The Liberia National Commission on Small Arms (LiNCSA) has begun drafting a new legislation to implement the global arms trade treaty (ATT) in the country. The ATT, which came into force on December 24, 2014, is a landmark treaty that regulates the international trade in conventional arms, from small arms to battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships.
The ATT when effectively implemented, according to LiNCSA Commissioner E. Benoni Knuckles, will increase transparency and promote greater accountability for global arms transfer in Liberia. Mr. Knuckles said the need for the legislation became evident when an assessment report exposed the gap between the Firearms Act and ATT requirements.
Mr. Knuckles said LiNCSA has received a grant of US$91,501 for one year to draft the legislation.
The enforcement of the new legislation will expand LiNCSA’s mandate to cover cross border transfers of all conventional arms and to establish it as Liberia’s licensing authority with the total responsibility for administering the national conventional arms transfer system.
“This law we are now drafting will establish the ATT national secretariat and the cross-governmental licensing committee to assess all applications for arms transfer and make a recommendation for anyone to either bear arms or not. The draft legislation will regulate and write procedures to manage all aspects of the arms licensing system in the country,” Knuckles said. The project seeks to ensure that all obligations of the ATT are reflected in Liberia’s domestic law on arms control to capture issues dealing with conventional arms, brokerage, and trade, he said.
The new legislation will make an amendment to the current LiNCSA Law, which develops a new regulation on the international transfer of all conventional arms and the establishment of Liberia’s arms brokers, said Knuckles. The old act deals exclusively with small arms and light weapons, but the coming into effect of the new act will expand the institution’s mandate to cover conventional arms as well as areas the institution does not cover.