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Credit: Cpl Si Longworth RLC (Phot)/Wikimedia Commons

Traded Without Restraint? Transfers of Small Arms and Light Weapons

Roderic Alley
Journal05 July 2022
This article was published on Brill | Nijhoff


Prescriptive analyses of small arms and light weapons (SALW) transfer regimes have been advanced, but comparative assessment of the selling and importing of this weaponry is undeveloped. That includes examples of major arms sellers transferring this weaponry into locations embroiled in armed conflict. After surveying existing SALW restraints and their shortcomings, the extent to which due diligence risk considerations shape relevant arms selling conduct is considered. Existing explanatory frameworks discussed are found incomplete. Accordingly a model is outlined addressing impediments to the due diligence risk assessments required to meet international humanitarian and human rights legal obligations. For SALW sellers, they include executive dominance of sale purchase decisions; strategic imperatives; economic and commercial incentives; and capacity to conduct independent auditing of arms sales conduct. Within conflict afflicted recipient locations, they include defective public accountability; corruption; impunity; and inability to effect peaceful dispute settlement. Utilising these determinants, dyads embracing major SALW sellers transferring this weaponry into locations of persisting armed conflict are considered.


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