Prof. Andrew Clapham and Gilles Giacca say no treaty is better than a bad one.
Today, at a News Briefing entitled “What’s at Stake for the Arms Trade Treaty” Professor Andrew Clapham said that having no international treaty regulating the international trade in conventional weapons might be better than a bad treaty adopted at the UN Diplomatic Conference next year. “The current text contains flaws and loopholes”, he said. “A weak treaty could be worse than no treaty.”
Andrew Clapham provided his analysis of the treaty process at the event held on the occasion of the release of a briefing on the treaty published by the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, of which he is the Director. He was joined by Gilles Giacca, Geneva Academy Researcher and doctoral student at the Graduate Institute as well as Sarah Parker, who contributed to the briefing and is a Senior Researcher at the Small Arms Survey. The panellists along with Dr Maslen, a Research Fellow at the Academy and the author of the Briefing have been closely following the treaty negotiations.
According to Professor Clapham the creation of such a treaty is a unique opportunity to stop arms from being used where they will facilitate violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. A good treaty would give state parties the obligation to assess whether an arms trade is irresponsible or not. However, in its current wording, the treaty would create a low international standard that in many cases would be weaker than current national legislation. It also leaves out many types of weapons and related products and has a very weak implementation mechanism.
“It would be a shame if we miss this opportunity to have a treaty which might prevent violations of human rights and humanitarian law. It is probably too late for the countless victims in Syria, but we must try to avert the next round of violations”, he said in closing.
Read the Geneva Academy Briefing “The Draft Arms Trade Treaty”.
The Geneva Academy is a joint Centre of the Graduate Institute and the University of Geneva. The Small Arms Survey is based at the Graduate Institute and Institute Professor Keith Krause is its Programme Director.