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Spain, Landmine Monitor Report 2003


Key developments since May 2002: During 2002, the International Demining Training Center provided training courses on humanitarian demining for 100 personnel from Afghanistan, and 23 personnel from Angola and Mozambique.

Mine Ban Policy

Spain signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997 and ratified it on 19 January 1999, becoming a State Party on 1 July 1999. Legislation prohibiting antipersonnel mines was passed in October 1998. Spain takes the view that the penal sanctions required by the Mine Ban Treaty are already present in existing legislation.[1]

Spain instituted an export moratorium in 1994 and production of antipersonnel mines ceased officially in May 1996. Spain last used antipersonnel mines on the Moroccan border in 1975. Destruction of its stockpile of 835,286 antipersonnel mines was completed on 3 October 2000.[2]

Spain participated in the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in September 2002, and attended the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in February and May 2003.

The annual transparency report required by Article 7 of the Mine Ban Treaty had not been recorded as received by the UN by the deadline of 30 April 2003. Three previous Article 7 reports have been submitted.[3]

During its presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2002, Spain encouraged other countries to join the treaty, particularly during bilateral contacts, according to the government’s answer to a parliamentary question.[4] In November 2002, Spain voted in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution 57/74, which calls for universalization and implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty.

The Ministry of Defense has stated previously that there are no foreign antipersonnel mines on Spanish territory, including the US’s installations at Torrejón near Madrid and at Rota and Morón de la Frontera near Cadiz.[5] The Ministry has not responded to inquiries about its views on the legality of Spanish forces engaging in joint military operations involving antipersonnel mines with countries not party to the Mine Ban Treaty.

Spain’s view is that the issue of antivehicle mines with antihandling devices should be dealt with in the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW). Spain is in favor of negotiating a new CCW protocol specific to antivehicle mines.[6] Spanish legislation prohibits not only antipersonnel mines but also “similar weapons.” The Spanish Campaign to Ban Landmines has argued that antihandling devices capable of being detonated by the accidental act of a person are thereby already prohibited by Spanish law. The government has interpreted the legislation otherwise, and excluded antivehicle mines with antihandling devices from its implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty and Article 7 reporting.[7]

Spain is a State Party to the CCW and its Amended Protocol II, and attended the Fourth Annual Conference of States Parties to the Protocol in December 2002. The Ministry of Defense is in favor of a binding legal instrument regulating explosive remnants of war and requiring preventive measures.[8] On 29 October 2002, the Defense Commission approved a green paper stressing Spain’s view that the use of cluster bombs against civilians should be banned, and that technical measures allowing for the neutralization, deactivation and self-destruction of these weapons should be introduced.

Spain submitted a report as required by Article 13 of Amended Protocol II on 11 October 2002, which noted Spanish involvement in mine clearance and training of deminers.[9]

Mines Retained Under Article 3

Spain retained 4,000 mines for training and research purposes: 3,784 P-5 blast mines, and 216 P-4B blast mines. The specific purposes for which these mines are retained have not been stated. The numbers are unchanged since December 1999. In January 2003, the Ministry of Defense explained that the number of mines remains the same because their use in training programs does not require their destruction. At present, 160 mines are being used for the ANGEL project; these mines will be returned to the stocks when the program is finished.[10]

NGO Activities

In December 2002, on the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Mine Ban Treaty, Intermon-Oxfam held a press conference to launch the book, Vidas Minadas. Cinco años después (Mined lives. Five years later). Intermon-Oxfam also lobbied parliamentarians to increase funding earmarked for mine victim assistance. Also in December 2002, at the invitation of the United Nations Association-Spain, Queen Noor of Jordan took part in a number of events, including one at the Parliament of Catalonia.

In October 2002, Moviment per la Pau (MxP) held a meeting with the Rotary Club at the request of the ICBL. On its website the Rotary Club had its “Campaign for the Automatic Deactivation of Anti-Personnel Mines,” urging countries still manufacturing landmines to commit themselves to incorporate an automatic deactivating device. Because the Mine Ban Treaty calls for the prohibition of all antipersonnel mines, MxP and the ICBL asked the Rotary Club to stop its campaign. By January 2003, the website had closed.

Mine Action Funding and Assistance

Spain has not reported mine action funding for 2002 to the voluntary UN Mine Action Investments database. The Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs, and the Spanish Cooperation Agency (AECI), did not respond to Landmine Monitor requests in March 2003 for financial details of Spanish mine action funding in 2002.

A green paper approved by Parliament on 26 September 2001 urged the Spanish government to increase resources for demining, victim assistance, and mine awareness bilaterally, multilaterally and through donations to the UN Voluntary Trust Fund and NGOs.[11] In January 2003, the Ministry of Defense stated that activities undertaken to implement the green paper include increasing the staff of the International Demining Centre to 48 people (50 percent of its capacity), continuing training courses on explosives deactivation, sending two explosive deactivation teams to Kosovo (KFOR) and three teams to Afghanistan, and participating in SFOR operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Ministry is also studying ways of assisting mine-affected countries such as Nicaragua and Chile.[12] In March 2003 it was reported that Spain would provide army engineers for mine clearance in Iraq, as part of the humanitarian mission.[13]

During 2002, the International Demining Training Center opened by Spain in 2001 provided training courses on humanitarian demining for 100 personnel from Afghanistan, and 23 personnel from Angola and Mozambique. The courses were provided with the technical support of the Ministry of Defense, funding of €190,604 (US$181,074) from the AECI, and with the cooperation of Russian and Portuguese armed forces.[14] According to the Ministry of Defense, the value of its assistance (munitions, explosives, transport, cooperation) totaled €189,712 ($180,226). It also financed the travel of the Afghan students at a cost of €225,000 ($213,750). The Ministry of Defense has also invested €198,334 ($188,417) in acquiring material for demining that will be used in the Center’s courses and budgeted €1,442,420 ($1,370,299) for the Center’s infrastructure.[15]

In 2003, the Center expects to offer four courses on humanitarian demining for students from Afghanistan, Angola, Mozambique, and countries of Latin America.[16]

[1] See Landmine Monitor Report 2002, pp. 451-452.
[2] For details see: Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 650-654; Landmine Monitor Report 2001, pp. 785-786.
[3] Article 7 Report, 7 June 2002 (for the period 28 January-31 December 2001); Article 7 Report, 15 April 2001 (for the period 28 December 1999-31 December 2000); Article 7 Report, 15 December 1999 (for the period 1 July-28 December 1999).
[4] Government answer to parliamentary question by Carles Campuzano, GC-CIU (political party), Secretaria de Estado de Relaciones con las Cortes, 30 April 2002.
[5] See Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 451.
[6] Letter from Lt. Col. Jose Quevedo, Dirección General de Política de Defensa, Unidad de Control de Armamento, Ministry of Defense, 23 January 2003.
[7] See Landmine Monitor Report 2002, pp. 452-453.
[8] Letter from Lt. Col. Jose Quevedo, Ministry of Defense, 23 January 2003.
[9] CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, 11 October 2002.
[10] Letter from Lt. Col. Jose Quevedo, Ministry of Defense, 23 January 2003.
[11] For Spanish policy on mine action funding, see Landmine Monitor Report 2001, p. 788.
[12] Letter from Lt. Col. Jose Quevedo, Ministry of Defense, 23 January 2003.
[13] “Aznar anuncia el envío de 900 efectivos en misión humanitaria y que España no participará en el ataque” (Aznar announces the contribution of 900 personnel to the humanitarian mission but Spain will not join in the attack), Europa Press, 18 March 2002.
[14] CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, Form F, 11 October 2002. Exchange rate €1 = US$0.95. Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 6 January 2003.
[15] Letter from Lt. Col. Jose Quevedo, Ministry of Defense, 23 January 2003.
[16] Ibid.