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Grillot, Suzette R, Wolf-Christian Paes, Hans Risser and Shelly O Stoneman. 2004 ‘Weapons Collections: Past and Future.’ A Fragile Peace: Guns and Security in Post-Conflict Macedonia; Section 3.7, p. 30. Geneva: Bonn International Center for Conversion / Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva. 1 January

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Weapons Collections: Past and Future

Also approved in June 2003, the Law on voluntary surrender and collection of firearms, ammunition, and explosive materials and for legalization of weapons, allowed for a 45-day voluntary weapons collection programme. During this period citizens were granted amnesty from prosecution to anonymously surrender illegal weapons. Citizens who did not have a licence to possess a firearm could legalize any weapons they illegally possessed without risking prosecution. The new law also provides for the creation of a Macedonian National Coordination Body, which will form and implement a national programme on general security enhancement through voluntarily surrender of firearms, ammunition, and explosive materials. The Coordination Body consists of the president of the Parliament Committee for Defence and Security, four members of Parliament, the ministers of Interior, Justice and Defence, representatives of the Association of Local Self-Government Units, and representatives of the civil society.

In a politically symbolic move, the Coordination Body elected Gezim Ostreni, a former officer of the KLA who later became the military chief of staff of the NLA, as the chairman of the Coordination Body. The Coordination Body announced that the amnesty period for surrender or registration of weapons would last from 1 November until 15 December 2003. Through a SALW awareness campaign, financially supported by the UNDP's Small Arms Control in Macedonia (SACIM) programme, the Coordination Body called for the surrender of both illegal and legal weapons in civilian possession. As part of the public awareness-raising activities, UNDP is also offering the incentive of special lottery tickets in exchange for illicit weapons. While some experts had advocated a Weapons in Exchange for Development (WED) programme similar to the one UNDP is conducting in Albania, it was never foreseen that the UNDP would have been able to include a WED incentive concept in the short time allotted by the Macedonian government's amnesty period. Following the 45-day amnesty period penalties for possessing or carrying illegal weapons were increased. The Ministry of the Interior stressed that this amnesty was to be a one-time period of leniency.

For the collection programme, the Macedonian government established 123 dedicated collection points in every Macedonian municipality. When the temporary amnesty expired on 15 December 2003, the initiative had succeeded in collecting 3,590 rifles and 2,749 hand guns, as well as more than 100,000 rounds of ammunition…

Weapons, ammunition and explosives collected from 1 November–15 December 2003:

Barreled weapons 6,412
- Rifles: 3,589
- Revolvers: 458
- Pistols 2,336:
- Machine guns: 27

[KLA = Kosovo Liberation Army; NLA = National Liberation Army; SALW = Small arms and light weapons]

[Source= Author's correspondence with UNDP Skopje, 17 December 2003]

ID: Q3767

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