Bamako, after more than six years of technical work with Malians experts supported by the United Nations organisation such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC) as well as strategic and political rigorous consultations with Malian authorities to strengthen and update the national legal framework on the fight against illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, the National Transitional Council adopted, with a a majority of 94 votes, the new Law on the General Arms and Ammunition Regime of the country, during its session on Monday 22 March 2021.
This adoption by the CNT makes it possible to provide the country with a new legislation on firearms and ammunition, in line with the international and regional legal frameworks, including the Firearms Protocol and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons. This act represents an important effort in the country related to the fight against the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, as well as proliferation of small arms and light weapons, a real curse in Sahel countries.
UNODC, through its Global Firearms Programme, has provided Mali with technical support in the development of this law. UNODC began to support Mali since 2012, under various initiatives aimed at preventing and combating the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms.
The new law includes the introduction of more and precise terminology and definitions in line with those contained in international and regional instruments; it also introduces measures to adequately regulate trade, manufacture, possession, repair, the carrying, acquisition, use, transfer and the brokering of firearms.
In addition, the new law introduces criminal offences and appropriates sanctions for all firearms related offenses in the UN Firearms Protocol.
This new law which will be followed by regulatory texts, contains other relevant provisions on marking, control, management and securing of stockpiles, inter alia.
In order to facilitate international and regional cooperation, the new law strengthens information exchange mechanisms through the institutionalization of electronic databases and appropriate registers on firearms.
As part of its assistance through legislative assistance workshops, UNODC also organized several capacity-building workshops for penal chain actors’ through specialized trainings; on the international legal framework on illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms; their detection and tracing; human rights and international cooperation. UNODC has also supported firearm marking efforts and supplied marking machines as well as specialized trainings on marking, registration and databases management for the benefit of Malian security and defence practitioners.
This new law on firearms, more coherent and harmonized with the ECOWAS Convention on SALW and the UN Firearms Protocol, strengthens the country’s legal framework against terrorism and international organized crime, specially at a time when Mali has been engaging in several cross-border operations with other Sahel countries, including KAFO operations, coordinated by UNODC with the collaboration of Interpol, against illicit firearms trafficking.
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