International Weapons Trade Agreement


The global trade in conventional weapons now has international standards that regulate annual activity estimated at $70 billion. After years of efforts, the UN General Assembly adopted a landmark Arms Trade Treaty on 2 April 2013. It is the first global treaty that establishes international standards to prevent conventional weapons from being used for war crimes and human rights violations or diverted for illegal use by criminals. The treaty will contribute to the promotion of peace and security by limiting the flow of destabilizing weapons into conflict areas. The treaty was inaugurated at the signing on 3 June 2013 and reached its 50th ratification on 25 September 2014 and triggered its entry into force on 24 December 2014. Even without some of the major exporters on board, the TCA still has enormous value. It creates a new international standard for arms exports, which will mark how all states view arms exports, including those that have not yet signed. All states are judged on the standard and, to some extent, held accountable. The CAW is part of a larger global effort launched in 1997 by the President of Costa Rica and the Nobel Peace Prize winner Scar Arias in 1987. This year, Arias led a group of Nobel Peace Prize laureates at a meeting in New York to offer the world a code of conduct on the arms trade. The group included Elie Wiesel, Betty Williams, the Dalai Lama, José Ramos-Horta, representatives of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Amnesty International and the American Friends Service Committee.

The initial idea was to establish ethical standards for the arms trade, which should ultimately be adopted by the international community. Over the next 16 years, the Arias Foundation for Peace – Human Progress played a decisive role in the adoption of the treaty. It is also very important to understand the extent of the legal obligations arising from the signing of the CAW. A signatory to an international treaty is not a state party. Under Article 18 of the 1969 Vienna Convention on treaty law (VCLT), a state that has signed a treaty is required to refrain from any action that nulls the purpose and purpose of the treaty. No more, no less. The signature does not take place all of the rights and obligations under the treaty.