Bosnia and Herzegovina

Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 12 November 2019


Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997 and ratified it on 8 September 1998, becoming a State Party on 1 March 1999. On 29 December 2004, parliament approved a law amending the criminal code to apply penal sanctions for violations of the treaty.[1]

BiH attended the Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in Geneva in November 2018, where it submitted an Article 5 mine clearance deadline extension request.[2] BiH also attended the intersessional meetings in Geneva in May 2018, making statements on victim assistance, as well as providing an update on mine clearance.[3]

BiH is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons and its Amended Protocol II on landmines. BiH is also party to Protocol V on explosive remnants of war.

Production, transfer, illegal stores, and use

BiH has stated that production of antipersonnel mines ceased by 1995.[4] It has reported on the conversion of production facilities.[5] BiH is not known to have exported antipersonnel mines.

In past years, authorities on numerous occasions found illegal stores of mines, but none have been explicitly reported since 2006.[6] In addition, nearly 40,000 mines were collected from the population under Operation Harvest until 2006.[7]

After BiH joined the treaty, the Monitor noted several cases of mine use in criminal activities, but no such incidents have been reported since 2003.[8]

Stockpile destruction and retention

BiH declared completion of its antipersonnel mine stockpile destruction program in November 1999, with a total of 460,727 mines destroyed.[9] This number has been amended annually since 2003, increasing each year to a total of 530,365 mines in BiH’s Article 7 report covering calendar year 2018.[10] No explanation has been given by BiH for these changes. Presumably, they result from newly discovered stocks, mines turned in by the population, or illegal mines seized from criminal elements.[11]

In September 2006, BiH reported that it had discovered more than 15,000 MRUD (Claymore-type) directional fragmentation mines during inspections of weapon storage sites.[12] It said that although the mines were not specifically prohibited by the Mine Ban Treaty, BiH had made a decision to destroy the mines for humanitarian reasons as well as to show its commitment to the aims of the treaty.[13] BiH reported that, as of April 2007, about 5,000 mines had been destroyed, with the intention to complete destruction in May 2007, but it has not provided information on completion.[14]

Mines retained for research and training

At the end of 2018, BiH retained 834 antipersonnel mines for training purposes.[15] BiH’s Article 7 reports submitted in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 have indicated that all of the retained antipersonnel mines are fuzeless.[16]

BiH has stated that its retained mines are used for training mine detection dogs.[17] While providing more information about its retained mines, BiH has still provided few details on the intended purposes and actual uses of these mines, and has failed to use expanded Form D on retained mines with its annual transparency reports, as agreed by States Parties in 2004.

[1] “Law on Amendments to the Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Official Gazette, No. 61/04. Article 193a forbids the development, production, storage, transportation, offer for sale or purchase of antipersonnel mines. The penalty for such offenses is between one and 10 years’ imprisonment.

[2] Statement of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mine Ban Treaty Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 26 November 2018.

[3] Statement of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mine Ban Treaty intersessional meetings, Geneva, 22 May 2019.

[4] Interview with members of the Demining Commission, Sarajevo, 30 January 2003. BiH inherited the mine production facilities of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in Bugojno, Goražde, Konjic, and Vogošc.

[5] See, Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 193; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form E, April 2007.

[6] The Dayton peace accord allows international military forces to search for and collect illegally held weapons, including mines. For more details, see, Landmine Monitor Report 2007, p. 183.

[7] Operation Harvest began as a Stabilisation Force (SFOR) initiative in 1998 to collect unregistered weapons from private holdings under amnesty conditions. From 1998 to late 2006, about 38,500 landmines were collected. The European Force (EUFOR), which took over from SFOR in December 2004, has not conducted any Operation Harvest arms collection activities since 2006, but retains the right to do so. For more details, see, Landmine Monitor Report 2007, p. 183.

[8] See, Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 194.

[9] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form G, 1 February 2000. Destruction was carried out at various locations by the two entity armies with SFOR assistance. The stockpile consisted of 19 types of mines.

[10] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form G, 2019.

[11] In 2003, SFOR found very large additional quantities of antipersonnel mines among old munitions, after the entity armies requested assistance with downsizing military storage sites and dealing with old munitions in storage. An SFOR publication reported that several hundred thousand antipersonnel mines were awaiting destruction at these sites. By March 2004, 2,574 antipersonnel mines, 31,920 antivehicle mines, and 302,832 detonators had been destroyed. The Monitor has been unable to obtain updated information on further destruction or new discoveries at storage sites of antipersonnel mines. The BiH government has not formally reported the existence of these newly discovered stocks of antipersonnel mines, has not provided details on numbers and types of mines, and has not made known the timetable for destruction of the mines. See, Landmine Monitor Report 2006, p. 202.

[12] See, Landmine Monitor Report 2007, p. 184.

[13] BiH stated that the mines are “designed to be used with an electrical initiation system,” and therefore are not considered antipersonnel mines under the Mine Ban Treaty. However, it also noted that “since they are not adapted to ensure command-detonation, MRUD mines can be technically considered as anti-personnel mines.” Statement by Amira Arifovic-Harms, Counselor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Seventh Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 20 September 2006. Use of Claymore-type mines in command-detonated mode is permitted under the Mine Ban Treaty, but use in victim-activated mode (with a tripwire) is prohibited.

[14] In April 2007, BiH indicated that of the 15,269 MRUD mines, 14,701 mines would be destroyed by mid-May 2007, 396 were transferred to EUFOR for training, 20 were donated to Germany, and two were destroyed immediately. BiH intended to retain about 150 mines for training. The 14,701 mines were transported to a workshop in Doboj, and by mid-April 2007, about 5,000 had been destroyed. Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form J, April 2007.

[15] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form D, 2019.

[16] See Form B of Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 reports submitted in 2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008. In its Article 7 report submitted in April 2007, BiH did not state that any of the retained mines were fuzeless, while its report submitted on 30 May 2006 stated that 876 retained mines were fuzeless and 1,299 were active. BiH has not explained these changes.

[17] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Annex “Review on Number of Retained Mines in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” 30 May 2006.