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Moldova

Last Updated: 11 August 2011

Mine Action

Contamination and Impact

Mines

Moldova believes that territory under its control is not mine-affected.[1] Moldova reported previously that it had completed the destruction of all antipersonnel mines in mined areas under its control by August 2000.[2] Antipersonnel and antivehicle mines are occasionally found during clearance of explosive remnants of war (ERW) across the entire country, as described below.

The extent to which the breakaway region of Transnistria is mine-affected remains unclear. In its Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report for calendar year 2005, Moldova claimed that there were no mined areas containing antipersonnel mines on territory under its control, while acknowledging that it had no information on the situation in the breakaway region of Transnistria, which Moldova considers part of its territory.[3] Subsequent Article 7 reports have been marked “unchanged.”[4]

Cluster munition remnants

There is no evidence of cluster munition remnants on territory under the control of the government of Moldova. It is unclear whether the breakaway region of Transnistria is affected by cluster munition remnants, although there have been no reports of such contamination.  Moldova became a State Party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 1 August 2010.

Other explosive remnants of war

Moldova is affected by other ERW left from World War II, as well as “some dumping from the former Soviet military bases.”[5] According to local press reports, ERW are said to be found two or three times a month in Transnistria. The most affected localities are said to be Bender, Parcani, and Slobozea.[6]

Mine Action Program

Key institutions and operators

Body

Situation on 1 January 2011

National Mine Action Authority

None

Mine Action Center

None

International demining operators

None

National demining operators

Armed forces

Demining in Moldova is the responsibility of the Ministry of Defense.

Land Release

Since completing major clearance operations in 2000, Moldova has primarily cleared ERW. While the number of detected and destroyed ERW is significant, only a few mines have been found in territory under the control of the government of Moldova, as illustrated in the table below.[7]

Year of clearance

No. of ERW found

No. of antipersonnel mines found

No. of antivehicle mines found

2009

1,027

2

4

2008

1,621

0

2

2007

540

0

5

2006

1,140

0

1

2005

916

1

1

All the mines referred to in the table above are from the Soviet era and presumably originate from the 1992 Transnistria conflict. Local media in Transnistria occasionally report instances of significant quantities of ordnance, including mines, being found there. For example, in August 2008 it was reported that 510 antipersonnel mines dating back to World War II had been found near Bender,[8] and in September 2009 it was reported that 304 Soviet-era antivehicle mines had been found near Ribnitsa.[9] In the former conflict area along the Nistru river where there was fighting in 1990–1992, arms and ammunition are reportedly found on a regular basis and these are disposed of by sappers attached to the joint Russian/Moldovan/Transnistria peacekeeping force in the area.[10]

Mine clearance in 2010

No mine clearance took place in 2010, as with earlier years. There is no detailed information regarding any mine clearance in Transnistria.

Compliance with Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty

Under Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty, Moldova was required to destroy all antipersonnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control as soon as possible, but not later than 1 March 2011. During the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in June 2008, Moldova stated that in “carrying out in good faith the obligations which it assumed by the Ottawa Convention, the Republic of Moldova completed, inter alia, the destruction of all anti-personnel mines far ahead of the established deadlines under Articles 4 and 5.”[11]

According to Moldova, it is already in compliance with Article 5 since it already destroyed all antipersonnel mines in mined areas in the territory under its control. With regard to the Transnistria region, which Moldova considers part of its territory but which it does not currently control, an obligation will arise as soon as de facto control by the central government is restored.[12]

Further, in contrast to the position it has expressed previously, in 2008 an official from the Moldovan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration declared that Moldova would need to request an extension to its Article 5 deadline.[13] In March 2009, however, an official from the same ministry contradicted this statement, stating that until the Moldovan government had restored its control over the territory of Transnistria all discussions on this issue “would be irrelevant.”[14] The official repeated the statement in March 2010.[15] Moldova did not request an extension to its Article 5 deadline.

The Article 5 obligation clearly applies to all areas under a State Party’s jurisdiction as well as to areas under its control. Accordingly, the ICBL believes that should there remain, as of 1 March 2011, any mined areas under Moldova’s jurisdiction but not its control, including in Transnistria, Moldova will need to have been granted an extension to its deadline.[16]

 



[1] Interview with Dorin Panfil, Head, NATO and Political-Military Cooperation Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, 18 March 2010; and letter from Col. Iurie Dominic, Chief ad-interim, General Staff of National Army, 17 March 2010.

[2] See, for example, Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form G.2., 8 April 2002; and Article 7 Report, para. 3, 6 May 2005.

[3] Article 7 Report, 30 April 2006.

[4] See, for example, Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2008), Form C.

[5] See, for example, Convention on Conventional Weapons Protocol V Article 10 Reports, Form A, March 2010 and June 2009.

[6] See, for example, “Munitions discovered in Mereneshty,” Olvia Press, undated, olvia.idknet.com.

[7] Letter from Col. Iurie Dominic, General Staff of National Army, 17 March 2010; and letter from Alexandru Oprea, Deputy Head, Emergency Situations and Civil Protection Service, 17 March 2010.

[8] “Personnel of the emergency response team of the Ministry of Internal Affairs discovered 510 antipersonnel landmines,” Olvia Press, 4 August 2008, olvia.idknet.com.

[9] “Antitank landmines have been found in Ribnitsa,” Olvia Press, 11 September 2009, olvia.idknet.com.

[10] Email from Kenneth Pickles, Political Military Mission Member, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Mission to Moldova, 11 February 2010.

[11] Statement of Moldova, “Universalization and the question of ‘Non-State Actors,’” Standing Committee on the General Status and Operation of the Convention, Geneva, 2 June 2008.

[12] Interview with Dorin Panfil, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Chisinau, 18 March 2010; and email from Victor Moraru, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Moldova to the UN in Geneva, 17 June 2008.

[13] Statement by Iurie Tabunicic, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Towards Global Coherence in Addressing the Problems caused by Landmines, Cluster Munitions, and Explosive Remnants of War, Druskininkai, Lithuania, 26–27 June 2008. Notes by the Monitor.

[14] Interview with Dorin Panfil, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Chisinau, 31 March 2009.

[15] Ibid., 18 March 2010.

[16] See, for example, Statement of ICBL, Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Risk Education and Mine Action Technologies, Mine Ban Treaty, Geneva, 28 May 2009.