The National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons (NCSALW) has expressed concern about the delay in the passage of the Legislative Instrument (LI) which will approve a list of weapons and ammunition that will be allowed to enter or leave the country.
The LI for the Control List is expected to cover a comprehensive and elaborate list of weapons and ammunition that are allowed in and out of the country.
It is in line with the enforcement of the provisions of the Arms Trade Treaty, an international instrument that regulates the trade in conventional arms and ensures peace, safety and global security.
According to the Programme Manager at the National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons, Leonard Tettey, the LI for the Control List, which was drafted by the Commission in 2017, was still on the shelves and yet to be sent to Cabinet for approval.
Speaking at a meeting of the National International Humanitarian Law Committee of Ghana in Accra yesterday, Mr Tettey explained that Customs Officers needed a document to ensure that every weapon that entered the country was subject to authorisation.
“The implication of the absence of a Control List is that there are no restrictions on the weapons coming in and out of the country. Anybody can bring anything and it is based on the discretion of our Customs authorities to either allow it into the country or not,” he said.
Arms Trade Treaty
Instituted by the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC), the National International Humanitarian Law Committee, which is made up of representatives of security services, seeks to ensure that the International Humanitarian Laws are effectively applied by countries.
The Arms Trade Treaty is a multilateral treaty that regulates international trade in conventional weapons.
It was adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on April 2, 2013, and came into force on December 24, 2014.
Ghana is one of 94 states that has ratified the treaty. Forty-one other states are yet to ratify it.
Mr Tettey expressed further worry that the country, although a signatory to a number of treaties on humanitarian laws in relation to weapons, had not domesticated the treaties to be implemented by the state.
“Currently, if a non-state actor is seen manufacturing or using chemical weapons, there are no laws in the country to deal with that situation,” he said.
He said the country needed to domesticate some of the treaties to protect itself.
Mr Tettey recommended that Ghana adopted a comprehensive national legislation to incorporate all these laws.
Objective of the committee
The Head of the ICRC Office in Ghana and Liberia, Mr Charles Gardmodeh Kpan, said although having a national committee was not a formal requirement for countries, it was an important step to ensure that international laws on humanity were effectively applied.
During the implementation of international humanitarian laws, he said, countries were required to adopt other regulations, hence a national committee made up of security experts were needed to facilitate the process by advising and assisting the government.
As part of its role, he said, the committee was expected to advise the government on promoting ratifications, evaluating existing laws and providing guidance on the interpretation of humanitarian laws.
The committee is also expected to prepare drafts and adopt international humanitarian laws into national legislation and regulations.
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