Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Day 8 of the PrepCom

The plenary reconvened on Day 8 of the PrepCom.

Belgium speaking on behalf of the EU said that the ATT should include provisions on international cooperation and assistance, which would be crucial to ensure that all States Parties implement the treaty’s provisions. There should also be a competent licensing authority at the national level, which would be the responsibility of each State Party. International cooperation should cover, inter alia, 1) legislative assistance, 2) institutional capacity building, 3) the implementation of administrative measures, and 4) technical assistance in other appropriate expertise. For further details, see the fact sheet on the experience of the EU in international cooperation and assistance.

The United States called for the discussion on the ATT to be narrowed in order to find more agreement among the delegations. It sought a straightforward document that would focus on the obligation of States.

France proposed an article on international mutual legal assistance, “shall afford the parties with mutual legal assistance in investigation, prosecution and trial proceedings.”

Australia said that transparency and reporting: could contribute to peace and security. 1) Compliance by state at the international level and 2) compliance by actors within the national system. It cited the example of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, which included a procedure for a State Party to request compliance from another, and if necessary a fact-finding mission. There is also provision for dispute settlement between States Parties. Australia also stated its support for international cooperation and assistance.

Pakistan said that transparency “is a potentially problematic concept”. It said that certain information about inter-State transfers could be shared in total confidentiality, but subject to the issue of national security.

Belgium again on behalf of the EU said that transparency covered important principles that touched on several aspects of the ATT. National reports should be mandatory on an annual basis to the UN secretariat for entry on a UN database. There should be requirements for information exchange, which should include exchange of information on the assessment of an application for the transfer of weapons governed by the ATT. Transparency and reporting would underpin a consultation mechanism allowing for the monitoring of the implementation of the treaty at national level. The ATT should also establish a review mechanism after five years after entry into force.

Senegal made a strong and surprising statement against transparency, arguing that this might infringe national security.

Brazil stressed the importance of international cooperation and assistance in the areas of exchanging good practice and providing training, technical assistance, and mutual legal assistance.

New Zealand said that international cooperation and assistance would be fundamental in the implementation of the ATT, and that the treaty should insist on high benchmarks. There are existing requirements focusing on border security requirements to draw upon.

Mexico made a detailed and forward-looking statement (jointly with Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Jamaica, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay). Among other issues, it called for the treaty to prevent diversion of arms to the illicit market. It stated that the treaty should apply to all conventional weapons and should be able to cover future developments of weapons. The transactions covered by the treaty should be broad. It called for all weapons covered by the treaty to be marked at time of manufacture. No transfers of weapons to non-State actors should be permitted. It also discussed the risk of diversion from UN peacekeeping operations.

Nigeria said that technical assistance should be on request, but that victim assistance should not. It declared that those whose commercial interests and profits have caused sufferings to others should be held accountable. It recommended that a provision on victim assistance be included separate from the provision on assistance and cooperation.

The Chair suggested that victim assistance should be separated from international cooperation and assistance.

Belgium referred to its national legislation on child soldiers, noting that it had adopted a law by which it is illegal for it to export weapons to countries where children were recruited in the regular armed forces.

Costa Rica said that transparency was important and should include periodic and detailed reports covering the obligations arising from ATT on both authorized and unauthorised transfers. There should be provision for international assistance. It called for civil society to have access to information on international arms transfers. It stated that it could be counterproductive to refer to international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the treaty.

The USA mentioned the fact that delegates should consider the elements they want to be put forward, that time was precious and that delegations should be careful not to undermine the process, which could lead to a failure.

Pakistan said that the issue of UN Peacekeeping operations was an issue to be discussed in another forum. It stated that child soldier is a noble suggestion, but claimed that an agreed international definition of a child was lacking.


  1. Nigeria did not say "states" but "those whose commercial interests and gains have caused others sufferings" should be held accountable.

  2. Thanks for the clarification, Anonymous, we have corrected our entry accordingly.