Key developments since May 2002: In 2002, the Hungarian Army found 359,802 explosive items, including 15 live landmines from World War II. In 2002, Hungary manufactured a small quantity of a new Claymore-type munition (designated IHR), as one part of a proposed system to replace antipersonnel mines. Hungary has destroyed the last of its antivehicle mines equipped with tilt rods.
The Republic of Hungary signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997, ratified on 6 April 1998, and became a State Party on 1 March 1999. National legislation implementing the Mine Ban Treaty and criminalizing violations entered into force on 7 March 1998.1
Hungary attended the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in September 2002 and the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in February and May 2003. Hungary submitted an Article 7 transparency report on 10 April 2003; it was essentially a “nil” report.2 This is the country’s fifth Article 7 Report.3 On 22 November 2002, Hungary voted in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution 57/74, which calls for universalization and implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty.
Hungary is a member of the Convention on Conventional Weapons and its Amended Protocol II. In December 2002 it attended the Fourth Annual Conference of States Parties to the Protocol, where it announced willingness to set up and make available to the UN “an 8-10 strong bomb-disposal expert team,” and to join in the creation of an international database on explosive remnants of war.4 Hungary submitted an annual report, required by Article 13 of the Protocol, on 6 May 2002.
An expanded version of the Hungary update for Landmine Monitor Report 2002 was published in the Hungarian language in an Army journal.5
Hungary stated in 1995 that it no longer produced or exported antipersonnel mines. Destruction of its stockpile of 356,884 antipersonnel mines was completed by June 1999.6 Hungary clarified for Landmine Monitor that M-49 and M-62 antipersonnel mines were withdrawn from service and destroyed in the 1960s. Hungary produced 1.2 million M-49 mines and 800,000 M-62s, some of which were exported.7
The remaining 100,000 UKA-63 antivehicle mines were destroyed in March 2002 as planned.8 The UKA-63 has a tilt rod fuze allowing it to function like an antipersonnel mine. The ICBL believes such mines are prohibited under the Mine Ban Treaty.
Hungary has retained 1,500 GYATA-64 mines for training and development purposes.9 In April 2001, Hungary reported that the mines would be destroyed by the end of the year, but the subsequent Article 7 Report stated that the mines would be retained.10 In mid-2002, the mines were dismantled for transportation to the Military Technology Institute of the Hungarian Army in Táborfalva.11 In addition, 6,548 inert GYATA-64 training mines are stored at three training centers and at the Ministry of Defense site at Budapest-Háros.12
Hungary has declined to include in its Article 7 reports information on its MON-type directional fragmentation mines and what steps have been taken to ensure they cannot be used in victim-activated (tripwire) mode. A member of the Defense Forces told Landmine Monitor that Hungary retains only “a few thousand MON type mines” which are nearing their expiration date.13 Officials have said the mines are capable only of being detonated by a control cable.14
Hungary has continued to participate in NATO’s military technology committee and its Antipersonnel Landmine Alternative project. In 2002, Hungary manufactured and field-tested a small quantity of the “directed splinter charges” (designated IHR) that form one part of Hungary’s proposed three-stage defensive system to replace antipersonnel mines. Hungary plans to produce the IHR charges, which can be activated only by a controlled detonator, as a replacement for the MON mines when the latter reach their expiration date.15 The Army’s Military Technology Institute developed the IHR, and is also developing a new antivehicle mine with an electronic primer, and magnetic and acoustic sensors.16
The Ministry of Defense has stated that no antipersonnel mines are stored at the Taszár military area. The Taszár base, its airport and the Ferihegy airport are used by the US military. The Ministry of Defense stated that the leasing agreement for Taszár makes no reference to antipersonnel mines and “contact has not been made between the US authorities and the Hungarian MoD on this issue. The MoD has no knowledge of any US declaration to this effect.”17
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated in May 2003 that all transactions concerning export, import, re-export or transit of military equipment must be approved by a special inter-ministerial committee, which takes account of all international obligations and domestic regulations. Licenses are valid only for specific cases and time-periods. Any application to transit antipersonnel mines would be refused by the committee, with the exception of mines transited for destruction as permitted by the Mine Ban Treaty.18
The Ministry of Defense has stated, “Hungarian soldiers are not allowed to use antipersonnel mines abroad during NATO army exercises, and foreign soldiers are not allowed to use antipersonnel mines in Hungary during NATO army exercises.”19 During a conference on landmines held in Budapest in May 2002, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that neither foreign nor Hungarian forces are permitted to train with antipersonnel mines at the Taszár base, and Hungarian forces are not permitted to train or use antipersonnel mines abroad.20
Hungary continues to report, in both its Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 and Amended Protocol II Article 13 reports, that “there have been no identified or suspected minefields” and therefore no mine clearance programs in Hungary.21 Information on areas of Hungary contaminated by unexploded ordnance (UXO) and, to a lesser extent, by mines was summarized in the Landmine Monitor Report 2002.
No military or civilian casualties were reported from either mines or UXO in 2002.22
From 21 May 2001 to 26 October 2002, a large area near Nagycenk, in Gyor-Moson-Sopron County, was surveyed and two hectares of land near a railway embankment were found to be contaminated with World War II explosives. Seventy metric tons of explosives were excavated and destroyed.23
In 2002 and 2003, the Ministry of Agriculture turned down requests by a private logging company for mine/UXO clearance of 25.8 hectares of affected land in the Marcali forest and eight hectares in the Nagybajom forest. On 4-12 March 2003, Tornádó Trade 2000 Ltd carried out survey and clearance of 151,000 square meters in the Marcali forest, paid for by the logging company. The operation found 52 explosive items, 5.5 kilograms mixed infantry ammunition, and 141 kilograms unidentifiable explosive remains, but no landmines.24
In 2002, the First Bomb-disposal and Battleship Regiment of the Hungarian Army received 2,645 reports of mines and other suspicious explosive objects, and examined 34,230 square meters of land, detecting and destroying 359,802 explosive items, including 1,142 landmines, found in 58 locations. All the mines found were practice mines or otherwise inactive, except for two antipersonnel and 13 antivehicle mines. The live mines were found at former World War II battle sites, while the inactive mines were found in areas formerly used by the Soviet troops occupying Hungary.25
The Hungarian Border Guard increased its public-safety patrols of the border with Croatia, as Croatian organizations cleared landmines from the Torjanci-Lucs section of their side of the border. An official reported that the clearance was completed, but “there are still many dangerous locations near the border.”26
In 2002, Hungary donated $30,000 to the Italian NGO Emergency, via the International Trust Fund, for victim assistance in Afghanistan.27
1 See Landmine Monitor Report 2000, p. 658.
2 Article 7 Report, 10 April 2003 (for the period 1 May 2002–30 April 2003).
3 See Article 7 reports submitted on: 24 April 2002 (for the period 1 May 2001–30 April 2002); 30 April 2001 (for the period 1 May 2000–30 April 2001); 25 April 2000 (for the period 27 August 1999–25 April 2000); and 1 October 1999 (for the period 1 March-27 August 1999).
4 Letter from Lieutenant Zsolt Nemes, Deputy Head of First Bomb Disposal Regiment, Defense Forces, 9 January 2003.
5 Tamás Csapody, “A gyalogsági aknák Magyarországon” (Landmines in Hungary), Új Honvédségi Szemle (New Defense Review, Army periodical), No. 10, October 2002, pp. 64-78.
6 Article 7 Report, Form G, 24 April 2002.
7 Email from László Szűcs, Arms Control and Security Policy Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 30 May 2003.
8 Ibid.; see also, Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 298.
9 Article 7 Report, Form D, 10 April 2003.
10 Article 7 Report, Form D, 30 April 2001; Article 7 Report, Form D, 24 April 2002.
11 Letter from Tamás Ráth, Director, Military Technology Institute of the Hungarian Army, No. 273/2002, 23 April 2002.
12 Letter from Major László Kiss, Deputy Manager, Technical Service and Support Center of the Hungarian Army, 8 March 2001; email from László Szűcs, Arms Control and Security Policy Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 17 June 2002.
13 Letter from Colonel István Budai, Head of Technical Engineering Branch, Joint Logistics and Support Command, Hungarian Defense Forces, 14 January 2003.
14 Ibid; email from László Szűcs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 30 May 2003.
15 Letter from Colonel István Budai, Hungarian Defense Forces, 14 January 2003; letter from Lieutenant Zsolt Nemes, Hungarian Defense Forces, 9 January 2003.
16 Letter from Colonel István Budai, Hungarian Defense Forces, 14 January 2003.
17 Email from László Szűcs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 30 May 2003.
19 Statement by Colonel József Tián, Ministry of Defense, 23 May 2001, p. 5.
20 Statement by László Szűcs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on 8 May 2002 at the “International mine treaties: Humanitarian considerations, and the feasibility of certain military technology tasks – a national conference on mines,” Budapest, 8-17 May 2002. The Landmine Monitor researcher was present.
21 Article 13 Report, Form B, 11 December 2002.
22 Email from László Szűcs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 30 May 2003.
23 Letter from Lieutenant Zsolt Nemes, Hungarian Defense Forces, 9 January 2003; László Szucs, “Többtonnányi robbanóanyag a föld alatt” (Tons of explosives underground), Magyar Honvéd (weekly magazine of the Ministry of Defense), vol. XIII, No. 46, 15 November 2002. p. 4; “Lőszerek Nagycenken” (Explosives in Nagycenk), Magyar Hírlap (daily newspaper), 22 May 2002, p. 21.
24 Telephone interview with László Major, Head of Forestry Cultivation Department, Forestry and Timber Industry PLC of Somogy County, 6 January 2003; telephone interview with Antal Balsai, head of Forestry Office, Ministry of Agriculture and Country Development, 10 January 2003.
25 Information supplied by Lieutenant-Colonel Lajos Posta, Sergeant-Major Attila Jansik, Sergeant-Major Róbert Sulykovszky, and Colonel Sándor Molnár, commander of the First Bomb-disposal and Battleship Regiment of the Hungarian Army, 1 April 2003.
26 Colonel Péter Zámbó, member of the Hungarian-Croatian Border Guard Committee, “Report on the status of mines deployed and partially removed on Croatian territory during the Yugoslavian war,” Border Guard Department, Border Guard Management of Pécs, 26 February 2003, pp. 4-5; Lieutenant-Colonel László Tóth, “Mines are picked up,” Border Guard Department, Border Guard Management of Pécs, 14 August 2002, p. 2.
27 Email from László Szűcs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 24 April 2003. A donation of HUF15 million ($60,000) noted in Landmine Monitor Report 2002 was effected in February 2003, via the ITF.