Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 12 November 2019


The Republic of Albania signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 8 September 1998 and ratified it on 29 February 2000, becoming a State Party on 1 August 2000. It enacted national implementation legislation in 2006, which includes penal sanctions.[1]

Albania has been an infrequent attendee at meetings of the treaty. Albania attended meetings fairly regularly through the Twelfth Meeting of States Parties in 2012 but did not attend another meeting until the Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties in 2018. At the Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties in November 2018, Albania provided a statement on victim assistance and condemned the use, stockpiling, production, and transfer of antipersonnel mines.[2] Albania also did not attend the Third Review Conference in Maputo in June 2014. Albania has submitted Article 7 transparency reports almost every year since becoming a State Party, including in 2019.

At previous meetings of the treaty, Albania served on the Committee on Resources, Cooperation and Assistance in 2012, as well as vice president of the Eleventh Meeting of States Parties in 2012 and president of the Tenth Meeting of States Parties in 2010.

Albania is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons and its Amended Protocol II on landmines and Protocol V on explosive remnants of war; however, it has never submitted an Article 13 report for Amended Protocol II. Albania is also party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Production, transfer, stockpiling, and retention

Albania was a producer of antipersonnel landmines from 1967–1990. Before 1967, some handmade mines were produced by various military units in small quantities. In 1967, China transferred the technology for mass production of antipersonnel mines to Albania, and two production facilities were built that year. These facilities produced the POMZ-2 and the POMZ-6 fragmentation stake antipersonnel mines. Antivehicle mines have also been produced in Albania. The mine production was financed and supervised by the Ministry of Defense. The existence of mine producing factories and their accessories has been confirmed by various high-ranking military authorities.[3]

Production of antipersonnel mines in Albania was suspended in 1990 and officially ceased in 1991.[4] Since then, there has been no production of antipersonnel or antitank mines.

Mines were used in Albania during the First World War. During the Second World War in the Albanian theater, mines were used by the Italian Army (1939–1943) and German Army (1943–1944). British and American mines were also deployed. The Albanian government used mines in 1949 in a conflict with Greece.[5] Throughout 1945–1990, the government planted mines at special sections of the border with Yugoslavia and Greece. The last use of antipersonnel mines in Albania occurred in 1998 and 1999 in the northeast of the country during the Kosovo crisis.

Albania may have been a minor exporter of antipersonnel mines in the past. Before 1975, Albania received large quantities of mines from the Soviet Union and China. According to the United Nations, Russian antipersonnel and Chinese antivehicle mines found in Kosovo after the 1999 conflict may have been transferred from Albania.[6]

Albania completed the destruction of its stockpile of 1,683,860 antipersonnel mines on 4 April 2002, more than two years before its treaty deadline.[7] In its initial Article 7 report, Albania stated that “there are no justifiable reasons for the retention of APM [antipersonnel mines] for training or any other purpose” and has therefore not retained mines since becoming a State Party.[8]

[1] Law No.9515 “The Implementation of the Convention on the Ban of Use, Storage, Production and Transfer of the Anti-Personnel Mines and their Destruction,” 2006. See, Landmine Monitor Report 2006, p. 126 for more details on the law and on previous laws giving legal force to the treaty in Albania.

[2] Statement of Albania, Mine Ban Treaty Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 27 November 2018.

[3] Interviews with, among others, two former Defense Ministers—Alfred Moisiu and Major General Mendu Backa; a number of former directors of the Engineering Directory of the Ministry of Defense including Col. Ramiz Fiyori, Col. Zhavit Cela, Col. Mevlud Zazo, Maj. Gen. Juan Hoxha; and two Explosive Ordinance Disposal specialists from the Albanian army, Maj. Ismet Miftari and Cpt. Arben Braho. The previous researcher of this country report, a former high-ranking engineering officer who used to deal with mine issues for many years, confirms past production in Albania.

[4] Two production plants were converted to facilities for ammunition demilitarization by 2002.

[5] Interview with Maj. Gen. Mendu Backa (retired), Former Minister of Defense (1975–1982), Director of Engineering Directory in the Ministry of Defense (1960–1975).

[6] UNMACC, Threat Factsheet No. 1, 27 October 1999.

[7] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form F, 30 April 2003.

[8] Ibid.