Landmine Monitor 1999

Europe/Central Asia

For the purposes of this report, those countries who have consented to be bound by the Mine Ban Treaty, but have not yet completed the six-month waiting period, are included in the States Parties Section.

MBT Signature and Ratification

Thirty-nine of the fifty-three countries in Europe/Central Asia have signed the Mine Ban Treaty. That includes four since the the initial December 1997 treaty signing conference: Albania, Macedonia (which acceded), Ukraine and Lithuania.

The fourteen non-signatories are: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, and FR Yugoslavia. It can be noted that this list contains eleven states from the former Soviet Union. All of the European Union has signed except Finland, all of NATO except Turkey, and all of Central/East Europe except the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

While nations from the former Soviet Union have been reluctant to sign, Turkmenistan did so at the December 1997 treaty signing conference, and became the fourth country in the world to ratify in January 1998. In a very important development, Ukraine--with 10 million antipersonnel mines, the world’s fourth largest arsenal-- signed in February 1999, as did Lithuania, the first Baltic state.

Of the thirty-nine signatories from the region, twenty-four have ratified (in chronological order): Ireland, Turkmenistan, Holy See, San Marino, Switzerland, Hungary, Croatia, Denmark, Austria, Andorra, Norway, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Slovenia, Monaco, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, and Slovakia.

The fifteen who have not ratified are: Albania, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, and Ukraine. Greece issued a formal statement upon signature indicating that ratification will take place “as soon as conditions relating to the implementation of [the treaty’s] relevant provisions are fulfilled.” Lithuania made a nearly identical statement at signature. Poland has indicated it will not implement the treaty until it becomes “truly universal with the participation of all major powers,” and Poland has found alternatives to APMs.

APM Use

In the period from December 1997 to early 1999, it appears that new antipersonnel mines were laid in FR Yugoslavia and Kosovo by the Yugoslav army and the Kosovo Liberation Army, in Turkey by the government and the Kurdish (PKK) separatists, and in Abkhazia by Georgian partisans. There were also frequent allegations of use by Abkhazian partisans in Georgia, and by rebels in Tajikistan. None of these instances involve treaty signatories.

APM Production and Export

As a result of having signed the treaty or of domestic policies, twenty-three countries in this region have stopped production of antipersonnel mines: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and United Kingdom. (Belarus, Cyprus and Ukraine have been identified by some as producers, but deny current or past production). The Landmine Monitor Report 1999 is the first to reveal details on Albania’s past role in mine production.

Russia, Turkey, and Yugoslavia remain the only producers in the region. Russia announced a halt to production of blast antipersonnel mines in 1998. According to some Yugoslav sources, there has been no APM production there for several years.

No country in this region is believed to be engaged in antipersonnel mine exports. Landmine Monitor has identified eighteen regional countries as past exporters; sixteen have signed the treaty, Russia has a formal moratoriumon export of non-detectable and non-self-destructing mines, and Yugoslavia has publicly stated that it no longer exports APMs.

APM Stockpiles

There are likely more than 100 million antipersonnel mines stockpiled in this region, with Russia holding an estimated 60-70 million, and Belarus stockpiling millions, possibly tens of millions, of APMs. Yugoslavia is also likely to have a very large stockpile, but the number is unknown. Finland has indicated it has less than one million APMs in stock.

As of early 1999, it is believed that the biggest stockpiles held by treaty signatories are those of Ukraine (10 million), Italy (7 million), Sweden (3 million), Albania (2 million), United Kingdom (850,000), France (650,000) and Spain (595,000). Destruction is underway or in the planning stage in each case, with the exception of Albania. Greece is also thought to have a significant stockpile of mines, with no plans for destruction yet in place.

But millions of mines have been destroyed in recent years, notably by Switzerland (3 million), Germany (1.7 million), France (750,000), Belgium (430,000), United Kingdom (430,000), Sweden (315,000) Netherlands (255,000), Spain (about 225,000), Denmark (about 200,000), Austria (116,000), and Ukraine (101,000). In addition, Russia has destroyed 500,000 APMs that do not comply with the revised mines protocol of the CCW.

Austria, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Norway, and Switzerland have completed destruction of their operational stocks of antipersonnel mines. At least another sixteen countries have destroyed some APMs.

Landmine Problem and Mine Action

There are very serious mine problems in Bosnia and Croatia, as well as in Chechnya (Russia), Abkhazia (Georgia) and Nagorny-Karabakh (Azerbaijan). Other mine affected countries include Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Yugoslavia. Large scale humanitarian mine clearance programs are underway in Bosnia and Croatia.

In addition, a number of countries in the region are still suffering from mines and unexploded ordnance left over from World War II, notably Belarus, Belgium, Denmark, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine. In some cases, thousands of mines and UXOs are still cleared each year.

Thirteen of the top seventeen donors for global mine action are from this region, including Norway, Sweden, UK, Germany, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, Finland, Belgium,Austria and Ireland. Combined contributions total more than $380 million.