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Moreau, Virginie, Cédric Poitevin and Jihan Seniora. 2010 ‘Analysis of National Arms Transfer Control Systems - Outmoded and Incomplete Regulation.’ Arms Transfer Controls: The Example of French-Speaking States in Sub-Saharan Africa, p. 8. Brussels: Groupe de Recherche et d'Information sur la Paix et la Sécurité (GRIP). 1 May

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Analysis of National Arms Transfer Control Systems - Outmoded and Incomplete Regulation

Although there are significant national differences according to the region of the continent (particularly between Central and West Africa), two commonalities should be underlined: regulation in all regions is often outmoded and incomplete. Much of the regulation was drafted shortly after these countries achieved independence, whilst other laws date from before independence.

Certain regulation was drafted or updated during the 1990s and during the first few years of the new century but failed to take into account recent developments in international standards on SALW and arms transfers. This regulation is often incomplete or only covers certain kinds of weapons (such as firearms) or activities (imports, for example). Provisions in this legislation are sometimes obsolete…

In many of these countries, draft amendments to legislation were launched following negotiations of regional legal instruments on SALW. In West Africa, the majority of National Commissions on SALW recently decided to freeze these updating processes, whilst awaiting publication of the Guide for the Harmonisation of National Legislation of States in the Sub-region, which should help facilitate the task of the national authorities.

Certain states have amended their national regulation in an effort to comply with commitments made at a regional level. Nonetheless, several of them have clearly failed to take into account all of the provisions in the appropriate legal instrument. This is, for example, the case with Burundi, which has not provided details on the mechanism for granting import/export licences or the criteria that should be taken into account when making prior assessments of the appropriateness of a specific transfer. This is, however, recommended by the Nairobi Protocol, to which Burundi is a state party.

[SALW = Small arms and light weapons]

ID: Q5011

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