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Country Reports
Sierra Leone, Landmine Monitor Report 2003

Sierra Leone

Key developments since May 2002: Sierra Leone has not submitted its initial Article 7 transparency report, which was due on 30 March 2002. It is not known to have enacted any of the required national implementation measures.

Sierra Leone signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 29 July 1998, ratified on 25 April 2001 and it entered into force on 1 October 2001. Sierra Leone is not known to have enacted domestic implementation measures as required by Article 9. Its first Article 7 transparency report was due on 30 March 2002, but had not been submitted by the end of July 2003.

Sierra Leone did not attend the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva, in September 2002, nor was it present at the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in February or May 2003. Sierra Leone voted in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution 57/74 on 22 November 2002, calling for universalization and implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty.

During the 1991-2001 civil war, the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) has confirmed that it used a limited number of landmines.[1] Sierra Leone is not known to have produced or exported antipersonnel landmines. In February 2001, Sierra Leone acknowledged having a stockpile of 900 antipersonnel mines, but there has been no more information revealed about the stockpile.[2] Sierra Leone’s deadline for destruction of its stockpile, except any retained for training, is 1 October 2005.

Although Landmine Monitor has classified Sierra Leone as mine-affected, in the words of one UN official, there is no real threat of landmines in the country.[3] Most landmines used during the civil war have been removed. Sierra Leone faces more danger from unexploded ordnance (UXO) than landmines.[4]

In 2002, there were no new landmine casualties reported in Sierra Leone.[5] According to medical records at the Military Hospital at Wilberforce, 45 people were killed and eleven injured by landmines during the 1992-1997 civil war.[6]

[1] Interview with Kenneth McCauley, former Chief of Protocol for RUF President, Foday Sankoh, Freetown, 27 February 2002.
[2] Sierra Leone acknowledged having this stockpile during the Bamako Seminar on Landmines, Mali, February 2001, as reported in Landmine Monitor Report 2001, p. 144.
[3] Interview with Major Aden, UNAMSIL EOD Division, UNAMSIL Headquarters, Freetown, 25 February 2002.
[4] Interview with Major Ahsan, UNAMSIL EOD Division, UNAMSIL Headquarters, Freetown, 26 February 2002.
[5] US Department of State, “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2002: Sierra Leone,” Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Washington DC, 31 March 2003, at www.state.gov.
[6] Landmine Monitor Report 2001, p. 145.