Thursday, 04 April 2013

Global Arms Trade Treaty adopted

For the first time in history, a treaty regulating the global arms trade has been adopted. This is a success for the international community allowing for better control of the trade in conventional weapons on the international level. Still, in an interview, BICC expert Jan Grebe points to loopholes in the Treaty. He also demands more transparency from the German government with respect to German arms exports.

Jan Grebe

The Treaty contains criteria, which oblige states to check whether planned arms transfers contribute to the violation of human rights or international humanitarian law. “Another positive factor is that the Treaty not only includes the transfer of conventional  major weapons but also the export of small arms and light weapons (SALW) and ammunition,” Jan Grebe points out.  This should, however, not distract from the fact that the categories are too broad, do not include all weapons transfers and do not take into consideration future technologies. Another problem is that the criteria for the evaluation of exports leave a lot of room for interpretation. “We have to wait and see whether the Treaty will have the desired effect,” Grebe expresses his concern. The United States have approved the Treaty while Russia and China have abstained.  Whether and when these major arms exporting countries ratify the Treaty remains open and can take years. “One thing is clear, though. The Treaty is an important political signal for the control of the global arms trade,” the BICC expert stresses.
Interview with Jan Grebe in "Stuttgarter Zeitung": „Es gibt noch viele Schlupflöcher“ (in German)