Defence industry / production was historically
ungoverned (by any central body) throughout the equipment production /
induction / employment lifecycle, prior to adoption of ATT by UNGA in Apr 2013.
The ATT introduces specific and legally binding measures to regulate
international trade in conventional arms. Although most of the countries are
signatory of this treaty yet it is seen that some major arms exporters /
importers have still not ratified due to one or many excuses1
(National Sovereignty, Defence Needs, Threat from neighbour, the treaty is
While it is common that government
regulatory authorities collect insurance / road tax for each car coming on road
(as they endanger drivers, pedestrian, other cars). Financial penalties are
issued to individuals for all violations on road, like wrong parking or
over-speeding. It never happens that someone doesn’t pay insurance / road tax /
penalties because he/she doesn’t ratify the government laws. The laws are there
and they are meant to be followed. On the other hand, we see that there exists
no requirement of insurance / taxation / penalties when it comes to weapons (with
destructive / damaging capability). If we see from purely humanitarian point of
view, each weapon inducted / produced is directly proportional to the risk /
threat to human life / material. There is no international governing body which
could tax NBC weapons, conventional munitions, fighter aircrafts, combat
helicopters, tanks and artillery. This is the prime reason that UN charters and
treaties are taken lightly by member countries as there are no financial
bindings / compulsions involved. The quantity of war munitions and its
stockpiling is still on the rise.
3. Research Context
Unlike weapons of mass destruction and
land mines, trade in conventional weapons were historically not subject to any
legally binding global instrument. The relevant inter-national regulations were
made up of a patchwork of UN embargos, transparency agreements, such as the UN
Register of Conventional Arms, as well as voluntary codes of conduct and
regional agreements. The ATT process, launched formally in 2006, was intended
to close this gap. The Arms Trade Treaty obligates member states to monitor
arms exports and ensure that weapons don’t cross existing arms embargoes or end
up being used for human-rights abuses, including terrorism. Member states, with
the assistance of the U.N., will put into place enforceable, standardized arms
import and export regulations (much like those that already exist in the U.S.)
and be expected to track the destination of exports to ensure they do not end
up in the wrong hands. Ideally, that means limiting the inflow of deadly
weapons into places like Syria. After the ATT came into force, its implementation
seems difficult because of lack of common enforcement mechanism, based on a
standardised system of authorisation, and no clarity on any end-use of
human rights activists have reported more than 80 allegedly attacks in Yemen by
Saudi Arabia. Some attacks have used UK-made cluster bombs allegedly targeting
areas crowded with civilians including schools, hospitals, weddings and markets2.
Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world other than the UK that has access
to the deadly “Paveway IV” bomb manufactured by Raytheon UK3.
While the UK had stopped manufacturing cluster bombs in 1989 and signed up a
convention in 2008 not to use them, however, Saudi Arabia is not a signatory of
this convention4. Although
it is claimed that UK has the “toughest form of export licences in the world” and
the UK sold arms in a way that was “robust and correct”5
yet there exist a need that export licences pertinent to weapons be centrally
issued not by individual countries / producers but by an authorized UN body
after deliberate checks / inspections.
4. Research Questions
ATT adequately covers all aspects of arms control and safeguard international
ATT adequately serve as a legally binding instrument on the highest possible
common international standards for the transfer of conventional arms?
the scope of of ATT enough and it covers all types of munitions of war /
threats and aspects of modern warfare?
there are any weaknesses in ATT and how they can be addressed?
are the concerns of member countries for non-ratification of ATT and how it can
it true that there exist no governing body that could tax NBC wpns,
conventional munitions, fighter aircrafts, combat helicopters, tanks and
artillery available in different countries?
are the benefits accrued from such taxation?
such measure will regularise future wars / conflicts?
it be possible to tax countries?
can this be possible?
can the collected tax money be used?
all manufactured firearms / munitions registered?
it possible to trace their sale / resale?
there an open database which can be accessed by UN inspectors?
there after sale inspection of stores?
it possible to trace their use and the consumption of these firearms /
munitions be recorded and legitimized?
it possible to calculate their after use extent of damage (collateral /
legitimate targets defined and well authorised?
the after conflict / war damage assessment adequate?
are the measures in place to compensate the damages? By whom and to what limit?
there any security deposit required prior to initiate war / conflict /
if the war initiator ends up with loss and gets bankrupted? who will pay the
there any fund in UN which caters for such situation?
all deals/ contracts of firearms / munitions b/w two countries adequately
there defined UN inspectors Acceptance Test Procedures (ATPs) / registration / requirement
of end user certificate for all international munitions contracts?
firearms trafficking internationally treated like drug trafficking?
it possible that if an illegal organization or group is found using a certain
factory equipment / weapon / ammunition – the factory be sealed or some warning
be issued or a disciplinary action is taken?
there exist any mechanism to centrally monitor (under UN) accounts of defence
is it ensured that there is no black money / money laundering / back channel?
black market works and what amount of profits are made?
there any requirement to harness this and how it can be done?
of Arms Control history from open source and books.
with people / researchers who have already done study on Arms Control.
of research papers published in Arms Control.
of in place arms control regime?
of International humanitarian Law, Arms control conventions (Geneva / Hague)
and treaties (ATT, UNTOC, ITI, PoA)?
/ Visit of concerned UN Organizations, Human Rights Watch – analyse its mandate
/ role / output?
of recent conflicts (Syria / Yemen / Ukraine / Afghanistan / Iraq) and pitching
my research questions against each?
of accessible weapon deals / defence equipment contracts and pitching my
/ interviews with relevant SME ( Subject Matter Experts)
based testing of findings of my research.
Significance of Research
The research is based on a principal
fact that the world has produced enough weapons to destroy itself four times. In
any case the world must device an intelligent mechanism that all possibility of
a third world war is barred. Recent conflicts is testament that illegal / rogue
organizations are a growing threat to world peace and their access to munitions
of war is creating more and more trouble spots. My research will formulate a
working mechanism how illegal trafficking / use of firearms is restricted, sale
of weaponry is regularized and use of munitions is legitimized / traced. How we
can stop abuse of warfare by lawful and justified international taxation
policy. How can we use these taxes to promote global peace, security and
work will review the existing Arms Treaties, existing charter of concerned UN
org ( like UNODA) analyse the shortfalls and recommend a working model for UN
for better arms control.
Francesca, Ferraro, “Ratifying the UN Firearms
Protocol.” Library Briefing Library of the European Parliament.
25/06/2013: p. 1-2.
Latek, Marta, “The Arms Trade Treaty Finally
an outcome and what next?” Library Briefing Library of the
European Parliament. 29/05/2013: p. 1-6.
UNODC, “Comparative Analysis of Global Instruments
on Firearms and other Conventional Arms: Synergies for Implementation” United
Nations, Vienna 2016.
“Universalization of ATT” Control Arms Alliance and Reaching
Critical Will. 24/12/2013.
Bromund T.R, ” The US
cannot fix the UN Arms Trade Treaty ” The Heritage Foundation.
https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/CCW. Abramson Jeff, Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) At a
Glance, September, 2017.
Rowena and MacAskill, Ewen. “Saudi Arabia admits it used UK-made cluster bombs
in Yemen” the guardian,19/12/2016.
Rachael. “UK bombs sold to Saudi Arabia contributed to ’81 unlawful attacks in
Yemen’, say human rights activists” Independent,06/06/2017.
https://www.un.org/disarmament/convarms/att/ “UNODA Official Website”
“Arms Trade Treaty Implementation Toolkit” Module 1 Why Join the ATT?
Mikkelson, David, ” U.N. Arms Trade Treaty.” Snopes. 26/09/2013.
Over thirty states have objected to various parts of the ATT during
negotiations, the majority of which held strong concerns about the implications
for national sovereignty