Preventing Diversion: A Challenge for Arms Trade Treaty States Parties

Non-refereed Journal Article

Marsh, Nicholas (2019) Preventing Diversion: A Challenge for Arms Trade Treaty States Parties, History of Global Arms Transfer 8: 55–66.
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​This  article  examines  the  obligations  contained  in  the  Arms  Trade  Treaty  for  preventing  diversion,  which  is  defined  as  the  movement  from  authorized  to  unauthorized possession or use. It argues that in different places, the treaty covers both  diversions  taking  place  during  a  transfer  and  after  the  transfer  has  been  completed. The article then considers the different ways that authorization can be granted; it points out that a diversion can occur if any state involved in a transfer has  not  provided  authorization.  The  article  then  presents  three  examples  of  diversion  in  contemporary  armed  conflicts:  the  2011  war  in  Libya;  supplies  to  Afghanistan  and  Iraq  between  2003  and  2016;  and  an  export  of  small  arms  and  ammunition  from  China  to  Nigeria,  which  was  brokered  from  the  United  Kingdom.  In  each  example,  the  nature  of  a  diversion  is  highlighted,  as  are  the  specific  issues  for  implementation  of  the  Arms  Trade  Treaty.  The  article  concludes with the observations that states parties need to control the activities of arms  brokers,  much  more  knowledge  is  needed  by  states  parties  to  help  them  predict  when  a  diversion  may  occur,  and  a  key  priority  for  international  cooperation  and  assistance  should  be  to  enhance  stockpile  security  and  management.

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