1. Title – Fostering ATT (Arms
Trade Treaty) through Taxation of War Munitions
2. Abstract – Defence industry / production was historically ungoverned (by
any central body) throughout the equipment production / induction / employment lifecycle,
prior to adoption of ATT by UNGA in Apr 2013. The ATT introduces specific and
legally binding measures to regulate international trade in conventional arms.
Although most of the countries are signatory of this treaty yet it is seen that
some major arms exporters / importers have still not ratified due to one or
(National Sovereignty, Defence Needs, Threat from neighbour, the treaty is
it is common that government regulatory authorities collect insurance / road
tax for each car coming on road (as they endanger drivers, pedestrian, other
cars). Financial penalties are issued to individuals for all violations on
road, like wrong parking or over-speeding. It never happens that someone
doesn’t pay insurance / road tax / penalties because he/she doesn’t ratify the
government laws. The laws are there and they are meant to be followed. On the
other hand, we see that there exists no requirement of insurance / taxation /
penalties when it comes to weapons (with destructive / damaging capability). If
we see from purely humanitarian point of view, each weapon inducted / produced
is directly proportional to the risk / threat to human life / material. There
is no international governing body which could tax NBC weapons, conventional
munitions, fighter aircrafts, combat helicopters, tanks and artillery. This is
the prime reason that UN charters and treaties are taken lightly by member
countries as there are no financial bindings / compulsions involved. The
quantity of war munitions and its stockpiling is still on the rise.
3. Research Context
weapons of mass destruction and land mines, trade in conventional weapons were
historically not subject to any legally binding global instrument. The relevant
inter-national regulations were made up of a patchwork of UN embargos,
transparency agreements, such as the UN Register of Conventional Arms, as well
as voluntary codes of conduct and regional agreements. The ATT process,
launched formally in 2006, was intended to close this gap. The
Arms Trade Treaty obligates member states to monitor arms exports and ensure
that weapons don’t cross existing arms embargoes or end up being used for
human-rights abuses, including terrorism. Member states, with the assistance of
the U.N., will put into place enforceable, standardized arms import and export
regulations (much like those that already exist in the U.S.) and be expected to
track the destination of exports to ensure they do not end up in the wrong
hands. Ideally, that means limiting the inflow of deadly weapons into places
like Syria. After the ATT came into force, its
implementation seems difficult because of lack of common enforcement mechanism,
based on a standardised system of authorisation, and no clarity on any end-use
of monitoring measures.
Moreover, human rights
activists have reported more than 80 allegedly attacks in Yemen by Saudi
Arabia. Some attacks have used UK-made cluster bombs allegedly targeting areas
crowded with civilians including schools, hospitals, weddings and markets2. Saudi Arabia is the only
country in the world other than the UK that has access to the deadly “Paveway
IV” bomb manufactured by Raytheon UK3. While the UK had stopped
manufacturing cluster bombs in 1989 and signed up a convention in 2008 not to
use them, however, Saudi Arabia is not a signatory of this convention4. Although it is claimed
that UK has the “toughest form of export licences in the world” and the UK sold
arms in a way that was “robust and correct”5 yet there exist a need
that export licences pertinent to weapons be centrally issued not by individual
countries / producers but by an authorized UN body after deliberate checks /
4. Research Questions
Does ATT adequately covers all
aspects of arms control and safeguard international peace?
Does ATT adequately serve as a legally
binding instrument on the highest possible common international standards for
the transfer of conventional arms?
Is the scope of of ATT enough
and it covers all types of munitions of war / threats and aspects of modern
If there are any weaknesses in
ATT and how they can be addressed?
What are the concerns of member
countries for non-ratification of ATT and how it can be addressed?
Is it true that there exist no
governing body that could tax NBC wpns, conventional munitions, fighter
aircrafts, combat helicopters, tanks and artillery available in different
What are the benefits accrued
from such taxation?
Does such measure will
regularise future wars / conflicts?
Will it be possible to tax
How can this be possible?
Where can the collected tax
money be used?
Are all manufactured firearms /
Is it possible to trace their
sale / resale?
Is there an open database which
can be accessed by UN inspectors?
Is there after sale inspection
Is it possible to trace their
use and the consumption of these firearms / munitions be recorded and legitimized?
Is it possible to calculate
their after use extent of damage (collateral / legitimate target)?
Are legitimate targets defined
and well authorised?
Is the after conflict / war
damage assessment adequate?
What are the measures in place
to compensate the damages? By whom and to what limit?
Is there any security deposit
required prior to initiate war / conflict / airstrikes?
What if the war initiator ends
up with loss and gets bankrupted? who will pay the damages?
Is there any fund in UN which
caters for such situation?
Are all deals/ contracts of
firearms / munitions b/w two countries adequately regularized?
Are there defined UN inspectors
Acceptance Test Procedures (ATPs) / registration / requirement of end user
certificate for all international munitions contracts?
Is firearms trafficking internationally
treated like drug trafficking?
(1) Is it possible that if an illegal organization or group is found
using a certain factory equipment / weapon / ammunition – the factory be sealed
or some warning be issued or a disciplinary action is taken?
(2) Does there exist any mechanism to centrally monitor (under UN)
accounts of defence equipment suppliers?
(3) How is it ensured that there is no black money / money
laundering / back channel?
(4) How black market works and what amount of profits are made?
(5) Is there any requirement to harness this and how it can be done?
5. Research Methods
Study of Arms Control history
from open source and books.
Contact with people /
researchers who have already done study on Arms Control.
Study of research papers
published in Arms Control.
Study of in place arms control
Study of International
humanitarian Law, Arms control conventions (Geneva / Hague) and treaties (ATT,
UNTOC, ITI, PoA)?
Study / Visit of concerned UN
Organizations, Human Rights Watch – analyse its mandate / role / output?
Analysis of recent conflicts
(Syria / Yemen / Ukraine / Afghanistan / Iraq) and pitching my research
questions against each?
Analysis of accessible weapon
deals / defence equipment contracts and pitching my research questions?
Questionnaires / interviews
with relevant SME ( Subject Matter Experts)
Scenario based testing of
findings of my research.
6. Significance of Research
research is based on a principal fact that the world has produced enough
weapons to destroy itself four times. In any case the world must device an
intelligent mechanism that all possibility of a third world war is barred. Recent
conflicts is testament that illegal / rogue organizations are a growing threat
to world peace and their access to munitions of war is creating more and more
trouble spots. My research will formulate a working mechanism how illegal
trafficking / use of firearms is restricted, sale of weaponry is regularized and
use of munitions is legitimized / traced. How we can stop abuse of warfare by
lawful and justified international taxation policy. How can we use these taxes
to promote global peace, security and stability?
The research work will review the existing Arms
Treaties, existing charter of concerned UN org ( like UNODA) analyse the
shortfalls and recommend a working model for UN for better arms control.
“Ratifying the UN Firearms Protocol.” Library Briefing
Library of the European Parliament. 25/06/2013: p. 1-2.
Latek, Marta, ”
The Arms Trade Treaty Finally an
outcome and what next?” Library Briefing Library of the European
Parliament. 29/05/2013: p. 1-6.
UNODC, ” Comparative Analysis of Global Instruments
on Firearms and other Conventional Arms: Synergies for Implementation” United
Nations, Vienna 2016.
Staff. “Universalization of ATT”. Control Arms
Alliance and Reaching Critical Will. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
Over thirty states have objected to various parts of the ATT during
negotiations, the majority of which held strong concerns about the implications
for national sovereignty