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Country Reports
Lithuania, Landmine Monitor Report 2004


Key developments since May 2003: Lithuania became a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty on 1 November 2003. By June 2004, it had eliminated its antipersonnel mine stockpile by destroying 4,104 antipersonnel mines, and reconfiguring 3,987 directional fragmentation and bounding fragmentation antipersonnel mines to prevent victim activation. Lithuania has opted not to retain any antipersonnel mines for training purposes. In June 2004, Lithuania convened a Regional Conference on Landmines in Vilnius, attended by more than 20 countries, to promote the treaty in the region. In 2003, 11,525 items of unexploded ordnance and mines were detected and destroyed.

Key developments since 1999: Lithuania ratified the Mine Ban Treaty on 12 May 2003 and became a State Party on 1 November 2003. It completed stockpile destruction in June 2004, after initially indicating it would retain all of its stocks for training purposes. In 2002, Lithuania voluntarily submitted an Article 7 transparency report. Since 1992, 181,000 items of UXO have been destroyed. Planned clearance of UXO-contaminated areas started in 2002, and on average, 250,000 square meters have been checked and cleared each year.

Mine Ban Policy

The Republic of Lithuania signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 22 February 1999 and ratified it on 12 May 2003, becoming a State Party on 1 November 2003.[1] Lithuania has not indicated how it will meet the treaty’s Article 9 requirements for administrative or legislative implementation of the treaty, including penal sanctions.[2]

Lithuania attended all preparatory meetings of the Ottawa Process, and the Oslo negotiating conference in September 1997, but only as an observer. It did not sign the treaty when it opened for signature in December 1997. In September 1998, becoming a State Party to the treaty was described as a “long-term goal for Lithuania.”[3] The reasons for delay were regional, including the refusal of neighboring countries to join the treaty, as well as security fears: “Today it is hard to refuse the tactical use of landmines.... There is a long period of time needed to replace antipersonnel landmines with other weapon systems.”[4]

Still, Lithuania voted in favor of every annual UN General Assembly calling for universalization and implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty since 1997. It attended every annual Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty since the first in May 1999. It has participated in every intersessional meeting since 2002, as well as the meeting in December 2000. At the Fifth Meeting of States Parties in September 2003, Lithuania’s delegate said that “we felt it increasingly important to spearhead the Ottawa Process in our neighborhood...”[5]

Lithuania hosted a conference in June 2004 to promote the Mine Ban Treaty, the Northern and Eastern Europe Regional Conference on Landmines.[6] The Conference, which was held in Vilnius on 8–9 June 2004, was attended by over 20 countries, including neighboring non-party States Estonia, Finland, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine. Lithuania said that the security situation in northeastern Europe had changed, and that States not party to the treaty could benefit from the experience of others in the region that had become States Parties. Lithuania asked new States Parties in the region to submit their initial Article 7 reports before the Review Conference in November 2004.[7]

At the regional conference, the Lithuanian Foreign Minister, Antanas Valionis, called on “all the States in the region to bid farewell to landmines” and said that Lithuania was planning to contribute to mine action and stockpile destruction in Belarus and the Caucasus.[8] On 7 June, in the presence of international observers attending the conference, Lithuania completed destruction of two types of antipersonnel mine (see later section).

On 15 April 2004, Lithuania submitted an Article 7 transparency report. This was Lithuania’s second transparency report; the first was a voluntary pre-ratification report, submitted on 2 July 2002 as an indication of the government’s commitment to the Mine Ban Treaty.[9] Lithuania has encouraged other countries not yet members of the Mine Ban Treaty to follow this example, in the interests of transparency.[10]

Lithuania is a party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons and its Amended Protocol II. It attended the Fifth Annual Conference of States Parties to the Protocol in November 2003, and submitted an annual report under Article 13 of the Protocol on 27 October 2003. It has attended annual conferences and submitted Article 13 reports in previous years. In other CCW work, Lithuania has supported proposals on explosive remnants of war and mines other than antipersonnel mines.

Production and Transfer

Lithuania states that production and import/export of antipersonnel mines have not been licensed since 1990, and there has been a moratorium on export in place since 1998.[11] Its July 2002 Article 7 report declared that there are no production facilities for antipersonnel mines in Lithuania.[12]

Stockpiling and Destruction

Lithuania possessed a stockpile of 8,091 antipersonnel mines of Soviet origin, including four types.[13] The April 2004 Article 7 report reveals that two types (PMN and MON-50) were included in the stockpile destruction program. The other two types (MON-100 and OZM-72) were “changed to remotely controlled,” and will be retained (except a small number of OZM-72 that have been destroyed). These 3,987 re-configured mines (3,578 OZM-72 and 409 MON-100) will not be included in future Article 7 reports. The MON-100 is a directional fragmentation mine, which has both victim-activated and controlled detonation modes. Several other States Parties have physically modified their directional fragmentation mines to remove the victim-activation capability which is prohibited by the Mine Ban Treaty.

The OZM-72 is a victim-activated bounding fragmentation antipersonnel mine.[14] Landmine Monitor is not aware of any other State Party that has reconfigured such a mine to prevent victim activation. At the June 2004 Standing Committee meetings, the ICBL expressed concerns that this was not a desirable practice in that it could open the door for attempts to modify many types of mines in ways that may not be effective in protecting civilians. The ICBL stressed the need to ensure the permanent nature of the modification, and the need for complete transparency regarding irreversibility and changes to training and doctrine.[15]

During 2003, Lithuania destroyed 54 PMN and 125 OZM-72 mines from its stockpile.[16] Destruction of the remainder of its stockpiles of 3,921 PMN and four MON-50 mines started on 5 April 2004, at the Kazlu training range, and was completed on 7 June 2004, in a ceremony at the Pabrade military base attended by international observers present for the regional landmine conference in Vilnius.[17]

In total, 4,104 antipersonnel mines were destroyed, and 3,987 were modified. Lithuania opted not to retain any mines from its stockpile for training and development purposes, although in its initial Article 7 report it indicated it would retain the entire stockpile of 8,091.

Landmine/UXO Problem and Clearance

Unexploded ordnance (UXO) remaining from World War II is found in some areas, notably Rukla, near Kaunas. Explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) operations are carried out by four military units. In 2003, these units cleared a total of 11,525 items of UXO, including 17 antivehicle mines. This compares to 4,999 in 2002 and 2,158 in 2001.[18] In 2004, through August, the units destroyed 2,282 items of UXO, including three antipersonnel mines and 23 antivehicle mines.[19]

Since 1992, 22,000 reports of UXO have been received, and 181,000 items of UXO have been destroyed. Planned clearance of UXO-contaminated areas started in 2002. On average, 25 hectares (250,000 square meters) have been checked and cleared each year.[20]

The Lithuanian armed forces have received training and technical assistance for EOD operations, including the supply of metal detectors, from Austria, Denmark, Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom.[21] Training for EOD operations takes place at the Kaunas military engineering school. At the Fifth Meeting of States Parties, Lithuania reported that Kaunas has started providing EOD training courses for personnel from other countries, with Swedish assistance. In the near future, Lithuania expects to be able to contribute to international mine action.[22]

Landmine/UXO Casualties

In 2003, one civilian was killed by UXO.[23] From 1990 to 2002, 12 people were killed by UXO and another six were injured. The Ministry of Defense is unaware of any casualties from mine/UXO incidents in 2001 or 2002. Since 1992, deminers and EOD personnel have suffered no casualties from mines or UXO. In 1998, one Lithuanian peacekeeper was killed in a mine incident in Bosnia.[24]

There are no rehabilitation programs in Lithuania specific to mine/UXO survivors.[25] Lithuanian military personnel who were injured during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s receive state social support as persons with disabilities, and also benefited from several war veterans associations. In 2000, there were reported to be about 1,500 Afghanistan war veterans, including mine survivors, in Lithuania.[26]

[1] Parliament approved ratification on 23 March 2003, and the instrument of ratification was deposited at the UN on 12 May 2003.
[2] This information was not included in its initial Article 7 transparency report. Article 7 Report, Form A, 15 April 2004.
[3] Speech by Vladas Adamkus, President of Lithuania, Fifty-third Session of the UN General Assembly, September 1998.
[4] Telephone interview with Andrius Krivas, Ministry of Defense, Vilnius, 20 January 1999. See also Landmine Monitor Report 2000, pp. 720–721.
[5] Statement by Lithuania, Fifth Meeting of States Parties, Bangkok, 17 September 2003. Lithuania attended as an observer, due to the delay in depositing its instrument of ratification.
[6] Formally, the Regional Seminar on Advancing the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction in Northern and Eastern Europe.
[7] Statement by Lithuania, Standing Committee on General Status and Operation of the Convention, 21 June 2004.
[8] “Valionis land mines international conference,” ELTA (news agency), 8 June 2004. The conference was hosted by Lithuania in cooperation with Canada, Germany and the Netherlands.
[9] See Article 7 reports submitted: 15 April 2004 (for calendar year 2003); 2 July 2002 (for calendar year 2001).
[10] Statement by Lithuania, Standing Committee on General Status and Operation of the Convention, 12 February 2003.
[11] Letter from Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 12 January 2000.
[12] Article 7 Report, Form E, 2 July 2002.
[13] Article 7 Report, Form D, 2 July 2002. The four types were: PMN (3,975), MON-50 (4), MON-100 (409), and OZM-72 (3,703).
[14] Article 7 Report, Form D, 15 April 2004.
[15] Presentation by ICBL, Standing Committee on Stockpile Destruction, Geneva, 24 June 2004.
[16] Article 7 Report, Form G, 15 April 2004.
[17] Article 7 Report, Form F, 15 April 2004; presentation by Capt. Rimantas Zukas, Deputy Commander, Juozas Engineer Battalion, North and Eastern Europe Regional Conference on Landmines, Vilnius, 8–9 June 2004.
[18] Email from Bartas Trakymas, Chief Analyst, International Relations Department, Ministry of National Defense, Vilnius, 10 September 2004; and see Landmine Monitor Report 2003, p. 318. Prior to 2001, data on UXO found and destroyed in Lithuania was not reported by Landmine Monitor.
[19] Email from Bartas Trakymas, Ministry of National Defense, 10 September 2004.
[20] Presentation by Capt. Rimantas Zukas, Regional Conference on Landmines, 8–9 June 2004.
[21] Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, Form E, 27 October 2003. See also Landmine Monitor Report 2000, p. 772.
[22] Statement by Lithuania, Fifth Meeting of States Parties, 17 September 2003.
[23] Email from Grazvydas Jasutis, Ministry of Defense, 11 June 2003. Landmine Monitor requested, but not received information on mine/UXO casualties since June 2003.
[24] See Landmine Monitor Report 1999, p. 739, and Landmine Monitor Report 2001, p. 733.
[25] CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, Form E, 27 October 2003.
[26] See Landmine Monitor Report 2000, p. 773.