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Arms Transfers to the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Assessing the System of Arms Transfer Notifications, 2008–10

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Publisher: SIPRI
October, 2010
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been subject to a United Nations arms embargo since 2003. In 2008 the UN Security Council lifted the last remaining restrictions on arms acquisitions by the Congolese Government, but maintained a requirement that states supplying arms notify the Sanctions Committee on the DRC prior to delivery. Ensuring that the Congolese system works as intended is of importance for improving the situation in the DRC but also has implications for the use of such systems in other conflict zones.

Supplier states’ record of conformity with the reporting requirements has been mixed. While some suppliers have notified the Sanctions Committee of transfers, others have been less forthcoming. Even in situations where notifications have been provided, information is often incomplete or provided late.

To improve levels of notification, the Sanctions Committee needs to clarify its rules on which state must report arms transfers that involve a number of intermediaries. The UN’s Group of Experts on the DRC could also draw on practices used in monitoring other arms embargoes. Presenting information on incomplete or absent notifications more systematically could serve to highlight the challenges in implementing the notification system.



Dr Mark Bromley is a Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Dual-Use and Arms Trade Control Programme.
Paul Holtom Paul Holtom is the Head of the Conventional Arms and Ammunition Programme at UNIDIR. He was previously the Director of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme.