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Country Reports
Lithuania, Landmine Monitor Report 2003


Key developments since May 2002: Lithuania ratified the Mine Ban Treaty on 12 May 2003, and will become a State Party on 1 November 2003. In July 2002, Lithuania submitted a voluntary Article 7 Report, in which it declared a stockpile of 8,091 antipersonnel mines and indicated its intent to retain the entire stockpile for training purposes. In 2002, 4,999 items of UXO and landmines were detected and destroyed.

Mine Ban Policy

The Republic of Lithuania signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 22 February 1999, and deposited its instrument of ratification with the United Nations on 12 May 2003.[1] Lithuania will become a State Party on 1 November 2003.

On 2 July 2002, Lithuania submitted a voluntary Article 7 transparency report, as an indication of the government’s commitment to meet the obligations of the Mine Ban Treaty.[2] Lithuania participated as an observer in the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in September 2002. On 22 November 2002, Lithuania voted in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution 57/74, which calls for universalization and implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty. The domestic procedures necessary for ratification were completed on 25 March 2003. [3]

Lithuania attended the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in February and May 2003. In the May meetings, Lithuania’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Erikas Petrikas, announced the deposit of its ratification instrument, and acknowledged the support of the treaty’s Standing Committees and organizations such as the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. He encouraged countries not yet members of the Mine Ban Treaty to follow Lithuania’s example, and expressed Lithuania’s hope that its ratification would encourage other countries to create a mine-free region in northeastern Europe.[4]

Lithuania is a party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons and its Amended Protocol II, and submitted its report under Article 13 of the Protocol on 14 October 2002. It attended the Fourth Annual Conference of States Parties to Amended Protocol II in December 2002.

Lithuania has previously stated that licenses for the production, import or export of antipersonnel mines have not been issued since 1990. There has been an export moratorium in place since 1998.[5]

Lithuania has declared an antipersonnel mine stockpile of 8,091 mines: 3,975 PMN; four MON-50; 409 MON-100; and 3,703 OZM-72 mines. It intends to retain all of these mines for training purposes.[6] This would be the seventh largest total of retained mines among States Parties.

Landmine/UXO Problem, Clearance, and Casualties

Unexploded ordnance (UXO) from World War II continues to be found in Lithuania. Lithuania has reported that there are no mine clearance or rehabilitation programs in the country.[7] There are, however, four military units for explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) operations. In 2002, the Iron Wolf motorized infantry brigade destroyed 2,998 items of landmines and UXO (compared to 1,267 in 2001), the Juozas Vitkus engineering battalion destroyed 689 items (80 in 2001), the Zemaitija motorized infantry brigade destroyed 1,200 items (710 in 2001), and Jaeger battalion destroyed 112 items (101 in 2001).[8] The units found and destroyed 34 landmines (both antipersonnel and antivehicle) in 2002.[9]

With reference to comments in March 2002 that a mine clearance program was being developed, a Ministry of Defense spokesman clarified that “small-scale” training in mine and UXO clearance was underway, in the context of cooperation between Baltic countries, as well as exchange of information, creation of a joint database, and pre-mission training for international peacekeepers.[10]

Lithuania reports that it cooperates on mine and UXO clearance with Danish, French, German, Irish, Polish, Swedish, and US armed forces. Lithuanian Armed Forces have received metal detectors from Denmark, Germany, and Sweden.[11]

The Ministry of Defense was unaware of any casualties from mine/UXO incidents in 2001 or 2002. In 2003, as of June, there was one casualty – a civilian killed by UXO. Since 1992, deminers and EOD personnel have suffered no casualties from mines or UXO.[12]

[1] Intervention by Erikas Petrikas, Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Conference on Disarmament, Geneva, 27 March 2003.
[2] Article 7 Report, submitted on 2 July 2002, covering calendar year 2001.
[3] Statement by Lithuania to the Standing Committee on General Status and Operation of the Convention, Geneva, 12 May 2003 (Landmine Monitor notes).
[4] Ibid.
[5] See Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 566.
[6] Article 7 Report, Form D, 2 July 2002.
[7] Article 13 Report, Form B, 14 October 2002.
[8] Emails from Grazvydas Jasutis, Ministry of Defense, 18 April 2002 and 11 June 2003.
[9] Email from Mindaugas Vaisvila, Ministry of Defense, 23 June 2003.
[10] Emails from Grazvydas Jasutis, Ministry of Defense, 18 March 2002 and 11 June 2003.
[11] Article 13 Report, Form E, 14 October 2002; Landmine Monitor Report 2000, pp. 772-773.
[12] Emails from Grazvydas Jasutis, Ministry of Defense, 22 May 2002 and 11 June 2003; email from Romualdas Kunigonis, Head of Military Engineering School, Kaunas, 11 June 2003.