Citation(s) from the literature library

SEESAC. 2005 ‘SALW Transfers.’ South Eastern Europe Small Arms and Light Weapons Monitor, 2005, p. 77. Belgrade: South Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons / SEESAC and Saferworld. 1 January

Relevant contents

SALW Transfers
[SALW = Small arms and light weapons]

A series of cases in which Croatian citizens were found to be involved in smuggling illicit arms from Croatia has led researchers to speak of the country as an 'important centre for illegal trade and of the flourishing black market in military hardware' which operated there. For example in November 2002 UK Customs found 30 sub-machine guns, silencers and ammunition concealed inside the spare wheel of a Croatian-registered truck carrying frozen pizzas. In one of the largest EU anti-trafficking operations in recent years, Italian police arrested two Croatian citizens carrying arms and explosives in Milan in September 2003.

Those mentioned in connection with SALW smuggling in Croatian media reports include the joint owners of one of Croatia's largest SALW producers, IM Metal, who are reported to have been under investigation by the Croatian authorities for illegally delivering 600 pistols to the Nigerian company GC Ehen International in 1999 (IM Metal declared the export as 'bakery products').

The consequences of a previous illicit transfer in 1998 of some 2,750 Croatian-made pistols thought to have been produced by IM Metal have continued to be made apparent in a series of high-profile crimes. For example, pistols from this consignment are believed to have been used in both the assassination of the president of the Aragon People's Party in 2001 by the Basque separatist terrorist group ETA, and the killing of a police officer in the UK in 2003. In another high-profile killing, that of Dutch film director Theo van Gogh in November 2004, suspicions were raised that the weapon used had come from Croatian military stores.

Croatia faces multiple challenges to effective border control because of its long and geographically varied Adriatic coastline to the South and difficult terrain along its eastern border with Bosnia. While the long and porous border with Bosnia, with its 150 crossing points, poses serious difficulties for border control agencies, the many ports and islands off the Dalmatian coast provide various opportunities for smuggling of contraband by sea.

ID: Q4034

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