Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 13 November 2019


The Republic of Bulgaria signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997 and ratified it on 4 September 1998, becoming a State Party on 1 March 1999. On 24 November 2015, Bulgaria adopted implementation legislation, which entered into force on 8 December 2015.[1] The legislation defines key terms and “regulates the conditions and procedures for transfer, transportation and destruction of APLMs and the control over these activities.” In June 2016, Bulgaria also amended its Penal Code to establish sanctions for violating the provisions of the implementation law.[2]

Bulgaria consistently submits annual Article 7 transparency reports. Bulgaria also regularly attends meetings of the treaty, including the Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in November 2018 and the Third Review Conference in Maputo in June 2014. However, Bulgaria did not attend the intersessional meetings in May 2019.

Bulgaria served as co-rapporteur and then co-chair of the Standing Committee on Stockpile Destruction from 2008–2010. Additionally, Bulgaria served on the Committee on General Status and Operation of the Convention in 2012–2013.

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

Production, transfer, use, and stockpiling

Bulgaria ceased antipersonnel mine export in 1996 and production in 1998. Previously, Bulgarian mines were reported to have been used in Cambodia and other countries. In April 2002, Bulgaria reported that production facilities were permanently decommissioned.[3]

Bulgaria finished destruction of its stockpile of 885,872 antipersonnel mines in December 2000, well ahead of its treaty-mandated destruction deadline of 1 March 2003. Bulgaria initially retained 10,446 mines for training purposes, but this was reduced to 3,672 by 31 March 2010. In 2019, Bulgaria reported 3,318 mines as retained for training and research.[4] In its 2010 Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report, Bulgaria also reported possessing 171,050 antipersonnel mines transferred to Bulgaria by Greece for the purpose of destruction.[5] 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.[6] The Bulgarian President, Rosen Plevneliev, attributed the Midzhur plant blast to “arrogant non-observance” of rules of procedure.[7] In November 2018, Bulgaria announced that the remaining antipersonnel mines were transferred back to Greece.[8]

Bulgaria initially reported 72 minefields on its territory, which had been laid during the Cold War. Clearance of all antipersonnel mines in mined areas was completed by 31 October 1999, well in advance of its 1 March 2009 clearance deadline.

[1] Law on the Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (Mine Ban Treaty). Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form A, 2019.

[2] Articles 337–339 of the Penal Code.

[3] Karen Bartosik, “Landmine Monitor,” Spot On (English-language Bulgarian periodical), Issue 22, October 2002, p. 20.

[5] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for the period 31 March 2009 to 31 March 2010), Form D.

[6] 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.

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

[8] Statement of Bulgaria, Mine Ban Treaty Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 29 November 2019.