Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Kgosi may have exposed Botswana to Arms Trade Treaty violations

Botswana is believed to have violated the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) through the alleged illegal diversion to Isaac Kgosi of some military equipment covered by an end use certificate.

End-use certificates form a line of defence against the diversion of authorized small arms transfers. These documents help to ensure that legally transferred small arms and light weapons: reach their authorized end-user, are used in a manner consistent with their authorized end-useand are not diverted to the illicit market.

A source close to the investigations has revealed that the military bag, tactical backpack mostly used by special forces and the ammunition confiscated from the former Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) where imported by Botswana with an end user certificate specifying that the equipment would be used by the country’s security services.

It is understood that Botswana may be guilty of violating the ATT because the “diversion point”: the moment when a weapon ends its “legal” life and begins its “illegal” one was in Botswana.

Botswana is signatory to the ATT which has various regulations targetingevery stage of weapons’ lives to prevent their unauthorised possession and misuse.

In June 2019 Botswana ratified the United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), becoming the 104th state to join the ATT.  The ATT entered into force for Botswana in September 2019, 90 days after their ratification. By ratifying the ATT Botswana bound itself to take domestic measures to monitor the transfer of arms.

Besides the principles included in the ATT, practical control measures for transfers of weapons are included in several regional and international agreements developed in the past 13 years. These measures focus on those responsible for the transfer (through a set of licensing criteria), transfer authorisations (including end-user certificates) and post-delivery restrictions (such as, for example, restrictions on re-export, delivery verification certificates and physical checks).


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