How States Facilitate Small Arms Trafficking in Africa: A Theoretical and Juristic Interpretation

African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies, Vol. 5, Nos.1 & 2, Jan. 2012, pp. 1-18.

18 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2014

See all articles by Dawn L. Rothe

Dawn L. Rothe

Old Dominion University

Jeffrey Ian Ross

University of Baltimore - School of Law

Date Written: January 2012

Abstract

Small arms’ trafficking is complex and involves a host of actors. As numerous court documents, transcripts, United Nations and NGO reports have revealed, many state institutions play a prominent role in the facilitation of, complicity in, and implicit involvement in black and grey arms trafficking. We suggest that if we are to consider the vast number of actors involved in the trafficking of small arms, the issue of controls is highly problematic, given the extent of limited applicable international legal doctrines, such as joint criminal enterprise, criminal organization, or collective criminality. Furthermore, there are broader political issues that hinder efforts of control as highlighted by the state crime literature, including issues of enforcement, political will and states’ positions to hinder the advancement of levels of accountability for their own behaviors. Consequentially, our focus here is not to empirically test the etiological factors of states complicit or implicit involvement in arms trafficking, but instead to move the discussion forward to broader theoretical and juristic issues associated with efforts to control arms trafficking. If the goal is to reduce illegal arms trafficking (and subsequent numbers of civilian deaths) policies and controls must be based, not only on the immediate or apparent actors, the role of states in the facilitation of this type of crime.

Keywords: small arms trafficking, state institutions, issue of controls, international legal doctrines, joint criminal enterprise, criminal organization, collective criminality, political issues, state crimes, political will, accountability, illegal arms trafficking, civilian deaths, role of states

JEL Classification: O55, N47, K33, K39, K42, K49

Suggested Citation

Rothe, Dawn L. and Ross, Jeffrey Ian, How States Facilitate Small Arms Trafficking in Africa: A Theoretical and Juristic Interpretation (January 2012). African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies, Vol. 5, Nos.1 & 2, Jan. 2012, pp. 1-18.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2427762 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2427762

Dawn L. Rothe

Old Dominion University ( email )

Norfolk, VA 23529-0222
United States

Jeffrey Ian Ross (Contact Author)

University of Baltimore - School of Law ( email )

1420 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
United States

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