Issue 4.1 | February 2000 | Information in this issue may be outdated. Click here to link to the most recent issue.
Montenegro are the only two remaining Yugoslavian republics. The federation
began to dissolve in June 1991 when Croatia and Slovenia declared independence.
The Republic of Serbia has two autonomous provinces, Kosovo and Vojvodina,
which are administratively a part of Serbia. Most of the population in Kosovo
and UXO Overview: Information on the problem in Kosovo remains
inconclusive. Yugoslav forces, paramilitary troops and KLA fighters have laid
mines and booby traps.UXO litters the area. The border areas are the most
affected. There are more than 10,000 known defensive mines on the borders,
but only the Yugoslaav army has information about the miles of land affected.
A Senior Survey Officer for HALO Trust estimated that there are at least 500,000
mines in the ground and there may be 3,000 UXO. Ordnance can also be found
in the surrounding waters. Under the terms of the Military Technical Agreement,
NATO land forces are responsible for clearing roads and military locations.
Serbian forces are responsible for supplying NATO with detailed records of
all mines and UXO with the hope that Serbian forces will clear the Kosovo/Macedonia
border areas. Serbian officers have been arriving in Pristina to implement
these roles. The KLA does not have records of mine field planting. Many international
mine clearance agencies believe that mine fields will be easier to locate
than they were in Bosnia. The war in Kosovo was shorter than the four-year
war in Bosnia, the geographic area is smaller and there may be more information
available regarding mine field location. In Kosovo, the most affected areas
are roads, houses and schools, and forests. An estimated 50 percent of Kosovo's
livestock is dead or missing from the crisis.
and Casualties: AP and AT mines are the most immediate obstacles
for refugees returning home. In the first week ethnic Albanians began returning
to Kosovo there were over 30 mines and UXO accidents. Some reports have stated
that at least 27 people have been killed in 61 reported mine incidents just
for the month of June 1999, according to NATO figures. This would put mine
casualties as high as 11 per 100,000 people. About 20 percent of casualties
have been KLA deminers. The World Health Organization in Pristina reported
that between June 13, 1998 and July 12, 1999 there were as many as 170 deaths
in Kosovo caused by mines and UXO. Despite the economic and social problems
in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, they have a developed surgical and
rehabilitation services for landmine victims. The Institute of Prosthetics
in Belgrade is the only institution in FRY that can provide full treatment
for land- mine victims to include orthotics, rehabilitation, reintegration
and prosthetic production. Landmine survivors during their rehabilitation
process are provided skills training compatible with their disability.
Approximately 12 mine action organizations are now operating in Kosovo.
These include CARE, NPA, and MINETECH. Thirteen dog teams with 26 dogs have
been deployed. The U. N High Commissioner for Refugees has intensified demining
work with priority areas including Prisitna, Uroseavac, Prizren, Suva Reka,
Djakovica, Pec, Podujevo,Gnjilane and Glogovac. The VJ has reported 425 Protective
minefields to NATO. Where VJ forces established headquarters often in houses
and villages, nuisance mines and booby traps were placed for denying movement
to KLA forces and terrorizing local populations. Many of these mines are trip-wired
fragmentation mines. As part of the peace settlement the KLA were required
to clear these mines and have reported completion of this activity. UXO dropped
by NATO aircraft on VJ positions with Cluster Bomb Units are the major source
of contamination. NATO dropped over 1,000 cluster bombs over Serbia, including
Kosovo. Recent reports have indicated that the demining process is not continuing
at the required rate and many claim this is because of the lack of technical
means. The UNMAC estimates that it takes from 5 to 21 days to clear a cluster
bomb strike after it has been located. Kosovo civilians are also being trained
in demining by international aid organizations and have cleared 400 mines.
Reality Check: The ICRC concluded from its Psycho-Social Needs
Assessment that ethnic reconciliation is a goal, but currently unfeasible.
"Kosovo is seeped in pain, hatred and desire for revenge against the
Serbs. Kosavars do not speak of reconciliation. Hatred is the accepted norm
transferred from adults to youth."
Mr. John Flanagan
Phone: 1 212
963 8422, x5353