Germany Adhering to Arms Trade Treaty

Jefferson Morley

Germany announced in January that it had decided to apply the terms of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) provisionally in advance of formal ratification.

In a Jan. 22 statement, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said, “We hope to persuade other states to follow suit, thus making the world a little bit safer.”

Germany signed the treaty last June 3, when the pact was opened for signature. (See ACT, July/August 2013.)

The statement specified that Germany would apply the ATT’s core provisions, Articles 6 and 7, which establish the criteria for evaluating arms export applications. Germany hopes to ratify the treaty later this year, the statement said.

The ATT would regulate international trade in conventional weapons, from guns to tanks. It calls for the enforcement of arms embargoes and forbids the sale of weapons that could be used in genocide, in crimes against humanity, or by violent extremists or organized crime gangs. It also calls for the establishment of national control systems to regulate the trade in conventional arms, ammunition, and weapons parts.

Germany has been a leading advocate of the ATT since the start of the negotiating process in 2006. It was the world’s third-largest arms exporter in 2012, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

In April 2013, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted the ATT. The treaty will enter into force when 50 countries have ratified it. To date, it has been signed by 116 counties and ratified by nine.