Citation(s) from the literature library

SEESAC. 2005 ‘Small Arms Problem - Republic of Serbia - Possession.’ South Eastern Europe Small Arms and Light Weapons Monitor, 2005, pp. 139-140. Belgrade: South Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons / SEESAC and Saferworld. 1 January

Relevant contents

Small Arms Problem - Republic of Serbia - Possession

Serbia has a high level of SALW ownership for a variety of historical reasons, including the existence of a strong military-industrial infrastructure, a large standing army, a spate of armed conflicts and wars in the 1990s and a subsequent breakdown in law and order.

According to the 2005 SALW Survey of the Republic of Serbia, there are estimated to be approximately 2,898,416 SALW in the republic. This figure includes over one million firearms registered to private citizens, suggesting an estimated 40 percent of households in Serbia have at least one registered firearm.

In addition, it is estimated that there are more than 900,000 unlicensed firearms in Serbia held by citizens and a variety of nonstate actors. Private security companies, the number of which has increased in recent years, also possess significant numbers of SALW. The near absence of the legislation needed to govern this growing sector poses concerns for the long-term provision of law and order in the republic.

Although the Ministry of Defence has not disclosed figures for its SALW holdings or surplus, these are believed to be significant due to the high level of militarisation in the republic throughout the 1990s. In early 2005 there were an estimated 677,500 SALW under the control of the Serbia and Montenegro Armed Forces (SMAF), amongst which some 477,514 were estimated to be surplus to operational requirements.

If the figure of 40,000 estimated by Small Arms Survey for SMAF holdings in the territory of Montenegro is subtracted from the overall SMAF holdings in the Union, the total estimated number of the SALW held by Serbian security forces can be estimated at around 637,500. It is also estimated that Ministry of the Interior (MuP) personnel control over 50,000 formation firearms as well as some 9,000 as yet undestroyed firearms collected during the 2003 weapons amnesty associated with Operation Sabre.

[SALW = Small arms and light weapons]

ID: Q4029

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