The Arms Trade Treaty: Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Prospects for Arms Embargoes on Human Rights Violators.

That’s the paper I presented at the recent annual conference of the Research Committee on Sociology of Law, in Onati, Spain. It is now available on SSRN. Along with co-authors Paul Gallant & Joanne D. Eisen, I will be revising for law review submission soon. In the meantime, comments are welcome.

For those of you who prefer to read in French or Castellano (as they say in Spain), there is an 8-page summary in French, and the abstract is reprinted in Spanish; both appear at the end of the document. In English, the Abstract says:

“Advocates of the proposed United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) promise that it will prevent the flow of arms to human rights violators. This paper first examines the ATT, and observes that the ATT, if implemented as promised, would require dozens of additional arms embargoes, including embargoes on much of Africa. The paper then provides case studies of the current supply of arms to the dictatorship in Zimbabwe and to the warlords in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The paper argues that the ATT would do nothing to remediate the conditions which have allowed so many arms to be acquired by human rights violators in Zimbabwe and the DRC. The ATT would have no more effective force than the embargoes that are already imposed by the UN Security Council; therefore states, including China, which violate current Security Council embargoes could just as well violate ATT embargoes. Accordingly, the ATT is a distraction, and human rights activists should instead examine alternative methods of addressing the problem of arms in the hands of human rights violators.”