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Country Reports
MOLDOVA, Landmine Monitor Report 2005


Key developments since May 2004: During 2004, Moldova destroyed 736 mines it had previously identified as retained for training. It also stated that the 249 remotely-controlled antipersonnel mines it still retained would be destroyed in the future. Moldova revised its information on previous destruction of stockpiled antipersonnel mines, indicating 13,194 mines were destroyed in 2002.

Mine Ban Policy

The Republic of Moldova signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997, ratified on 8 September 2000, and the treaty entered into force on 1 March 2001. Moldova has not enacted new legal measures to implement the Mine Ban Treaty domestically, but Article 227 of the country’s criminal code penalizes possession, stocking, procurement, production and selling of firearms, munitions and explosive devices without authorization with five years’ imprisonment.[1 ]

Moldova submitted its fourth Article 7 transparency report on 6 May 2005.[2 ]

Moldova participated in the First Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty in Nairobi in November-December 2004. In one statement it called for “non-states parties, including those of the Commonwealth of Independent States that have troops and ammunitions deployed on the territory of other sovereign states, in particular those affected by internal conflicts, to immediately withdraw or destroy all [antipersonnel mines] that might still be in the stocks, in conditions of full transparency.”[3 ] This was a reference to Russian forces stationed in the Transdniester region of Moldova. In another statement, Moldova said, “We must also ensure universalization not just of the treaty, but of the new international norm it has established, where any use, stockpiling, production and transfer of antipersonnel mines by any state or non-state actor is rejected and condemned.”[4 ]

Moldova also participated in the treaty’s intersessional meetings in Geneva in June 2005, but made no statements. Moldova has not engaged in the extensive discussions that States Parties have had on matters of interpretation and implementation related to Articles 1, 2 and 3 of the ban treaty. Thus, it has not made known its views on the issues of joint military operations with non-States Parties, antivehicle mines with sensitive fuzes or antihandling devices, and the permissible number of mines retained for training.

Moldova is a member of the Convention on Conventional Weapons and its Amended Protocol II on landmines. It was absent from the Sixth Annual Conference of States Parties to Amended Protocol II held on 17 November 2004, and has not submitted an annual national report as required by Article 13.

Production, Transfer, Use, Stockpiling and Destruction

Moldova has stated that it has never produced or imported antipersonnel mines and that it inherited its stocks from the Soviet Union. Moldova is not known to have ever exported antipersonnel mines. Government forces and separatist groups used mines in the 1992 conflict in the Transdniester region (see below).

Moldova’s reporting on its stockpiled antipersonnel mines, mines destroyed and mines retained has been inconsistent in its Article 7 reports, with the May 2005 report correcting or revising previous information.[5 ] According to the May 2005 report, Moldova destroyed its stockpile of 13,194 antipersonnel mines between 23 September and 26 November 2002.[6 ] During 2004, Moldova destroyed an additional 736 mines it had previously identified as retained for training: 200 PMN mines; 136 PMN-2 mines; 400 MIA-75 mines.[7 ] It did not specify if the mines were destroyed during training activities, or because they were determined to no longer be necessary, but it appears to be the latter reason. Moldova listed 249 mines as still retained for “personnel instruction and training the National Army”: 59 OZM-72 mines; 12 MON-50 mines; 178 MON-100 mines.[8 ] It also stated, “In the future, 249 remotely controlled anti-personnel mines presently retained...will also be destroyed.”[9 ]

Moldova has not yet reported in any detail on the intended purposes and actual uses of its retained mines—a step agreed to by States Parties in the Nairobi Action Plan that emerged from the First Review Conference.

Mine Action

Moldova has declared that, for the purposes of the Mine Ban Treaty, it is not mine-affected. It reported that destruction of all antipersonnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control was completed by August 2000.[10 ] Between May and August 2000, a demining operation cleared 85 hectares (850,000 square meters) of terrain mined during the military conflict of 1992 and eliminated 345 explosive objects.[11 ] In 1999 and 2000, Moldova received humanitarian demining training and equipment from the US Department of Defense.[12 ]

Moldova is still affected by unexploded ordnance (UXO) from World War II and from the Transdniester conflict of 1992. The Ministry of Defense and the police demining teams of the Ministry of Interior Affairs are responsible for demining in Moldova. For clearance purposes, Moldova is divided into four areas of responsibility. Teams from the First, Second and Third Army Infantry Brigades, and from the Engineers Department of the Ministry of Defense are responsible for demining these areas.

There are no systematic mine risk education programs in Moldova, but during clearance operations deminers meet with the local population and provide them with information on what to do if they find a mine or UXO.

In July 2004, the parliament approved an extension of Moldova’s participation in demining operations in Iraq, deploying a new team of 12 Army deminers selected on a voluntary basis.[13 ]

Landmine Casualties and Survivor Assistance

A Moldovan citizen was killed on 30 May 2004 and another injured when they entered a minefield while trying to cross the border between Greece and Turkey.[14 ]

There is no public information on mine casualties in Moldova. However, it is known that Moldova has mine survivors from the conflict in the Transdniester region, and from peacekeeping missions. In April 2000, parliament enacted laws to protect the rights of persons with disabilities and war veterans. In May 2001, a new law was passed to increase social payments for war veterans, persons with disabilities and their families.[15 ]

Transdniester Region

The Transdniester region accounts for 11 percent of the territory of Moldova. It declared independence on 2 September 1990 as the Pridnestrovie Moldavian Republic (Pridnestrovskaya Moldavskaya Respublika, PMR), but has not been recognized internationally. Both sides used landmines when fighting broke out between Moldova and PMR in 1992.[16 ] PMR forces maintain control of the Transdniester region, while a July 1992 cease-fire agreement established a tripartite peacekeeping force comprised of Moldovan, Russian and PMR units; negotiations to resolve the conflict continue. The Russian (Soviet) 14th Army has been based in the Transdniester region of Moldova since 1956.

Pridnestrovie was also the scene of heavy fighting during World War II, and an unknown number of German and Soviet mines are still scattered in old battlefields. Unexploded ordnance constitutes a more serious threat than landmines, especially in the Ribnitsa, Dubosary, Tiraspol and Bendery regions. More than 43,000 tons of ammunition, including landmines, was located in two depots in the Transdniester region, but Russia maintains that 30 percent of the stock was returned to Russia for destruction between 2001 and 2003.[17 ]

The Engineer Battalion of the PMR Ministry of Defense is responsible for demining operations, while Russian engineer units attached to the peacekeeping forces also take part in mine clearance. A Joint Control Commission, co-chaired by Moldova and PMR, coordinates all peacekeeping activities, including demining.[18 ]

In December 2004, Moldova told the First Review Conference that “the specific situation in the eastern part of the country represents the main obstacle that prevents the implementation of the Ottawa Convention on the whole of the territory of the Republic of Moldova.... We hope the completion of the withdrawal of foreign military arsenal and troops...will facilitate both the settlement of the internal political conflict and the subsequent extension of the Convention’s effects in the territory that is not currently under the control of the legitimate Government.”[19]

In April 2004, the government of Moldova declared that it “has no information concerning the implementation of the Convention in the Transdniester Region...currently controlled by an anti-constitutional regime of Tiraspol,” and it has no “information concerning antipersonnel mines belonging to the Russian Federation that are presently stockpiled in the Transdniester region.”[20 ]

The total number of landmine casualties in the Transdniester region is not known, as information is not publicly available. PMR reportedly provides full support for the medical rehabilitation and socioeconomic reintegration of victims of war.[21 ]

[1 ]Article 7 Report, para. 9, 29 April 2004.

[2 ]Previous Article 7 reports were submitted on 8 April 2002, 17 April 2003 and 29 April 2004. The two most recent reports do not utilize the voluntary forms for reporting or specify the reporting period.

[3 ]Statement by Victor Moraru, Director, UN Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nairobi Summit on a Mine-Free World (First Review Conference), Nairobi, 29 November 2004.

[4 ]Statement by Victor Moraru, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, First Review Conference, Nairobi, 3 December 2004.

[5 ]The 2002 report indicated 11,272 stockpiled mines would be destroyed, and 849 retained for training. The 2004 report stated 12,892 mines had been destroyed in 2002, and 411 retained. The 2005 report stated 13,194 had been destroyed in 2002, plus another 736 destroyed in 2004, and 249 retained for training. If the totals in the latest 2005 report are correct, it appears that the 2002 report did not include 2,056 MAI mines held by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. It appears the 2004 report had a typographical error listing 9,592 PMN mines destroyed instead of 9,792. The 2004 report apparently erroneously listed 2,500 MAI mines as destroyed in 2002 and 75 retained, because the 2005 report indicates 2,600 were destroyed in 2002 and 400 retained (with the 400 subsequently destroyed in 2004). The 2004 report also fails to include 249 OZM and MON mines as either stockpiled or retained for training, while the other two reports list them as retained for training.

[6 ]Article 7 Report, para. 7, 6 May 2005. This included 9,792 PMN mines, 800 PMN-2 mines, 2,600 MAI-75 mines and two MON-100 mines. This report indicated for the first time that 2,056 of the MAI-75 mines belonged to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The stockpile destruction was carried out by the NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency (NAMSA). See Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 576.

[7 ]Article 7 Report, para. 7, 6 May 2005. In its 2002 report Moldova indicated it would retain 200 PMN-2 mines and 200 MAI-75 mines. In its 2004 report, it said 136 PMN-2 and 75 MAI-75 were retained.

[8 ]Article 7 Report, para. 2, 6 May 2005. In its 2002 report, Moldova stated the OZM-72 and MON series mines were retained “in order to use them as tactical mines and for training.” These mines were not included at all in Moldova’s 2004 Article 7 report. The ICBL expressed concern that these were apparently no longer considered antipersonnel mines and noted Moldova had not explained what modifications had been made so that these no longer met the treaty definition of an antipersonnel mine. See Landmine Monitor Report 2004, pp. 575-576

[9 ]Article 7 Report, para. 6, 6 May 2005.

[10 ]Article 7 Report, Form C, 8 April 2002; Republic of Moldova Response to Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Questionnaire, (FSC.DEL/655/02), 16 December 2002, p. 2; Article 7 Report, para. 3, 29 April 2004. Moldova’s treaty deadline for destruction of all antipersonnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control is 1 March 2011.

[11 ]Article 7 Report, para. 3, 29 April 2004.

[12 ]This included assistance valued at US$71,000 in 1999 and $43,000 in 2000. US Department of State, “Demining Program Financing History,” 24 October 2000. See also, US Department of State, Office of the Spokesman, Media Note, “Global Humanitarian Demining: Removal of Land Mines in Moldova,” 6 September 2000.

[13 ]Valeriy Rusu, Chief of Press Service, Ministry of Defense, Moldova, 26 July 2004; see also Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 576.

[14 ]“Would-be immigrant killed in minefield blast on Greek border,” Agence France-Presse (Athens), 30 May 2004.

[15 ]“War Veterans to Be Better Socially Protected in Moldova,” Moldova Azi, 3 May 2001, www.azi.md/news?ID=11660, accessed 18 September 2004.

[16 ]US Department of State, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, “Background Note: Moldova (07-04),” July 2004.

[17 ]Interview with Dmitry Kozak, First Deputy of the Head of Administration of President of Russia, RIA Novosty, 17 November 2003.

[18 ]Statement by Vladimir Bodnar, Head of Defense Commission, Parliament of PMR, 22 January 2003.

[19] Statement by Victor Moraru, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, First Review Conference, Nairobi, 3 December 2004.

[20 ]Article 7 Report, paras. 10-11, 29 April 2004.

[21 ]See Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 351.