Protocol on the Control of Firearms, Ammunition and Other Related Materials in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Region, 2001

Sectors : Small and Light Weapons
Organisation : SADC (Southern African Development Community)
Date made: 
2001
Level: 
Heads Of State

Commitments in: Peace and security - Small and Light Weapons

“We, the Heads of State or Government… HEREBY AGREE as follows:...

...ARTICLE 5
LEGISLATIVE MEASURES

1. State Parties shall enact the necessary legislation and take other measures to establish as criminal offences under their national law to prevent, combat and eradicate, the illicit manufacturing of firearms, ammunition and other related materials, and , their excessive and destabilising accumulation, trafficking, possession and use.

2. State Parties shall enact the necessary legislation and take other measures to sanction criminally, civilly or administratively under their national law the violation of arms embargoes mandated by the Security Council of the United Nations;

3. State Parties further undertake to incorporate the following elements in their national laws as a matter of priority:

a) the prohibition of unrestricted possession of small arms by civilians;
b) the total prohibition of the possession and use of light weapons by civilians;
c) the co-ordination of procedures for the import, export and transit of firearm shipments;
d) the regulation and centralised registration of all civilian owned firearm in their territories;
e) measures ensuring that proper controls are exercised over the manufacturing of, possession and use of firearms, ammunition and other related materials;
f) provisions promoting legal uniformity and minimum standards in respect of the manufacture, control, possession, import, export and transfer of firearms, ammunition and other related materials;
g) provisions ensuring the standardised marking and identification of firearms at the time of manufacture, import or export;
h) provisions that adequately provide for the seizure, confiscation, and forfeiture to the State of all firearms, ammunition and other related materials manufactured or conveyed in transit without or in contravention of licences, permits, or written authority;
i) provisions that ensure the effective control of firearms including the storage and usage thereof, competency testing of prospective firearm owners and restriction on owner's rights to relinquish control, use, and possession of firearms, ammunition and other related materials;
j) the monitoring and auditing of licences held in a person's possession, and the restriction on the number of firearms that may be owned by any person;
k) provisions that prohibit the pawning and pledging of firearms, ammunition and other related materials;
l) provisions that prohibit the misrepresentation or withholding of any information given with a view to obtain any licence or permit;
m) provisions that regulate firearm brokering in the territories of State Parties; and
n) provisions that promote legal uniformity in the sphere of sentencing.

ARTICLE 6
OPERATIONAL CAPACITY

State Parties, undertake to improve the capacity of police, customs, border guards, the military, the judiciary and other relevant agencies to fulfill their roles in the implementation of this Protocol and to:

a) co-ordinate national training programmes for police, customs and border guards, the judiciary and other agencies involved in preventing, combating and eradicating the illicit manufacturing of firearms, ammunition and other related materials and their excessive and destabilising accumulation, trafficking, possession and use;
b) establish and improve national data-bases, communication systems and acquire equipment for monitoring and controlling the movement of firearms across borders;
c) establish inter-agency working groups, involving police, military, customs, home affairs, foreign affairs and other relevant agencies, to improve policy co-ordination, information sharing and analysis at national level; and
d) undertake joint training exercises for officials, from countries within the Region drawn from the police, customs and other relevant agencies, including the military where it is involved with border control, and explore the possibility for exchange programmes for such officials within the Region, and with their counterparts in other regions.

ARTICLE 7
CONTROL OVER CIVILIAN POSSESSION OF FIREARMS

State Parties undertake to consider a co-ordinated review of national procedures and criteria for issuing and withdrawing of firearm licences and establishing and maintaining national electronic databases of licensed firearms, firearm owners, and commercial firearms traders within their territories.

ARTICLE 8
STATE-OWNED FIREARMS

State Parties undertake to:

a) establish and maintain complete national inventories of firearms, ammunition and other related materials held by security forces and other state bodies;
b) enhance their capacity to manage and maintain secure storage of state owned firearms;
c) harmonise relevant import, export and transfer documents and end-user control certificates; and
d) establish systems to verify the validity and authenticity of documents issued by licensing authorities in the Region.

ARTICLE 9
MARKING OF FIREARMS AND RECORD-KEEPING

1. State Parties undertake to establish agreed systems to ensure that all firearms are marked with a unique number, at the time of manufacture or import, on the barrel, frame and, where applicable, the slide and undertake to keep proper records of the markings.

2. The marking referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article shall identify the country of manufacture, the serial number, and the manufacturer of the firearm.

ARTICLE 10
DISPOSAL OF STATE-OWNED FIREARMS

1. State Parties undertake to identify and adopt effective programmes for the collection, safe-storage, destruction and responsible disposal of firearms rendered surplus, redundant or obsolete through, inter alia,:

a) peace agreements;
b) demobilisation or reintegration of ex-combatants; and
c) re-equipment, or restructuring of armed forces or other armed state bodies.

2. State Parties shall pursuant to paragraph 1 of this Article consider:

a) encouraging full preparation for, and implementation of the collection, safestorage, destruction or responsible disposal of firearms as part of the implementation of peace agreements; Southern African Development Community
b) establishing and implementing guidelines and procedures for ensuring that firearms, ammunition and other related materials rendered surplus, redundant or obsolete through the re-equipment or re-organisation of armed forces or other state bodies are securely stored, destroyed or disposed of in a way that prevents them entering the illicit firearm market or flowing into regions in conflict or any other destination that is not fully consistent with agreed criteria for restraint; and
c) destroying surplus, redundant or obsolete state-owned firearms, ammunition or other related materials.

ARTICLE 11
DISPOSAL OF CONFISCATED OR UNLICENSED FIREARMS

1. State Parties undertake to adopt co-ordinated national policies for the disposal of confiscated or unlicensed firearms that come into the possession of state authorities.

2. State Parties undertake to develop joint and combined operations across the borders of State Parties to locate, seize and destroy caches of firearms, ammunition and other related materials left over after conflict and civil wars.

ARTICLE 12
VOLUNTARY SURRENDER OF FIREARMS

State Parties shall introduce programmes to encourage:

a) lawful firearm holders to voluntarily surrender their firearms for destruction by the State, and in such cases, the State may consider paying compensation in cash or in kind; and
b) illegal firearm holders to surrender their firearms for destruction, and, in such cases, the State may consider granting immunity from prosecution.

ARTICLE 13
PUBLIC EDUCATION AND AWARENESS PROGRAMMES

State Parties undertake to develop national and regional public education and awareness programmes to enhance public involvement and support for efforts to tackle firearms proliferation and illicit trafficking and to encourage responsible ownership arid management of firearms, ammunition and other related materials.

ARTICLE 14
MUTUAL LEGAL ASSISTANCE

1. State Parties shall co-operate with each other to provide mutual legal assistance in a concerted effort to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit manufacturing of firearms, ammunition and other related materials and their excessive and destabilising accumulation, trafficking, possession and use.

2. Mutual legal assistance shall, inter alia, include the following:

a) communication of information and transfer of exhibits;
b) investigation and detection of offences;.
c) obtaining evidence or statements;
d) execution of searches and seizures;
e) inspection of sites or examination of objects or documents;
f) request for judicial documents;
g) service of judicial documents;
h) communication of relevant documents and records;
i) identification or tracing of suspects or proceeds of crime; and
j) application of special investigative techniques, such as forensics and ballistic and fingerprinting.

3. State Parties may further agree upon any other form of mutual legal assistance consistent with their national laws.

4. State Parties shall designate a competent authority, the name of which shall be communicated to the Executive Secretary, which shall have the responsibility and power to execute and monitor requests for Mutual legal assistance...

...ARTICLE 15
LAW ENFORCEMENT

State Parties shall establish appropriate mechanisms for co-operation among law enforcement agencies of the State Parties to promote effective implementation of this Protocol including the:

a) establishment of direct communication systems to facilitate a free and fast flow of information among the law enforcement agencies in the Region;
b) establishment of an infrastructure to enhance effective law enforcement, including suitable search and inspection facilities at all designated ports of exit and entry;
c) establishment of mufti-disciplinary taw enforcement units for preventing, combating and eradicating the illicit manufacturing of firearms, ammunition and other related materials and their excessive and destabilising accumulation, trafficking, possession and use;
d) promotion of co-operation with international organisations such as the International Criminal Police Organisation and World Customs Organisation and to utilise existing data bases such as the Interpol Weapons and Explosives Tracing System;
e) establishment of national focal contact points within the respective law enforcement agencies for the rapid information exchange to combat cross-border firearm trafficking; and
f) introduction of effective extradition arrangements.

ARTICLE 16
TRANSPARENCY AND INFORMATION EXCHANGE

State Parties undertake to:

a) develop and improve transparency in firearms accumulation, flow and policies relating to civilian owned firearms; and
b) establish national firearms databases to facilitate the exchange of information on firearms imports, exports and transfers...”

Scope: 
Regional Africa