Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 24 October 2017


The Hellenic Republic (Greece) signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997 and ratified on 25 September 2003, becoming a State Party on 1 March 2004.

Ratification makes the Mine Ban Treaty part of Greek domestic law.[1] Greece has specified the parts of its existing criminal codes that provide penal sanctions for any violations of the treaty.[2]

Greece has been in violation of the Mine Ban Treaty since March 2008 when it missed its stockpile destruction deadline (see section on Stockpiling and Destruction below).

Greece submitted its latest Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report in early 2017, covering calendar year 2016.[3]

Greece attended the Mine Ban Treaty Third Review Conference in Maputo in June 2014 and provided an update on its stockpile destruction. Greece also attended the June 2015 intersessional meetings in Geneva and provided an update on its stockpile destruction progress in the wake of the explosion at a munitions disposal plant operated by VIDEX in Bulgaria.[4] Greece attended the Fifteenth Meeting of States Parties in Santiago in November–December 2016 and intersessional meetings in June 2017.

Greece is not party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Greece is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its Amended Protocol II on landmines and submitted its annual report for calendar year 2016 in early 2017. Greece is not party to CCW Protocol V on explosive remnants of war.

Production and trade

Greece is a former producer of antipersonnel mines; it also formerly imported them from Germany and the United States.[5] Prior to becoming a State Party, Greece had a moratorium on the production and export of antipersonnel mines for a number of years.[6]

Stockpiling and destruction

Greece failed to meet its 1 March 2008 Article 4 deadline for destruction of its stockpiled antipersonnel mines and remains in violation of the treaty. In its 2014 and 2015 transparency reports, Greece recorded the destruction of 877,816 antipersonnel mines (24,626 M2; 789,547 DM31; 63,442 M16; and 200 M14 mines).

On 1 October 2014, an explosion at the Midzhur munitions destruction plant owned by VIDEX in Gorni Lom, Bulgaria killed 15 workers and halted Greece’s stockpile destruction program.[7] The Bulgarian President, Rosen Plevneliev, attributed the Midzhur plant blast to “arrogant non-observance” of rules of procedure.[8] In a statement released on 31 December 2014, Greece stated that “it was reviewing all possible options in an effort to adhere to its initial intention to complete the destruction of all stockpiled anti-personnel mines by the end of 2015.”[9]

In June 2015, Greece stated that its stockpile contained 643,309 mines: 452,695 of these mines are being stored in military warehouses located within Greece, and 190,614 are being stored in VIDEX warehouses in Bulgaria.[10] Greece provided an update in June 2017, announcing that its current stockpile contained 643,267 antipersonnel mines.[11] Greece also stated at the 2017 meeting that “the remaining stockpile will be destroyed over a period of 20 months after the signature of a revised contract with the MOD, notwithstanding of course any future unforeseen circumstances beyond our control.”[12]

The ICBL has repeatedly expressed concern at Greece’s failure to start the destruction process early enough to meet its destruction deadline. It has urged Greece to set a firm deadline for completion, to devote the necessary resources for destruction, and to report progress to States Parties on a monthly basis.[13]

Mines retained for research and training

In 2017, Greece declared a total of 5,650 mines retained “for training soldiers in mine detection and clearance and canine detection.” This consists of M14 (3,008), DM31 (1,286), M2 (1,043), and M16 (313) mines.[14] It initially retained a stockpile of 7,224 antipersonnel mines.

[1] Interview with Lt.-Col. Vassilis Makris, Defence Policy Directorate, International Law Section, Hellenic Defence General Staff, Ministry of Defence, Athens, 13 May 2005.

[2] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form A, April 2006. The information has been repeated in all subsequent Article 7 reports. See also, Landmine Monitor Report 2006, p. 446.

[3] Greece previously submitted Article 7 reports in early 2016, April 2015, April 2014, April 2013, April 2012, April 2011, April 2010, 30 April 2009, 30 April 2008, 30 April 2007, April 2006 (for the period April 2002 to March 2006), 6 May 2005, and 7 July 2004.

[4] Statement of Greece, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, June 2015.

[5] Greece has reported, “Upon ratification of the Ottawa Convention, there were not any anti-personnel mine production facilities whatsoever in Greece.” Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form E, April 2012.

[6] On 19 February 2010, a Greek news agency reported that US forces seized a ship heading for East Africa carrying a cargo of weapons, including a “large quantity of mines” with serial numbers indicating they were US-manufactured mines purchased by the Greek Army, allegedly sent to Bulgaria for destruction. Both Bulgaria and Greece conducted investigations into the incident and concluded that the allegation was unfounded.

[7] Bulgaria stated that 6,986 mines were being destroyed at the Midzhur plant in Gorni Lom at the time of the explosion. A total of 130 of the mines had been recovered, but were not going to be transferred due to their damaged condition. The remaining 6,856 mines were either destroyed during the initial plant explosion or are still scattered throughout the processing facility, and these mines will be destroyed upon discovery according to Bulgaria’s statement. Statement of Bulgaria, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, June 2015.

[8] Stoyan Nenov and Tsvetelia Tsolova, “Blasts kill 15 people at Bulgaria explosives plant,” Reuters, 2 October 2015.

[9] Preliminary Observations of the President of the Fourteenth Meeting of States Parties, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 23 June 2015.

[10] Statement of Greece, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, June 2015. In previous years, Greece reported a pre-destruction stockpile of 1,568,167 antipersonnel mines, composed of four types: DM31 (792,780), M16 (568,327), M2 (204,565), and M14 (2,495). Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form B, April 2013. Greece had previously reported a pre-destruction stockpile totaling 1,566,532 antipersonnel mines composed of these types as well as 504 Area Denial Artillery Munition (ADAM) 155mm artillery projectiles, each containing 36 antipersonnel mines. Counting the ADAM mines, the revised pre-destruction stockpile total was 1,586,311. In April 2014, Greece provided a detailed chronology of the shipments of mines to Bulgarian destruction facilities. Greece began shipping the mines to Bulgaria on 24 February 2014, with the transport license issued on 27 January 2014. Statement of Greece, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, April 2014.

[11] Statement of Greece, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, June 2017.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Statement of ICBL, Mine Ban Treaty Eleventh Meeting of States Parties, Phnom Penh, 1 December 2011; statement of ICBL, Mine Ban Treaty Tenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 29 November 2010; and statement of ICBL, Mine Ban Treaty Second Review Conference, Cartagena, 2 December 2009.