PROTOCOL AGAINST THE ILLICIT MANUFACTURING OF AND TRAFFICKING IN FIREARMS, THEIR PARTS AND COMPONENTS AND AMMUNITION, SUPPLEMENTING THE UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION AGAINST TRANSNATIONAL ORGANIZED CRIME
The Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition (Firearms Protocol) is the only legally binding instrument on small arms at the global level. It was adopted by resolution 55/255 of 31 May 2001 at the fifty-fifth session of the General Assembly of the United Nations and it entered into force on 3 July 2005. The Firearms Protocol supplements the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (Organized Crime Convention) and together with the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children and the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, represents the commitment of the international community to counter transnational organized crime.
The Firearms Protocol aims at promoting and strengthening international cooperation and developing cohesive mechanisms to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, their parts and components and ammunition (firearms). By ratifying or acceding to the Firearms Protocol, States make a commitment to adopt and implement a series of crime-control measures that aim at: (a) establishing as criminal offence the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms in line with the Protocol's requirements and definitions; (b) adopting effective control and security measures, including the disposal of firearms, in order to prevent their theft and diversion into the illicit circuit (c) establishing a system of government authorizations or licensing intending to ensure legitimate manufacturing of, and trafficking in, firearms; (d) ensuring adequate marking, recording and tracing of firearms and effective international cooperation for this purpose.
While the Organized Crime Convention provides for basic measures to prevent and combat transnational organized crime, its Protocols provide for specific measures to deal with specific crimes. As such, the Protocols should be interpreted together with the Organized Crime Convention. Parties to the Firearms Protocol undertake to adopt, and implement the strongest possible legislation consistent with their national legal system, to prevent, investigate and prosecute the offences stemming from the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms. Specific measures include the confiscation, seizure and destruction of firearms illicitly manufactured or trafficked; the maintenance of records for at least 10 years in order to identify and trace firearms; the issuance of licences for the import and export of firearms and transit authorization prior to their actual transfers; and the marking of firearms permitting identification of the manufacturer of the firearm, and the country of and year of import.
Parties undertake to cooperate extensively at the bilateral, regional and international levels in order to achieve the Firearms Protocol's objectives including providing training and technical assistance to other Parties. Finally, Parties undertake to exchange relevant case-specific information on matters such as authorized producers, dealers, importers, exporters and carriers of firearms as well as information on organized criminal groups known to take part in the illicit manufacture and trafficking of such items.
Thus the Protocol provides for a framework for States to control and regulate licit arms and arms flows, prevent their diversion into the illegal circuit, facilitate the investigation and prosecution of related offences without hampering legitimate transfers.
The Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (COP), is the main Treaty body established by the Convention to improve the capacity of States Parties to combat transnational organized crime and to promote and review the implementation of the Convention and its Protocols. The Conference meets every two years.
Status of Ratification
In accordance with article 18 (1) and (2) which reads as follows: "1. This Protocol shall enter into force on the ninetieth day after the date of deposit of the fortieth instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession, except that it shall not enter into force before the entry into force of the Convention. For the purpose of this paragraph, any instrument deposited by a regional economic integration organization shall not be counted as additional to those deposited by member States of such organization. 2. For each State or regional economic integration organization
ratifying, accepting, approving or acceding to this Protocol after the deposit of the fortieth instrument of such action, this Protocol shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date of deposit by such State or organization of the relevant instrument or on the date this Protocol enters into force pursuant to paragraph 1 of this article, whichever is the later."
Ratification per Region
|Ghana||14 January 2014|
Full text of the Convention and its Protocols
General Assembly resolutions
In its resolution 55/255 of 31 May 2001, the General Assembly adopted the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime