Ms Nataša Uršič
T: +386 1 479 65 71
Kosovo remains contaminated by mines, cluster munitions (CM) and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) as a result of the conflict between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Kosovo Liberation Army in the late 1990s, and the military intervention of NATO in 1999. An estimated 45 million sq. meters of land was mine and cluster affected, yet still today new areas are being found as mine and/or cluster suspect.
In the period immediately following the conflict, considerable effort was spent clearing contaminated areas in Kosovo. In December 2001, the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) optimistically declared that “all known minefields and cluster munitions strike sites in Kosovo have been cleared to internationally acceptable standards.” At the time it was envisaged the Kosovo Protection Corps would assume responsibility for clearing any residual contamination.
Since then UNMIK has handed over responsibility for the regulation and management of national mine action to the Kosovo Mine Action Centre (KMAC). The clearance of mines, CM and other ERW is currently being conducted by the Kosovo Security Forces (KSF) and The HALO Trust.
Between 2006 and 2007, HALO Trust conducted a community liaison survey which highlighted the scale of the problem. In 2013, KMAC and HALO Trust conducted a comprehensive non-technical survey (NTS) which identified 79 mined areas and 51 cluster munitions sites covering 1,039 hectares of contaminated land (not included in the figures above 5 areas that are suspended from KSF and HALO due to reason of closed demining season). Minefields remain in rural areas in which impoverished communities rely on agriculture and woodcutting as their primary sources of income. Cluster munitions remain in many areas both on the surface and buried.
Through July 2015, NPA conducted both desk study and field-based non-technical survey (NTS) to assess and confirm contamination with cluster munition remnants in the following municipalities: Leposavić, Mitrovica North, Zubin Potok and Zvečan.
In total, the survey team estimated the features of 30 cluster munition strike zones affected by a total of 83 cluster munitions. In total, 8.90km2 is believed to be contaminated with cluster munition remnants in the three municipalities of northern Kosovo where cluster strikes are identified. According to priority setting criteria, 3.68km2 of contaminated areas are classified as extremely high, very high, or high hazard; 2.19km2 are classified as moderate hazard; and 3.03km2 are classified as low hazard.
What we do
ITF main clearance activities in Kosovo were performed throughout 2000 – 2001, yet on a smaller scale they still continue. By the end of 2011, through ITF projects, nearly 6,5 sq. kilometers of land was cleared on 69 locations with nearly 2,500 mines and 1,600 UXO (unexploded ordnance) found and destroyed.
ITF was actively involved in structure support for all those years of activities in Kosovo. Kosovo representatives were involved in numerous ITF Regional training activities. ITF also equipped Kosovo Protection Forces with detectors and locators together with adequate training for their users.
In Kosovo there was a need to improve the availability and sustainability of the KSF equipment. The vegetation cutting equipment as part of the demining process was inadequate. It was recommended that these simple and relatively inexpensive tools be replaced. Also, some equipment and locators needed to be serviced. ITF received from KSF the list of necessary equipments and equipments which needs to be serviced. ITF implemented its standard procurement procedure to purchase/service the listed equipment. The handover of equipment to KSF were done on 26 March 2015 at Prizren (Kosovo*). The handover of goods for Servicing and Calibration of Equipment to KSF was done on 02 June 2015.
On 04 February 2015, ITF signed an agreement with Mine Detection Dog Center in Bosnia and Herzegovina (MDDC) for the project “Deployment of two mine detection dog to support demining operations of one Kosovo* Security Forces (KSF) demining team”. Two mine detection dog teams from MDDC in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) were deployed to Kosovo* during the period between 01 April to 15 June 2015. During the last week of deployment, MDD teams conducted final quality control of 3000 sq. meters, which is included in total productivity for that week (from 08 June to 15 June 2015). On 15 June 2015, MDD teams officially completed their deployment at the demining task Secishte in Kosovo*. Completion of this specific task improved the safety of children and adults living in the area.