III. International Treaties on Conventional Weapons
International treaties concerning the control or disarmament of conventional weapons exist on a global as well as a regional level. It makes sense to distinguish these two levels.
1. The following treaties have a global character:
The United Nations Instrument for Reporting Military Expenditures entered into force in 1981. It is legally based on the United Nations General Assembly resolution 35/142 B , entitled "Reduction of military budgets". The aim of the instrument is to provide information on military spending by participating states.
To provide the needed information, participating states can choose between two types of reporting forms. The more detailed standard form asks for additional information on expenditures incurred on personnel, operations, maintenance, procurement, construction and research and development. The less demanding simplified form only inquires about data on personnel, operations and procurement.
The information is to be presented to the Secretary General once a year, who then reports on the topic to the General Assembly. These reports are available on the UN Department for Disarmament Affairs (UN DDA) website . The newest report for 2006 was issued in July and is available here.
In recent years more than 70 states participated by reporting their military expenditure to the general assembly, which is a comparably high figure, considering that the participation rate during the 1980s and 1990s was fewer than 30 states per year (http://disarmament2.un.org/cab/milex.html#Participation%20Graph).
However, India and Pakistan to supposedly big spenders on conventional arms are not part of the Instrument and have hence never submitted any information on their military budget to the UN.
Reforms concerning Protocol 2: Mines, leading to a more demanding protocol.
III. The second major impact of the Review Conference in 2001was the broadening of the CCW to also include all forms of armed conflicts.
The United Nations Register of Conventional Arms has been operating since 1992. It was established by the General Assembly resolution 46/36 L, entitled “Transparency in armaments”.
Signatory states are to provide information annually on the conventional arms import and export they enacted concerning certain types of weaponry, which we defined earlier as heavy conventional weapons. States are also encouraged to report on military holdings, procurement through national production and relevant policies. The arms covered by the Register must meet the criteria of the 7 weapons categories already mentioned in this article. (Part II: Definition of heavy conventional weapons).
A standardized as well as a simplified reporting form exists which is to be sent to the Secretary General annually.
More than 110 states have each year reported on their heavy conventional weapons imports and exports since 2000, while only few of these give further information on military holdings and even less on procurement through national production. (http://disarmament2.un.org/cab/register_files/Data%20Jun%2006/Graph_Background_Info.doc).
The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologieswas established in 1996 as a successor to theCoordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM) to reflect the new geo-strategic situation after the end of the Cold War. Its goal is to establish a control system over conventional arms, and goods and technologies necessary “for the indigenous development, production, use or enhancement of military capabilities” (http://www.wassenaar.org/controllists/Criteria%20as%20updated%20at%20the%20December%202005%20PLM.doc). The export of these materials and arms and the legislation concerning it remains in the individual signatory state’s hands. Yet, the Wassenaar Arrangement defines a list of arms and materials that it considers critical in terms of their warfare potential and member states need to define national laws for these goods.
Furthermore best practices, guidelines and elements as well as sensitive information on dual-use goods and technologies are being shared.
Currently the following are part of the arrangement: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States.
2. The following treaties have a regional character:
Phased national reductions of treaty-limited equipment (TLE) over three years (1992-1995); meaning a reduction of tanks to 20000, artillery pieces to 20000, armored combat vehicles to 30,000, combat aircraft to 6,800 and attack helicopters to 2,000 each of the two groups.
Limits on specified military equipment in the Atlantic-to-the-Urals Zone (ATTU) and in the geographic sub-zones, in full effect by November 1995;
Detailed national data exchanges and notifications on force structure, and equipment holdings; and
On-site inspections. These four core elements are accompanied by a complex set of rules, procedures, rights, and obligations -- including the right to intrusive, short-notice on-site inspection, and detailed procedures covering destruction of TLE, to be completed by November 1995.
The major change introduced by the Adapted CFE, which was signed in 1999, is the replacement of the old limits for the former members of the NATO and the Warsaw Pact by new limits which are organized in territorial groups. Also national limits are specified concerning heavy conventional weapons. Since not all of the 30 CFE signatory states have signed the adapted version, it still has not entered into force.
The OSCE agreement Global Exchange of Military Information (GEMI) forms part of the Helsinki Agreement of 1992. “The participating States of the CSCE will exchange annually information on major weapon and equipment systems and personnel in their conventional armed forces, on their territory as well as worldwide […].” (Agreement text: General provisions). Through this openness and confidence-building between OSCE member states is be promoted.
The Treaty on Open Skies which was signed in 1992 as part of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe’s review conference only came into force in 2002. The treaty allows for observation flights over the territory of the States Parties. It also obligates signatory states to accept these over flights by other treaty members. Furthermore other member states can receive information gathered on these flights.
Currently Belgium, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, the Russian Federation, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States are signatory states.
The possibility of free movement of specific planes over the territory of other signatory states for matters of observation flights is believed to be a confidence building measure as member states are better informed about each other, making it more difficult to act covertly on issues that affect the security of other states.
The Agreement on Mutual Reduction of Military Forces in the Border Areas between China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan was signed in 1997. The main goals of the treaty are the reduction of military presence in the border areas as deep as 100 kilometers from each state’s borders. Furthermore none of the parties shall use or threaten to use force against the other party or parties, neither shall they seek unilateral military superiority. Follow up meetings by the state parties were held in 1998, 1999 and 2000, each time reassuring the parties’ commitment to the treaty.
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