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


David B. Kopel


Independence Institute; Denver University - Sturm College of Law

Paul Gallant


Independence Institute

Joanne D. Eisen


Independence Institute

February 10, 2010

Penn State Law Review, Vol. 114, No. 3, pp. 101-163, 2010

Abstract:     
Advocates of the proposed United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) promise that it will prevent the flow of arms to human rights violators. This Article 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 Article 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 Article argues that the ATT would do nothing to remediate the conditions which have allowed so many arms to be acquired by human rights violators. 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.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 61

Keywords: Arms Trade Treaty, Embargo, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Small Arms, Firearms, Human Rights

JEL Classification: F10, F14, H56, K33, K42


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Date posted: July 23, 2009 ; Last revised: February 12, 2010

Suggested Citation

Kopel, David B. and Gallant, Paul and Eisen, Joanne D., The Arms Trade Treaty: Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Prospects for Arms Embargoes on Human Rights Violators (February 10, 2010). Penn State Law Review, Vol. 114, No. 3, pp. 101-163, 2010. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1437204

Contact Information

David B. Kopel (Contact Author)
Independence Institute ( email )
727 East 16th Ave
Denver, CO 80203
United States
303-279-6536 (Phone)
303-279-4176 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.davekopel.org
Denver University - Sturm College of Law
2255 E. Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80208
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.davekopel.org

Paul Gallant
Independence Institute ( email )
14142 Denver West Parkway
Golden, CO 80401
United States
Joanne D. Eisen
Independence Institute ( email )
14142 Denver West Parkway
Golden, CO 80401
United States
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