5 Loopholes in #Armstreaty Draft

July 25 2012, 10:29 AM  by Oistein Thorsen

The top five escape clauses for States in the Draft Consolidated Text of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) presented to States yesterday:

1. Meaningless references to controlling parts and components and ammunition
References to controls on parts and components and ammunition are drafted so as to exclude them from the text’s provisions (i.e. the transfer criteria and reporting provisions). This means that under the Treaty they would still be used to violate human rights and international humanitarian law.

2. States can evade controls on weapons through gifting weapons or through military assistance programmes.
Because the text only applies to the “international trade in conventional arms” this means that weapons that are gifted or supplied through military assistance programmes would be exempt from the controls. This is a potentially huge loophole for states to exploit.

3. The rules governing arms exports allow states to ignore human rights.
The national assessment of the risk posed by arms exports allows states to supply arms to human rights abusers if there is the possibility that it may somehow “contribute to peace and security”.

4. States can make their own judgements irrespective of the criteria
The view of a state is given primacy over the obligations under the provisions of the draft text. Regardless of international law, this allows States to interpret the criteria in their own way. This will allow states to ignore serious negative consequences of an arms transfer.

5. Existing arms deals can’t be broken regardless of the behaviour of the recipient.
Russia is continuing to supply arms to Syria on the basis of existing arms contracts despite the egregious human suffering caused by these weapons. This draft text would legitimise this state of affairs.