Practice Relating to the Prohibition of Certain Types of Landmines
Poland attended all the preparatory meetings for the adoption of a treaty banning anti-personnel landmines and was a full participant in the Oslo negotiations in September 1997. It voted in favour of the UN General Assembly resolutions in support of a ban on anti-personnel landmines in 1997 and 1998.
However, Poland has made clear that it views the Conference on Disarmament (CD) as the appropriate forum for dealing with the landmine issue. It has supported negotiations on anti-personnel landmines in the CD since 1996 and was one of the 22 CD members that in February 1999 jointly called for the appointment of a special coordinator on anti-personnel landmines and the establishment of an ad hoc committee to negotiate a ban on anti-personnel landmine transfers.
In 2008, in a letter to the Managing Director of the Polish Red Cross, Poland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs stated:
In response to your letter … concerning the ratification by the Republic of Poland of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, which had been adopted in Oslo on 18 September 1997 (Ottawa Convention), I would like to provide the following information.
For Poland, becoming signatory to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention on 4 December 1997 gave rise to certain consequences under international law, including the obligation not to undertake any actions which could conflict with the contents or objectives of the Convention. I would like to stress that Poland voluntarily fulfils the majority of the terms of the Convention, namely that it does not produce, export or use anti-personnel mines in military operations. There are no mined areas on Polish territory.
Poland … submits annual reports on its activities relating to the issue of mines (in accordance with Article 7 of the Convention). Furthermore, Poland regularly responds to the annual survey issued by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe on anti-personnel mines … as well as the Landmine Monitor survey.
Poland’s ratification of the Convention should be viewed in the context of the State’s defence capabilities. Poland’s armed forces have an obligation, within the framework of NATO, to implement alternatives to anti-personnel mines by the end of 2014.
In the light of the conclusions reached by Polish military experts, the Polish armed forces will be equipped with these alternatives by 2015. However, I would like to assure you that we will aim to speed up this process as far as is possible without prejudice to our defence capabilities.