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ICRC statement on implementation of the International Tracing Instrument

17-06-2010 Statement

Statement of the ICRC on implementation of the International Tracing Instrument at the Fourth Biannual Meeting of States to consider implementation of the UN Programme of Action on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons, June 17, 2010

Effective marking, record keeping and tracing significantly enhance responsible arms transfer practices and are an essential tool in protecting civilians from the unregulated availability of small arms and light weapons. We urge all States to implement scrupulously all the provisions of the International Tracing Instrument.

In particular, marking arms at the moment of import can better ensure successful tracing. Marking of government stockpiles is also key in order to trace weapons once they have left the stockpile. Accurate and comprehensive record keeping through computerized systems is the best way to ensure consistent record maintenance and swift retrieval. Although not specifically required by the International Tracing Instrument, the ICRC urges all States to actively trace weapons recovered during or after an armed conflict. States should maximize tracing cooperation. They should also ensure that they have adopted the laws, regulations and administrative procedures to ensure the effective implementation of this instrument and have strengthened national capacity for its implementation.

The ICRC further recommends that government experts directly involved in implementing the commitments of the International Tracing Instrument meet on a regular basis to share their experience and consider implementation of the instrument.