Landmine Monitor 2000

Banning Antipersonnel Mines


One hundred and thirty-seven countries have signed or acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty as of 31 July 2000, including two since the publication of Landmine Monitor Report 1999: Tajikistan (acceded 12 October 1999) and Liberia (acceded 23 December 1999). Tajikistan became the second former Soviet republic to become a State Party; Liberia the twentieth African nation (now at 27); mines were used in both countries in the near past. Thirteen other nations have signed or acceded since the Ottawa signing conference on 3-4 December 1997. Since the treaty entered into force on 1 March 1999, states must accede and cannot simply sign the treaty with intent to ratify at a later date.

Considering the relatively short time that this issue has been before the international community, the number of signatories – more than two-thirds of the world’s nations -- is exceptional. This is a clear indication of the widespread international rejection of any use or possession of antipersonnel mines.

Every country in the Western Hemisphere has signed except the U.S. and Cuba, every member of the European Union except Finland, every member of NATO except the U.S. and Turkey, 41 of the 48 countries in Africa, and key Asian nations such as Japan, Thailand, and Indonesia. Several of the most heavily mine-affected countries are States Parties -- Cambodia, Mozambique, Bosnia, and Croatia. Several others are signatories – Angola, Sudan, and Ethiopia. Major past producers and exporters are now States Parties, including Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Italy, and the United Kingdom.

Moreover, awareness is clearly growing among non-state actors about the global movement toward eradication of antipersonnel mines, and several have in 1999 and 2000 unilaterally pledged to discontinue use.

Still, fifty-six countries have not yet signed the treaty. This includes three of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- the United States, Russia, and China. It includes most of the Middle East, most of the former Soviet republics, and many Asian nations. Major producers such the US, Russia, China, India and Pakistan are not part of the treaty. Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, and Eritrea are perhaps the most heavily mine-affected countries that have not signed. For the first two, however, there is no internationally recognized government capable of signing, and the Taliban in Afghanistan have unilaterally declared a comprehensive ban.

Virtually all of the non-signatories have endorsed the notion of a comprehensive ban on antipersonnel mines at some point in time, and many have already at least partially embraced the Mine Ban Treaty. There has been no change in the ban policies of some of the key states in the past year. U.S. policy is still aimed at joining the treaty in 2006, if it is successful in developing alternatives to AP mines. Even though Russia has been using AP mines in Chechnya, it reiterated in March 2000 that its policy is “aimed at the banning of landmines.” China has said it supports “the ultimate objective of comprehensive prohibition” of antipersonnel mines. Likewise, India re-stated in December 1999 that it “remains committed to the objective of a non-discriminatory, universal and global ban on anti-personnel mines.”

Universalization clearly remains the biggest challenge facing ban supporters. The fact that only two new countries have acceded to the treaty since its entry into force on 1 March 1999, and none have in 2000 (in contrast to the large number of ratifications by existing signatories), is testament to that.


After achieving the required forty ratifications in September 1998, the Mine Ban Treaty entered into force on 1 March 1999, becoming binding international law. This is believed to be the fastest entry into force of any major multilateral treaty ever. For a State that ratifies or accedes now, the treaty enters into force for it on the first day of the sixth month after the date on which that State deposited its instrument of ratification. That State is then required to make its implementation report to the UN Secretary-General within 180 days, destroy stockpiled mines within four years, and destroy mines in the ground within 10 years. It is also required to take appropriate domestic implementation measures, including imposition of penal sanctions.

One hundred nations have ratified the Mine Ban Treaty as of 31 July 1999 -- more than half the world’s nations and three-quarters of the Mine Ban Treaty signatories. Twenty-nine governments have ratified since publication of Landmine Monitor Report 1999. As with the number of signatories, the number of ratifications is very impressive for the relatively short time the treaty has been in existence. The milestone of 100 ratifications was a major objective of -- and cause for coordinated action by -- the ICBL, the ICRC, and key States Parties.

There is concern that the pace of ratifications has fallen off considerably, although perhaps a predictable and expected occurrence. There were three ratifications in December 1997 at the time of the treaty signing conference, 55 in 1998, 32 in 1999, and 10 from January-July 2000. However, there were six ratifications in June and July 2000, and Landmine Monitor research indicates a number of other signatories are aiming to deposit their instruments of ratification with the UN prior to the Second Meeting of States Parties in September 2000.

Regionally, 27 of 41 signatories in Africa have ratified; 26 of 33 in the Americas; 11of 18 in Asia/Pacific; 32 of 40 in Europe/Central Asia; and, four of five in the Middle East/North Africa.

There are 37 governments that have signed but not ratified the Mine Ban Treaty. Statements and actions on the part of several signatory countries have raised the possibility that these nations are not committed to ratifying the treaty in the near future. Among them are: Angola, Burundi, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Sudan; Brunei; Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Lithuania, and Poland.

Implementation – The Intersessional Work Program

At the First Meeting of States Parties, governments agreed to create an “intersessional” work program to be carried out during the year between the annual meetings of States Parties.[3] The purpose is to ensure swift and effective implementation of the treaty in all its aspects. Five Standing Committees of Experts (SCEs) were formed: General Status and Operation of the Convention; Stockpile Destruction; Mine Clearance; Technologies for Mine Action; and, Victim Assistance. Each SCE met twice to identify areas of concern and develop plans to ensure effective implementation. Their work has served to facilitate better coordination and to spur progress globally on the range of mine issues.

Global Use of Antipersonnel Mines

Perhaps the most disturbing findings of Landmine Monitor Report 2000 are that:

  • Angola, a treaty signatory, continues to use antipersonnel mines.
  • It is likely that Burundi and Sudan, also treaty signatories, have used antipersonnel mines in 1999 and 2000. Sudan has denied using AP mines. Landmine Monitor has been unable to get a confirmation or denial from Burundi.

The ICBL condemns any use of AP mines, but is particularly appalled at these governments’ disregard for their international commitments. While none of these governments have ratified the treaty, the use of AP mines by a signatory can be judged a breach of its international obligations. Under Article 18 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, “A state is obliged to refrain from acts which would defeat the object and purpose of a treaty has signed the treaty....” Clearly, new use of mines defeats the object and purpose of the treaty.

Landmine Monitor is also very concerned about continued allegations of use of antipersonnel mines by a number of armies in the complicated regional conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), including the armies of three Mine Ban Treaty States Parties: Rwanda,[4] Uganda, and Zimbabwe. All three of those governments deny use of AP mines, and Landmine Monitor has not been able to verify who is responsible for laying mines in the DRC. Uncertainties about who is responsible for use of antipersonnel mines in the DRC have continued for more than two years now. Landmine Monitor believes that it has reached the point where States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty should make detailed requests for clarification from Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe, and should make all necessary efforts to establish the facts regarding mine use in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Even if those States Parties have not used AP mines themselves, they may have engaged in cooperative military action with armed forces that have laid AP mines, which could also constitute a treaty violation. (See below under Joint Operations).

There have also been allegations of use by signatory Ethiopia, in its border conflict with Eritrea. The government of Ethiopia denies using AP mines.

Despite these disturbing findings, as noted in last year’s report, AP mines are no longer being used on the scale of the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s when millions per year were being emplanted, and when mines were clearly being laid at a much greater rate than being removed. Today, that is no longer the case; we have turned the tide in the battle against mines.

In the reporting period for this Landmine Monitor Report, since March 1999, the heaviest use of mines occurred in Chechnya, by both Russian and Chechen fighters, and in Kosovo, by both Yugoslav and Kosovo Liberation Army forces. Although it is impossible to be certain, some reports indicate hundreds of thousands of mines were used in Chechnya, mostly by Russian forces. Fighting and mine-laying continue at a diminished level as this report goes to print. The UN Mine Action Coordination Center in Kosovo estimates about 50,000 mines were planted during that conflict, nearly all by Yugoslav forces.

It appears likely that since March 1999 there was new use of antipersonnel mines in the following:


Angola: government and rebels (UNITA)

Burundi: government

Democratic Republic of Congo: government and rebels

Eritrea: government

Senegal: rebels (MFDC)

Somalia: various factions

Sudan: government and rebels (SPLA)

Uganda: rebels (LRA)


Colombia: rebel groups (FARC, ELN)


Afghanistan: opposition forces (Northern Alliance)

Burma: government and 10 rebel groups

India/Pakistan (Kashmir): Pakistan government and militants

Nepal: rebels

Philippines: rebel groups (MILF, NPA, Abu Sayyaf)

Sri anka: government and rebels (LTTE)

Europe/Central Asia

Georgia: non-state actors (use in Abkhazia)

Russia: government (in Chechnya, Dagestan) and rebels (Chechnya)

Turkey and Northern Iraq: rebels (PKK)

FR Yugoslavia: government and rebels (KLA)

Middle East/North Africa

Lebanon: Israel and non-state actors in occupied south Lebanon

Thus, Landmine Monitor believes that from early 1999 to mid-2000, it is likely that antipersonnel mines were used in 20 conflicts. Eleven governments and at least 30 rebel groups/non-state actors used mines. In two conflicts, only governments used AP mines; in nine conflicts only rebels/non-state actors used AP mines; and in nine conflicts both governments and rebels/non-state actors used AP mines.[5]

Moreover, Uzbekistan, though not actively involved in ongoing conflict, was reported to have reinforced its border with Kyrgyzstan with landmines.

The UN reported that Cyprus, a treaty signatory, engaged in minefield refurbishment on its side of the cease-fire line. Landmine Monitor is disturbed that a treaty signatory would engage in such activity. No other signatories are known to have refurbished existing minefields. It is likely that a number of non-signatories have done so.

Compared to last year’s Landmine Monitor Report 1999, the above list includes the addition of use in Chechnya/Dagestan, Kashmir, and the Philippines due to the outbreak of new conflict. For the other additions to the list (Burundi, DRC, Eritrea, Senegal, Sudan, and Nepal), it is likely in each case that AP mines were being used in the previous reporting period (December 1997-February 1999) as well, but such use has now been confirmed through additional research; also, in each case there appears to have been expanded use of AP mines. Those who were listed as using antipersonnel mines in the first Landmine Monitor reporting period but not the second include the governments of Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, and Turkey, and rebels in Djibouti (who apparently used only antitank mines in 1999-2000).

Global Production of Antipersonnel Mines

Among the developments in the global situation with respect to antipersonnel mine production since Landmine Monitor Report 1999:

  • Landmine Monitor research did not uncover any evidence of new production of antipersonnel mines by treaty State Parties or signatories.
  • Egypt told a UN assessment mission in February 2000 that it no longer produces antipersonnel mines, but it is unclear if this is an official policy or if it constitutes either a moratorium or prohibition on production.
  • In June 2000, Turkish officials told a representative of the ICBL that Turkey no longer produces AP mines, but there has been no formal confirmation of this information.
  • While Israel has stated frequently since 1997 that it no longer produces AP mines, an Israeli official told the ICBL in December 1999 that Israel does not rule out production of AP mines in the future if the situation requires it; it is not known if this is official policy.
  • There was one unconfirmed U.S. government report that identified Sudan as a current producer of landmines, an allegation not seen before.
  • Singapore and Vietnam both confirmed to Landmine Monitor reseachers that production of AP mines continues.
  • In December 1999, Russian military reconfirmed that the Russian Federation stopped producing blast AP mines.
  • The U.S. Department of Defense is seeking to produce a new mine system called RADAM that combines into a single canister existing antipersonnel mines and antitank mines; such a system would be prohibited under the Mine Ban Treaty that the U.S. aims to join in 2006;
  • India has stated that its production agencies have been instructed to cease production of landmines incompatible with CCW Amended Protocol II. India indicates it will be producing new mines that meet Protocol II standards, including AP mines with self-destruct and self-deactivation features.
  • In December 1999, a Pakistani diplomat told the ICBL that new production was required because of the deteriorating condition of many mines in its stockpile, both hand-laid mines and remotely-delivered mines. Pakistan has stated that it has taken steps to produce only detectable AP mines, and mines that meet Amended Protocol II technical standards.
  • The South Korean Ministry of Defense told Landmine Monitor that in 1999 its only produced 1,363 Claymore-type mines.
  • There is some new evidence that Syria may have been a producer in the past, which was previously unknown.

The number of AP mine producers has dropped dramatically in recent years, from 54 to 16. Of the 16 who are still producers, eight are in Asia (Burma, China, India, North Korea, South Korea, Pakistan, Singapore, and Vietnam), three are in Europe (Russia, Turkey, FR Yugoslavia), three are in the Middle East (Egypt, Iran, Iraq), two are in the Americas (Cuba, US), and none are in Africa.

The 38 who have stopped production include a majority of the big producers in the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s. Eight of the twelve biggest producers and exporters over the past thirty years are now States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty and have stopped all production and export: Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Italy, and the United Kingdom.

The United States has not produced antipersonnel mines since 1996, and has a formal cap on its AP mine inventory, but has refused to announce a moratorium or ban and explicitly retains the right to produce at any time in the future. The U.S. banned production of so-called “dumb” mines, those without self-destruct and self-deactivation mechanisms, in 1996. Russia in 1998 announced that it had banned production of “blast” mines -- the most common type of mine that explodes from pressure. This would include the PMN mine, which, along with the Chinese Type 72, is one of the most frequently encountered mines around the world. As a result of the new restrictions in Amended Protocol II of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), production of non-detectable mines by CCW States Parties is stopping, which would include the Type 72 by China.

Global Trade in Antipersonnel Mines

Landmine Monitor research did not find evidence of antipersonnel mine exports or imports by treaty State Parties or signatories, though some allegations have been made; some concerns have also been raised about possible transit or trans-shipment of AP mines through treaty nations. In two incidents that received a good deal of media and diplomatic attention, attempts were made by Romanian and Pakistani state-owned companies to sell AP mines. (See country reports for details). Romania, a treaty signatory, said that the incident was a “regrettable error” on the part of a low-level company employee and that no AP mines were actually available for purchase. Pakistan, which has a unilateral export ban in place, offered a similar explanation.

There are 34 nations that are known to have exported antipersonnel landmines in the past. Today, all of those nations with the exception of Iraq have at the least made a formal statement that they are no longer exporting. Twenty-two have signed the treaty and thus stopped exporting (though many had unilateral restrictions in place prior to signing). Among non-signatories, one has an export ban in place (USA), four have a moratorium in place (Israel, Pakistan, Singapore and Russia), and six have made declaratory statements that they no longer export (China, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Vietnam, FR Yugoslavia).[6] It is possible, of course, that some of these nations continue to export AP mines despite their public policy pronouncements.

Landmine Monitor researchers did not identify a single significant shipment of antipersonnel mines from one nation to another in 1999 or 2000. This does not mean that no AP mines have been transferred; there are great difficulties in tracking mine trade. But the findings (or lack thereof) are consistent with the observations of military specialists that in fact there have been no major mine shipments of AP mines dating back some five years. A de facto global ban on export already seems to be in place; a norm against AP mine supply seems to already have taken hold.

Global Stockpiles of Antipersonnel Mines

Landmine Monitor estimates that there are more than 250 million antipersonnel mines stored in the arsenals of 105 countries. The largest stockpiles are believed to be held by China (110 million), Russia (60-70 million), Belarus (10-15 million), U.S. (11 million), Ukraine (10 million), Pakistan (6 million) and India (4-5 million).

Treaty non-signatories have an estimated 225-250 million AP mines in stock, while treaty signatories and states parties account for an estimated 25-30 million. Landmine Monitor had previously estimated Pakistan’s stockpile at hundreds of thousands, but discussions with Pakistani officials have resulted in a drastic upward revision to at least 6 million. Other non-signatories believed to have large stockpiles are Iran, Iraq, FR Yugoslavia, Egypt, Israel, Vietnam, and Finland.

In addition to Ukraine (10 million), Mine Ban Treaty signatories with large stockpiles are likely to be Romania, Greece, Angola, Ethiopia, and Sudan. None of these nations will reveal information about their mine stocks.

According to the latest data made available by them, the biggest stocks among States Parties are: Italy (4.8 million), Albania (1.6 million), Sweden (1.2 million), Japan (1 million), and Bulgaria (778,455). However, these numbers are out-of-date, as rapid destruction programs are underway in all these countries, except Albania which requires financial assistance.

In addition to governments, many rebel groups also have stockpiles of antipersonnel mines.


Landmine Monitor research shows that more than 20 million antipersonnel mines have been destroyed in recent years by more than 55 nations.

Twenty-one States Parties have completed destruction of stocks, totaling some 10 million AP mines. Six States Parties have completed destruction in this reporting period (since March 1999): Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, France, Hungary, and United Kingdom.

Others that have completed destruction include: Austria, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Luxembourg, Mali, Namibia, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, and Switzerland. (Note: many of these are keeping a small number of mines for training, as permitted under the treaty).

Another twenty-seven States Parties and signatories are in the process of destruction: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Ecuador, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Macedonia, Moldova, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Peru, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Yemen, and Zimbabwe. This represents an additional nine nations from last year.

States Parties that have not begun the destruction process include: Argentina, Brazil, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mozambique, Niger, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Venezuela. Malaysia has developed a plan for destruction.

In addition, several non-signatories have destroyed significant numbers of AP mines. The United States has destroyed 3.3 million AP mines as part of its commitment to eliminate use of dumb mines everywhere but Korea. China destroyed 1.7 million mines, and Russian 500,000 mines, and Belarus 5,000 mines, that were not compliant with CCW requirements. Finland has also destroyed non-CCW compliant mines, but has not revealed the number.

Mines Retained for Training

During the Oslo negotiations, technical experts from the ICBL questioned the need for the Article 3 exception permitting retention (and transfer) of antipersonnel mines “for the development of and training in mine detection, mine clearance, or mine destruction techniques....” In its closing statement to the Olso conference, the ICBL noted that “a number of governments also indicated for the diplomatic record that in Article 3, the ‘minimum number absolutely necessary’ for training mines should be hundreds or thousands, not tens of thousands or more.”

It appears that the majority of States Parties that have stockpiles of AP mines are opting to exercise the Article 3 exception. Many intend to keep between 1,000-5,000 mines. Several intend to keep significantly more: Croatia 17,500; Thailand 15,600; Japan 15,000; Australia 10,000; Peru 9,526; Italy 8,000; Slovakia 7,000; and Slovenia 7,000. Ecuador stated in its Article 7 report that it was going to keep 170,334 mines, but in an SCE meeting indicated that was a mistake and a true number would be forthcoming.

After the ICBL raised this issue repeatedly in the SCE meetings, a number of countries have decided to decrease the number of mines kept: Bulgaria from 10,446 to 4,000; Spain from 10,000 to 4,000. Croatia, Thailand, and Slovakia have indicated they too are re-evaluating their needs.

The ICBL continues to question the need for live mines for training. The ICBL believes that it is important not only to have complete transparency on this, but also to continue to evaluate the necessity for the exception and the potential need for an absolute numerical limitation.

Special Issues of Concern

Antivehicle Mines with Antihandling Devices (Article 2)

During the Oslo treaty negotiations in 1997, the ICBL identified as “the major weakness in the treaty” the sentence in the Article 2.1 definition of antipersonnel mine that exempts antivehicle mines equipped with antihandling devices: “Mines designed to be detonated by the presence, proximity or contact of a vehicle as opposed to a person, that are equipped with anti-handling devices, are not considered anti-personnel mines as a result of being so equipped.” The ICBL expressed its belief that many antivehicle mines (AVMs) with antihandling devices (AHDs) could function as antipersonnel mines and pose similar dangers to civilians.

To address this concern, which was shared by many government delegations, negotiators changed the draft definition of antihandling device (which had been identical to the one in CCW Protocol II) by adding the words “or otherwise intentionally disturb”: “‘Anti-handling device’ means a device intended to protect a mine and which is part of, linked to, attached to or placed under the mine and which activates when an attempt is made to tamper with or otherwise intentionally disturb the mine.”

It was emphasized by Norway, which proposed the language, and others, that the word “intentionally” was needed to establish that if an AVM with an AHD explodes from an unintentional act of a person, it is to be considered an antipersonnel mine, and banned under the treaty. This language was eventually accepted by all delegations without dissent.[7]

In Landmine Monitor Report 1999,[8]the ICBL expressed concern that there had not been adequate recognition by States Parties that AVMs with AHDs that function like antipersonnel mines are in fact prohibited by the Mine Ban Treaty, nor discussion of the practical implications of this. Thus, at the First Meeting of States Parties in Maputo in May 1999, and at the meetings of the Standing Committee of Experts on the General Status and Operation of the Convention in January and May 2000, the ICBL called on States Parties to be more explicit about what types of antivehicle mines and antihandling devices, and what deployment methods, are permissible and prohibited.

At the January 2000 SCE meeting, there was a lengthy discussion on this topic. Nine States Parties reiterated that AVMs with AHDs that can explode from an unintentional act of a person are banned by the treaty. No delegation disputed that fact. Ireland proposed that the SCE form an informal technical experts group to look at the issue and help determine which mines and antihandling devices might fall within the scope of the treaty. It was agreed that the SCE co-chairs would consult with States Parties on the proposal, but at the May 200 SCE meeting, the co-chairs reported that there was not a consensus on the formation of such an experts group. The ICRC then offered to host technical discussions on the issue, which delegates agreed would be a useful step forward. The ICRC expects to hold a seminar in early 2001, but is encouraging States to prepare technical papers on these issues prior to then. The ICBL supports the ICRC initiative and stresses the importance of thorough advance preparation by States Parties, in which they determine and make explicit which AVMs with AHDs in their arsenals are permitted under the treaty and which are not.

The ICBL has expressed the view that antivehicle mines using tilt rods, tripwires, or breakwires will explode from an unintentional act by an individual, and therefore should be considered banned by the treaty. It also appears that at least some antivehicle mines with certain other sensitive fuzes might explode from the unintentional act of an individual. This is an issue that needs to be addressed explicitly and urgently by States Parties.

The ICRC, Human Rights Watch, and the German Initiative to Ban Landmines have all produced lists and publications regarding antivehicle mines of concern.[9] Landmine Monitor researchers have identified such mines in their individual country studies contained in this report.

The need for clarity on this issue has been underlined by this year’s Landmine Monitor research. Some States Parties are destroying certain types of mines classified as antivehicle mines, because the State Party has determined that they will function as an AP mine. But other States Parties are electing to keep the same types of mines. For example, Canada destroyed 20,000 M-21 AVMs with tilt rods; Hungary destroyed 100,000 UKA-63 AVMs with tilt rods, and Slovakia destroyed all of its PT-Mi-K antivehicle mines with anti-lift firing mechanisms. Yet the Czech Republic has apparently decided to keep its PT-Mi-K mines, as well as other AVMs with tilt rod fuzes. Likewise, Sweden apparently has several types of AVMs with tilt rod fuzes, but has not said if it intends to destroy them. France reports that it has destroyed a dozen different types of AVMs with tilt rod fuzes and various antihandling devices, though it is not known when or why destruction took place.

The ICBL has also expressed concern that the Mine Ban Treaty does not define “antivehicle mine.” At the least, States Parties should agree on a minimum amount of pressure necessary to explode a pressure-activated antivehicle mine.

Joint Operations (Article 1)

In last year’s Landmine Monitor Report, the ICBL raised concerns about the possible participation of States Parties in joint military operations with non-States Parties that use antipersonnel landmines. There is serious concern about the consistency of such operations with the treaty’s Article 1 obligation for a State Party “never under any circumstance...[t]o assist, encourage or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Convention.” Such joint operations at the least would go against the spirit of a treaty aimed at an end to all possession and use of antipersonnel mines.

These concerns were heightened in this reporting period both by the turn of global events and by information uncovered in the research process. Since the last report, the NATO alliance was involved in the military conflict in Kosovo and Yugoslavia. During the conflict the US maintained the right to use AP mines (though it never did), making concerns about the implications of use of AP mines by a non-State Party in a joint military operation more immediate and tangible than before.

Moreover, research shows that some type of joint operation involving AP mines is already occurring. In May 2000, the UK acknowledged participating in fifteen joint military operations involving use of AP mines over the last three years, while stressing that in no instances were UK armed forces responsible for their use.

This is by no means a problem limited to the NATO alliance. It appears that a number of States Parties in Africa are engaged in military operations with (or in support of) armed forces that may be using antipersonnel mines. This would include Namibia (with Angola against UNITA and with DRC government forces against rebels), Zimbabwe (with DRC government forces), Uganda (with opposition forces in DRC), and Rwanda (with opposition forces in DRC). Those states should make clear the nature of their support for other armed forces that may be using antipersonnel mines, and make clear their views with regard to the legality under the Mine Ban Treaty of their military operations with these armed forces. As parties to the treaty, they should state categorically that they will not participate in joint operations with any force that uses antipersonnel mines.

A number of countries, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, have adopted legislative provisions or made formal statements with regard to possible participation of their armed forces in joint military operations with a treaty non-signatory that may use antipersonnel mines. In each of these cases, government officials have stated that the intent is to provide legal protections to their military personnel who participate in joint operations with a non-signatory who may utilize AP mines. The ICBL does not cast doubt on the stated motivations of these nations; it does not believe that these provisions and statements are intended to undermine the core obligations of the treaty.

However, the ICBL continues to believe that the legality of State Party participation in joint operations with an armed force that uses antipersonnel mines is an open question, and that participation in such operations is contrary to the spirit of the treaty. The ICBL has called on States Parties to insist that any non-signatories do not use antipersonnel mines in joint operations, and to refuse to take part in joint operations that involve use of antipersonnel mines.

As reported in this Landmine Monitor Report, several NATO members have made strong statements rejecting use of AP mines in NATO operations. In June 1998, the French Minister of Defense said that France had already declared before the Atlantic Alliance that France will prohibit the planned or actual use of antipersonnel mines in any military operation whatsoever by its military personnel. He said that France will refuse to agree to rules of engagement in any military operation calling for the use of antipersonnel mines, and that this was made effective in a directive sent out by the Joint Chief of Staff in November 1998. Hubert Védrine, Minister of Foreign Affairs, also said that official directives forbid any French military personnel to use AP mines, participate in planning operations implying use of AP mines, or give an agreement to any document mentioning a possible use.

Foreign Minister J.J. van Aartsen of the Netherlands stated on 23 March 1999 that none of the NATO partners will assist the U.S. or Turkey with the use of AP mines, or with preparations for use, and will not tolerate the use of AP mines on their territory. He has also stated that within NATO operations AP mines can no longer play a role. The Dutch military will not participate in any preparatory operational activity with the intention to use AP mines. Dutch soldiers are not allowed to assist with the use of AP mines, nor incite or request the use of these weapons. The command structure has also been made subordinate to this policy: a Dutch commander in joint operations will not order the use of AP mines and Dutch soldiers under U.S. or Turkish command will not execute any order to use AP mines but look for alternative methods to achieve the objective.

“Active Assistance”

In this context, the question has been raised as to what “assist” means in the treaty’s Article 1. A number of governments have interpreted this to mean “active” or “direct” assistance in actual laying of mines, and not other types of assistance in joint operations, such as provision of fuel or security. This narrow interpretation of assistance is of concern to the ICBL; in keeping with the spirit of a treaty aimed at total eradication of the weapon, interpretation of assistance should be as broad as possible.

During the meetings of the SCE on General Status of the Convention, the ICBL has emphasized the need for States Parties to reach a common understanding of the term “assist,” especially as it applies to joint military operations, foreign stockpiling of AP mines, and foreign transit of mines across the territory of a State Party. Full and effective implementation of the treaty will be enhanced if States Parties are clear and consistent with regard to what acts are permitted and what acts are prohibited.

Stockpiling and Transit of Foreign AP Mines (Articles 1, 2, and 4)

The United States has antipersonnel landmines stored in at least five nations that are States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty (Germany, Japan, Norway, Qatar, and United Kingdom at Diego Garcia), as well as treaty signatory Greece. The U.S. has engaged in discussions with these nations in an effort to convince them that it is permissible under the treaty to allow U.S. mines to stay. The ICBL believes that it certainly would violate the spirit and likely the letter of the treaty for States Parties to permit the U.S. (or any other government or entity) to stockpile antipersonnel mines on their territory.

On a related issue, the United States has also discussed with a number of treaty States Parties the permissibility of the U.S. transiting mines through their territory. A debate has emerged over whether the treaty’s prohibition on “transfer” of AP mines also applies to “transit,” with some States Parties maintaining that it does not. This would mean that U.S. (or other) aircraft, ships or vehicles carrying antipersonnel mines could pass through (and presumably depart from, refuel in, restock in) a State Party on their way to a conflict in which those mines would be used. The ICBL believes that if a State Party willfully permits transit of AP mines which are destined for use in combat, that government is certainly violating the spirit of the Mine Ban Treaty, is likely violating the Article 1 ban on assistance to an act prohibited by the treaty, and possibly violating the Article 1 prohibition on transfer.

The ICRC has also expressed its view that transiting of mines is prohibited by the treaty. Landmine Monitor research shows that States Parties are of divided opinion on this. Nations including South Africa, France, Denmark, Spain, and Slovakia have indicated transit is prohibited, while Canada, Norway and Germany indicate it is permitted.

Transparency Reporting (Article 7)

To date, 48 reports have been submitted by States Parties to the United Nations as required by Article 7 of the Mine Ban Treaty.[10] In general the ICBL has found that governments have complied admirably with Article 7. A wealth of information has been put forward, greatly enriching our collective knowledge on the mines situation and showing a commitment to true transparency on the part of States Parties. This information will improve the quality of mine action activities. To be sure, there are concerns about the content of some reports; such concerns are described in the individual country reports of Landmine Monitor Report 2000.[11]

At the January and May 2000 meetings of the Standing Committee of Experts on the General Status and Operation of the Convention, the ICBL outlined a number of overall concerns regarding Article 7 reporting:[12]

Late Reporting. 36 countries are late in submitting their first Article 7 report. These governments have thus far failed to meet a treaty obligation; Article 7 reporting is not optional and due dates are legal deadlines, not targets.

Inconsistent reporting. While some reports are very detailed with a good deal of supplemental information, others have provided a bare minimum. There should be a mimimum standard, or “best practices” approach adopted.

Need for Expanded Article 3 reporting. Article 3 reports on mines retained for training and development should also include the specific anticipated purpose and then the actual use of any retained mines.

Need for reporting on Victim Assistance programs. Victim assistance reporting is conspicuously absent from treaty obligations. The SCEs have recommended remedying this by use of an optional Form for Article 7. The ICBL strongly encourages all States Parties to adopt this optional Form and utilize it in the next round of reporting.

Lack of reporting on prohibited AVMs with AHDs. Since some AVMs with AHDs are prohibited because they function like AP mines, there should be Article 7 reporting on any stockpiling or destruction of such mines.

Lack of reporting on Claymore-type mines. Since use of non-command detonated directional fragmentation mines is not permitted under the treaty, States Parties should report on the number of such mines kept in stock, and the steps that have been taken to ensure that they can be used only in command detonated mode.

Lack of reporting on foreign stocks. The United States has AP mines stockpiled in at least five States Parties (Germany, Japan, Norway, Qatar, and United Kingdom at Diego Garcia). None of those states have reported on the U.S. stocks, which should be done to be consistent with the spirit if not the letter of the treaty.

At the May 2000 SCE meeting, the ICBL recommended that States Parties should develop a reporting guide as a means of increasing the quantity and quality of reports. The recommendation was favorably received and the ICBL will work with interested governments to help develop such a guide.

National Implementation Measures (Article 9)

Article 9 of the Mine Ban Treaty (“National Implementation Measures”) states “Each State Party shall take all appropriate legal, administrative and other measures, including the imposition of penal sanctions, to prevent and suppress any activity prohibited” by the treaty. However, relatively few of the 100 governments that have signed and ratified the treaty have passed domestic laws implementing the treaty.

The following 20 governments report that they have enacted implementation legislation: Austria, Australia, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Macedonia and Sweden report that adequate implementation measures have been taken. A number of other states indicate that the treaty has been incorporated into domestic law, or that existing law is adequate, and new, separate legislation is not needed: Denmark, Ireland, Jordan, Mexico, Namibia, Portugal, Slovakia, and Yemen.

The following states have drafted legislation, but it has not yet become law: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Malaysia, the Netherlands, and Trinidad and Tobago. Albania, Iceland, and South Africa report that preparations are underway.

Some governments have indicated that they do not believe an implementation law is required, because they have never possessed AP mines and are not mine-affected, thus, no special action is necessary to fulfill the terms of the treaty.

The ICBL is concerned, however, about the need for all states to pass legislation that would impose penal sanctions for any potential future violations of the treaty, and would provide for full implementation of all aspects of the convention.

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[3] For more information on the intersessional process and activities of the SCEs, see the reports to Landmine Monitor from the ICBL and the ICBL Working Groups.
[4] Rwanda ratified the treaty on 8 June 2000. Thus while it has given its consent to be bound, the treaty will not formally enter into force for Rwanda until 1 December 2000. The treaty entered into force for Zimbabwe on 1 March 1999 and for Uganda on 1 August 1999.
[5] It also appears there has been mine use since March 1999 by rebels in Djibouti and Ethiopia/Kenya (OLF), but in both cases may involve only antitank mines, not AP mines. There have also been allegations of use by rebels in Algeria (GIA). The governments of India and Armenia have also been accused of mine use in this period, but Landmine Monitor found no supporting evidence.
[6] Russia’s moratorium and China’s declaratory policy only apply to export of non-detectable and non-self-destruct mines, in keeping with CCW restrictions. However, neither nation is known to have made a significant export since 1995.
[7] For a detailed description of the diplomatic history on this issue, see Human Rights Watch Fact Sheet, “Antivehicle Mines with Antihandling Devices,” January 2000.
[8] See Executive Summary, p. 9.
[9] See ICRC, “Information Paper: Anti-Vehicle Mines Equipped with Anti-Handling Devices,” April 1999; Human Rights Watch Fact Sheet, “Antivehicle Mines with Antihandling Devices,” January 2000; and GIBL website at:
[10] Initial Article 7 reports are due 180 days after entry into force of the treaty for that State Party. Thereafter, annual reports are due by 30 April of each year. Sixteen States Parties have submitted their second annual report.
[11] See also in the appendices the submission by VERTIC on the United Nations and Mine Ban Treaty implementation.
[12] See Human Rights Watch Fact Sheet, “Mine Ban Treaty Transparency Reporting,” January 2000.