications during the reporting period: Cyprus (17 January 2003) and Lithuania (12 May 2003). Greece, Poland and Ukraine have signed, but not ratified the treaty.

Thirteen countries of the region remain outside the treaty; most are successor states of the former Soviet Union, now known as the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The 13 include: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro, Turkey, and Uzbekistan.

Belarus, which has one of the largest antipersonnel mine stockpiles in the world, completed all domestic measures necessary for its accession on 30 July 2003. The parliament of Serbia and Montenegro passed legislation to accede to the Mine Ban Treaty on 20 June 2003. The foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey affirmed that their countries will submit simultaneously their respective instruments of adherence; both countries have now completed all the domestic procedures to join the treaty.

In July 2003, Estonia’s Prime Minister stated that the government is seriously considering joining the Mine Ban Treaty and has started the process of internal deliberations for joining. In April 2003, the Latvian Ambassador to the UN in Geneva said the country would probably join the Mine Ban Treaty in 2004. Tajik officials, intent on dispelling past confusion regarding Tajikistan’s status under the Mine Ban Treaty, stressed that their country is taking all necessary steps to comply with the treaty’s terms. While Poland’s position remains unchanged– that ratification is dependent on the development of alternatives to antipersonnel mines–it voluntarily submitted an Article 7 transparency report in March 2003, disclosing details of its antipersonnel mine stockpile.

During the reporting period no country completed domestic legislation to implement the Mine Ban Treaty. Nineteen States Parties have in the past enacted implementation legislation. Implementing legislation is being developed in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia, The Netherlands had previously reported that legislation was in the process of being adopted, but now deems existing law sufficient. Other countries that have adopted this position, whose views were previously unknown to Landmine Monitor, include the Holy See, San Marino, and Tajikistan.

Every State Party in Europe and Central Asia has now submitted an initial Article 7 transparency report, including Tajikistan during the reporting period. Thirty of the 34 States Parties provided an annual update in 2003, due by 30 April. According to the UN, four States Parties had not submitted their update as of 31 July 2003: Andorra, Portugal, San Marino, and Spain. Three non-States Parties have submitted voluntary Article 7 reports: Lithuania in 2002 when it was a signatory, and Latvia and Poland in 2003.

All States Parties and signatories in Europe and Central Asia, except Tajikistan, voted in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution 57/74 on 22 November 2002, calling for implementation and universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty. State Party Tajikistan claimed it abstained by “mistake.” Eight countries from the region that are not part of the Mine Ban Treaty voted in support of the resolution: Armenia, Belarus, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Latvia, Serbia and Montenegro (still named Yugoslavia at that time) and Turkey. Five were among the 23 countries that abstained from voting: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Uzbekistan.

During the 2002-2003 reporting period, European States Parties accounted for half of the sixteen co-chairs and co-rapporteurs of the Mine Ban Treaty’s intersessional Standing Committees: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania, and Switzerland. Every non-signatory from the region attended the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in September 2002, and several participated in the 2003 meetings of the treaty’s intersessional Standing Committee.

In November 2002, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) hosted a regional conference on landmines and Explosive Remnants of War in Moscow, attended by all countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States. There were also regional landmine meetings in Armenia and Croatia in October 2002, and in Ukraine in February 2003. In November 2002, the Azerbaijan Campaign to Ban Landmines hosted the annual ICBL/Landmine Monitor regional meeting for CIS countries in Baku.

ICBL members participated in events held in Oslo, Norway in September 2002 to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Mine Ban Treaty’s adoption. The Italian Campaign to Ban Landmines hosted the global meeting needed to prepare Landmine Monitor Report 2003 in Rome from 7-9 April 2003, with support provided by the Italian government. The ICBL held events for the first time to at a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Warsaw, Poland and at the Brussels headquarters of NATO.


Antipersonnel mine use continued in Chechnya, by both Russian forces and Chechen fighters. The top military official in Abkhazia stated that in mid-2002 both Abkhazian and Georgian troops mined areas around the Marukh mountain pass. There were other reports that Georgian forces used antipersonnel mines in the Kodori Gorge in July 2002. Georgian officials deny any use of antipersonnel mines.

There were reports of sporadic instances of landmine use in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Serbia and Montenegro, but these were not sustained or substantial.

Production and Transfer

All signatories and non-signatories in the region have export moratoria in place or have stated that they no longer allow the export of antipersonnel mines. Russia is the sole remaining producer in the region, although in November 2002 a senior military official revealed that for the past eight years Russia has neither produced nor supplied to its troops antipersonnel mines of the PFM-1, PMN, PMN-2, or PMN-4 types.

In May 2003, at an arms fair in Brno, the Czech company Policske Strojirny reportedly displayed and offered for sale Horizont PD-Mi-PK antivehicle mines in tripwire-activation mode. The ICBL believes such mines are prohibited by the Mine Ban Treaty.

Stockpiling and Destruction

Since Landmine Monitor Report 2002 was published, eight States Parties—Croatia, Italy, FYR Macedonia, Moldova, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, and Turkmenistan—reported completion of destruction of their stockpiled antipersonnel mines, destroying a combined total of approximately 8.5 million mines.

They join seventeen other States Parties in the region that had already completed stockpile destruction: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Norway, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Norway reported that the US antipersonnel mines stockpiled on its territory were removed from the country during 2002. Bilateral negotiations are ongoing regarding the disposition of some 18,200 mines under Russian jurisdiction that remain on Tajik territory.

Three States Parties in Europe and Central Asia have stockpiles left to destroy. Tajikistan initiated its destruction process during the reporting period, while Romania continued with its program. Cyprus has reported possessing 48,615 antipersonnel mines and is investigating destruction options.

Ten State Parties in Europe have declared that they have no stockpile of antipersonnel mines, except, in some instances, those retained for training purposes: Andorra, Grenada, Holy See, Iceland, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Monaco, and San Marino. In July 2002, Lithuania declared a stockpile of 8,091 antipersonnel mines.

Stockpile developments occurred in the three remaining treaty signatories during the reporting period. Ukraine destroyed 404,903 mines in 2002 from its total stockpile of 6.35 million mines. Greece stated that it has 1,078,557 mines stockpiled, while Poland voluntarily reported a stockpile of 1,055,971 mines.

There were also some notable developments during the reporting period by countries that remain outside the Mine Ban Treaty. Russia revealed for the first time that it destroyed more than 16.8 million stockpiled antipersonnel mines between 1996 and 2002, including 638,427 in 2002. As a signal of its support for the Mine Ban Treaty, non-signatory Belarus destroyed 22,963 PMN-2 antipersonnel mines in 2002 and has plans to destroy another 100,000 during 2003. It has a total stockpile of 4.5 million antipersonnel mines. Serbia and Montenegro revealed that it possesses 1,320,621 antipersonnel mines.

Twenty-five States Parties from Europe and Central Asia have exercised, or intend to exercise, the option, under Article 3 of the Mine Ban Treaty, to retain antipersonnel mines for training and development purposes. Eleven States Parties have decided not to retain any antipersonnel mines, including four countries that once stockpiled mines: Albania, Austria, Norway, and Switzerland.

Other States Parties previously possessing antipersonnel mines have opted to retain a quantity under Article 3, typically between 1,000 and 5,000 mines, with only a few exceptions. Turkmenistan’s decision to retain 69,200 mines has been roundly criticized as a possible violation of Mine Ban Treaty obligations. It is more than four times that retained by the country with the next largest retained stockpile. The ICBL believes that 69,200 mines is an unacceptable, and likely illegal, number, as it is obviously not the “minimum number absolutely necessary,” as required by the treaty.

Lithuania intends to retain its entire stockpile of 8,091 antipersonnel mines, despite the fact that it conducts only small scale demining training in cooperation with other Baltic countries. This would be the seventh largest total of retained mines among States Parties. Latvia appears poised to follow Lithuania’s lead, keeping all 2,980 mines, based on its voluntary Article 7 submission of 1 May 2003.

During this reporting period Italy reduced the number of mines retained from 8,000 to 811, and the United Kingdom reduced from 4,949 to 1,783. Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain have taken this step in previous years.

Against the trend of reducing the numbers of mines retained, a handful of countries have actually increased their holdings. FYR Macedonia is now retaining 4,000 antipersonnel mines, a vastly greater amount than the 50 originally declared. Sweden increased its antipersonnel mines retained from 11,120 in 2002 to 16,015, following the discovery of a large additional quantity held by the Bofors Defence company. Bosnia and Herzegovina is now holding 2,525 antipersonnel mines, 120 more than previously reported.

An increasing number of States Parties have declared the number of antipersonnel mines actually consumed each year, and for what precise training and research purposes. Ten of the fifteen States Parties reporting consumption of antipersonnel mines for permitted purposes in 2002 came from Europe: Sweden (1,002), Netherlands (314), Belgium (293), Croatia (200), Denmark (33), Germany (19), France (17), Slovakia (14), Luxembourg (10), and Ireland (9).

Landmine Problem

Twenty-one of the world’s 82 mine-affected countries are located in Europe and Central Asia. Nine are States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, FYR Macedonia, Moldova, and Tajikistan) and twelve are non-States Parties (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Greece, Kyrgyzstan, Poland, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro, Turkey, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan). Abkhazia, Chechnya, Kosovo, and Nagorno-Karabakh are also affected.

Landmine Monitor has removed Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, and Lithuania from its list of mine-affected countries as the problem in these countries is predominantly, in some cases exclusively, due to UXO, and very limited in its impact on the civilian population, with very few or no casualties recorded in 2001, 2002 or 2003.

Five European States Parties are among the group of 14 mine-affected States Parties facing the March 2009 deadline for clearance of all mined areas, as required by Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Denmark, FYR Macedonia, and the UK for the Falkland Islands.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Council of Ministers approved a demining strategy in April 2003, which has the objective of freeing the country from the threat of mines by 2010. In May 2003, Croatia expressed its intention to be mine-free by March 2009. Some mine clearance is occurring in FYR Macedonia, where the mine problem is relatively limited. However, FYR Macedonia’s most recent Article 7 transparency reports provided no information on mined areas or mine clearance. In October 2001, the United Kingdom and Argentina agreed on the establishment of a feasibility study on mine clearance in the Falkland/Malvinas Islands. No significant progress was made to initiate the feasibility study during 2002 or the first half of 2003. The Skallingen peninsula in Denmark was heavily mine-contaminated in World War II. It is now a protected natural reserve, and there are no mine clearance programs at present.

Mine Action Funding

The major European mine action donors in 2002 were the European Commission ($40 million), Norway ($25.5 million), Germany ($19.4 million), the Netherlands ($16 million), the UK ($16 million), Denmark ($10.6 million), Switzerland ($9 million), Italy ($8.7 million), Sweden ($7.3 million), Belgium ($4.5 million), France ($3.5 million), Austria ($2 million), and Ireland ($1.6 million), Greece ($1.5 million), and Luxembourg ($1.1 million). These figures include funding for research and development. The totals represent large increases for the EC, Norway, Italy and the Netherlands. Also registering increases were Greece, Belgium, Austria, France and Switzerland. Mine action funding fell substantially for Denmark, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. For Sweden and the UK, this was the third consecutive year that mine action funding has decreased. Ireland and Finland also registered decreases in mine action funding in 2002.

The major recipients of mine action funding in Europe remain Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia. Twelve donors reported contributions of about $15.8 million to mine action in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2002. The government reports that it provided national mine action funding of $5.06 million in 2002. In Croatia, mine action is funded largely by the state ($24.3 million in 2002), plus donations by public companies ($9.5 million), and other domestic and international donations ($10.5 million).

In 2002, FYR Macedonia received increased funding of $3 million. Albania, with a significant mine/UXO problem, received little funding ($2.8 million). Kosovo received much reduced funding ($1.4 million) with the cessation of major UN mine action clearance there at the end of 2001. Serbia and Montenegro received $300,000 from the ITF for mine action in 2002.

Five donors reported providing about $4.5 million in mine action assistance to Azerbaijan in 2002; in addition, the government reports providing $259,000 for mine action. In Armenia, the United States provided $4.5 million, including a one-time donation of $1.8 million from the US Embassy. In Georgia, four donors reported providing about $2.1 million, mostly for HALO Trust clearance in Abkhazia.

Mine Clearance and Survey

Humanitarian mine clearance by international, national, and non-governmental actors was underway in at least six countries of the region in 2002 and 2003. This includes four States Parties (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and FYR Macedonia) and two non-States Parties (Azerbaijan and Greece). There are also humanitarian mine clearance programs in Abkhazia, Kosovo, and Nagorno-Karabakh.

Most of the major international, non-governmental mine action organizations are based in Europe and active in a number of countries around the world, including DanChurchAid (DCA), the Danish Demining Group (DDG), the HALO Trust (HALO), Mines Advisory Group (MAG), Norwegian People's Aid (NPA), and Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD).

  • In Abkhazia, HALO cleared 858,688 square meters of mine-affected land in 2002.
  • In Albania, DCA and FSD conducted impact surveys that resulted in the release of almost six million square meters of suspected dangerous land in 2002, while technical survey released a further 675,000 square meters, and clearance freed up 450,000 square meters of mined land.
  • In Azerbaijan, two national mine clearance NGOs cleared a total of 1,118,000 square meters of land in 2002.
  • In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Mine Action Center reported in February 2003 that approximately 6 million square meters of land was cleared in 2002, compared with 5.5 million square meters in 2001. The total amount cleared in 2002 was still significantly less than planned.
  • The Croatian Mine Action Center (CROMAC) reported that 60 million square meters of mined land was deemed mine-free in 2002, including approximately 31 million square meters cleared in demining operations. In 2001, 13.6 million square meters of land was cleared, to a large extent using mechanical devices.
  • In 2002, the Greek Army demined 66,000 square meters of land in its northern regions, as part of an ongoing clearance operation.
  • The Kosovo Protection Corps operations cleared 203,360 square meters of land in 2002. Fourteen new dangerous areas were discovered.
  • In FYR Macedonia, a total of nearly 3.9 million square meters of land was cleared in 2002, by various actors including NATO and Macedonian security forces, Handicap International and MineTech.
  • In Nagorno-Karabakh, HALO cleared 380,386 square meters of land in 2002. In 2003, activities increased greatly resulting in 810,743 square meters of land cleared between 1 January 2003 and 1 June 2003.

Limited mine clearance was underway in at least 13 countries in 2002 and 2003, including four States Parties (Cyprus, Czech Republic, Serbia and Montenegro, and Tajikistan) and nine non-States Parties (Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Poland, Russia, Turkey, and Uzbekistan), as well as in Chechnya.

Limited clearance by military and other entities, such as explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) units of national police responding to emergencies necessitating the clearance of landmines or UXO, was recorded in Belarus, Czech Republic, Georgia, Moldova, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine. Limited military mine clearance for tactical purposes was noted in Russia (Chechnya) and Uzbekistan. Limited mine clearance to maintain minefields was noted in Cyprus.

In 2002, the Kyrgyz military reportedly began clearance in some areas, but, according to the Kyrgyz Border Guard Service, stopped due to disputes about the border. In southern Serbia, the Army and Ministry of the Interior deactivated or destroyed 6,654 mines and 223,058 items of UXO, including cluster bombs, from May 2001 to December 2002. Demining by the Turkish Army of the border with Bulgaria was completed in mid-2002.

No mine clearance of any type was noted in 2002 in Denmark or the Falklands/Malvinas (UK).

Mine Action Coordination and Planning

Landmine Monitor noted some form of coordination and planning body in place in seven of Europe and Central Asia’s 21 mine-affected countries (Albania, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, FYR Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, and Tajikistan), as well as in Abkhazia, Kosovo, and Nagorno-Karabakh.

During this reporting period, Landmine Monitor noted a national mine action plan in four of the region’s mine-affected countries (Albania, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia), but more countries are in the process of drafting and approving plans.

Mine Risk Education (MRE)

In 2002, MRE programs were carried out in nine countries (Albania, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, FYR Macedonia, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro, and Tajikistan), and four areas (Abkhazia, Chechnya, Kosovo, and Nagorno-Karabakh). Basic or limited MRE activities took place in four countries (Belarus, Georgia, Poland and Ukraine). No MRE activities were recorded in nine mine-affected countries (Armenia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Turkey, and Uzbekistan).

UNICEF and ICRC, along with local Red Cross or Red Crescent societies, were important MRE implementers in most of these countries or regions. In Croatia, the mine action center also carries out MRE. The HALO Trust conducted MRE in Abkhazia.

In Kosovo, the designated local bodies failed to plan for MRE, which was then carried out by UNICEF, ICRC, the German NGO Caritas and the local NGO ARKA. In Albania, a survey of MRE activities was conducted in August 2002, resulting in a revised MRE strategy. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, MRE became part of the school curriculum and 541,550 pupils received mine risk education as a result. In FYR Macedonia, the ICRC and the Macedonian Red Cross launched a media campaign aimed at reaching a wider audience. In Serbia and Montenegro, local and state-run media carried out MRE programs. In Kyrgyzstan the local Red Crescent Society, in coordination with the Ministry of Emergency Situations, initiated a community-based MRE program in Batken Oblast.

No systematic MRE programs were reported in Georgia, Moldova, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, or Uzbekistan.

Mine/UXO Casualties

In 2002-2003, landmine casualties were reported in fifteen countries: Albania, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Georgia, Greece, Kyrgyzstan, FYR Macedonia, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Mine casualties were also reported in the regions of Abkhazia, Chechnya, Kosovo, and Nagorno-Karabakh. In addition, six countries reported new casualties caused by unexploded ordnance, remnants of earlier conflicts: the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Slovakia.

The level of new mine casualties reported in 2002 was similar to, or in some cases significantly less than, that reported in 2001: Albania, seven casualties recorded, down from eight in 2001; Bosnia and Herzegovina, 72 casualties recorded, down from 87; Croatia, 29 casualties recorded, down from 30; Kosovo, fifteen casualties recorded, down from 22 (most of the casualties were caused by UXO and cluster bombs); FYR Macedonia, four casualties recorded, down from 38; Nagorno-Karabakh, fifteen casualties recorded, down from eighteen; Georgia, 70 casualties reported, down from 98; Serbia and Montenegro, five casualties reported, down from 32; Tajikistan, nine casualties reported, down from 29; and Turkey, 40 casualties reported, down from 58 in 2001.

The Ministry of Health in Chechnya reported a total of 5,695 mine and UXO casualties in 2002, a much higher number than it reported in 2001 (2,140).

In 2002-2003, mine/UXO casualties also included nationals from countries in the region killed or injured while abroad engaged in military or demining operations, peacekeeping, or other activities: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

Survivor Assistance

In Albania, the health infrastructure in mine-affected areas is inadequate for the treatment and rehabilitation of mine survivors; however, the AMAE has appointed an MRE and victim assistance officer to coordinate activities and develop a plan of action for addressing the needs of mine survivors. In Armenia, the Yerevan Prosthetic-Orthopedic Enterprise received funding and resumed activities as of March 2003, after ceasing operations during 2002. In Azerbaijan, ANAMA has appointed a victim assistance officer to coordinate activities of the Mine Victim Assistance Working Group and develop a long-term assistance program. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the BHMAC plans to establish a mine victim assistance coordination group to develop a plan of action; in a separate initiative, the “Development Strategy for BiH: PRSP (poverty reduction strategy policy) and Social Protection of People with Disabilities” includes a proposal for a law on the protection of people with disabilities without question on the cause of disability. In Chechnya, the Grozny Prosthetic/Orthotic Center started production. In Croatia, the Parliament passed a resolution accepting a new national strategy aimed at improving the quality of life of persons with disabilities, without distinction to the cause of their disability. In Georgia, the Tbilisi Orthopedic Center had 458 amputees on its waiting list for services as at the end of December 2002. In Kosovo, the Ministry of Health has appointed an officer for physical medicine and rehabilitation to strengthen the rehabilitation sector. In Slovenia, the International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance facilitated a regional study on mine victim assistance in the Balkans.

France has served as co-chair of the Standing Committee on Victim Assistance and Socio-Economic Reintegration since September 2002.

In the Europe and Central Asia region, the voluntary Form J reporting attachment to the Article 7 report was submitted by Albania, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Sweden, and Tajikistan to report on victim assistance and other mine action activities in 2002-2003. Bulgaria, Denmark, and Romania used the Form J to report on other issues.