Due diligence and corporate accountability in the arms value chain

March 27, 2024

Given the nature of the products commercialised by arms value chains, and their potentially devastating impacts on human dignity, states have a strict obligation to control operators in this economic sector. But is compliance with export controls sufficient for companies to assess risks to human rights? This report analyses the possibility and necessity of establishing corporate responsibility and

Belgian arms exports to Israel: The discrepancy between words and deeds in export control policy

March 5, 2024

In this report, Vredesactie and IPIS take a critical look at Belgium’s policy on the export and transit of defense-related goods and dual-use goods to Israel.    The new Gaza war puts this arms trade policy back in the spotlight. The regional governments, responsible for arms trade, regularly claim to assume the highest standards. And according to current policies, Belgium does indeed have a strin

Small arms and light weapons transfer controls: Import, transit and trans-shipment

January 8, 2024

The objective of strengthening controls on the transfer of small arms and light weapons (SALW) is to ensure a more responsible trade, counter the illicit trade and prevent armed violence and conflict. To be effective SALW control is not limited to export control. Consignments of SALW as well as their ammunition, parts, and components, need to be controlled at all transfer points, including at the


Due diligence responsibilities of businesses involved in small arms and light weapons

September 18, 2023

IPIS and the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) have developed a Fact sheet on “Due Diligence Responsibilities of Businesses Involved in Small Arms and Light Weapons.” For over a decade, the international community has been developing guidelines for responsible business conduct for States and companies to prevent, address and remedy human rights abuses committed in business operati

Assessing transparency mechanisms to improve arms trade scrutiny

March 10, 2023

In close collaboration with Vredesactie, IPIS is working on the issue of transparency in the arms trade. The objective is to enable increased scrutiny by civil society, researchers and the general public, but also to allow for effective legal challenge of arms export decisions. Arms export licensing procedures are often shrouded in secrecy and the exchange of information is limited to the exportin

The management of lethal materiel in conflict settings

February 24, 2023

IPIS is working in close collaboration with the Safeguarding Security Sector Stockpiles (S⁴) Initiative and its director Eric Berman. In 2021, IPIS supported the publication of a first report entitled “The management of lethal materiel in conflict settings: existing challenges and opportunities for the European Peace Facility”. This study builds on the S⁴ dataset that includes more than 500 report

A human rights perspective on arms export licencing and access to information

February 6, 2023

Arms export licensing has long been dominated by two rationales: an interstate perspective and intrastate perspective. In the former arms licensing enables trust-building between nations while the latter increases government accountability. A human rights perspective is overdue in arms export licensing. Victims and their defenders should be able to pursue effective remedy when harm is in

Post-shipment control of small arms and light weapons

October 24, 2022

The illicit trade of small arms and light weapons (SALW) and their ammunition, parts and components remains a serious international problem in many States. To prevent the illicit trade in conventional weapons and to prevent their diversion to the illicit market, all States have made commitments since 2001 to establish stronger systems that will ensure responsible control of arms transfers. A coher

Famine as weapon of war – A timeline of the Tigray conflict

October 19, 2022

In May 2021 CNN reported that Eritrean troops in coordination with the Ethiopian military were blocking aid deliveries to parts of Tigray not under Ethiopian government control. In an exclusive interview with Reuters a senior UN official alleged that starvation was being used as a weapon of war. U.N. humanitarian coordinator Mark Lowcock told Reuters that Eritrean forces were “trying to deal with

Viktor Bout documents released under Mandatory Declassification Review by the Clinton Library

September 26, 2022

In 2015 IPIS vzw asked for a Mandatory Declassification Review (MDR) of selected documents in relation to Viktor Bout, produced by the Clinton administration between 1999 and 2001, and held in the Clinton Library. MDR “is a means by which any individual or entity can request any Federal agency to review classified information for declassification, regardless of its age or origin, subject to certai

Children shooting children

June 1, 2022

This paper aims to explain how small arms and light weapons (SALW) proliferation leads to extreme violence by children using guns against other children, a shocking indictment on the failure of governments to ensure strict control of such weapons. The paper will draw on examples from different countries where such incidents have occurred. It will focus on cases relating to school shootings, child

Small arms and light weapons proliferation and violence: Estimating its scale and forms

June 1, 2022

aSmall arms and light weapons are widely available and easy to use, so they are the most prominent tools in contemporary armed conflicts as well as in armed criminal and interpersonal violence in non-conflict settings. To grasp the global scale of SALW proliferation and the patterns of violence committed with SALW, this briefing paper summarizes the available data which is considered reliable from

Timeline of the conflict in Tigray

April 28, 2022

In February of 2022, Peter Danssaert created a detailed timeline of the conflict in Tigray dating from 1991 to 2022. The timeline was used by participants of a webinar on the Tigray conflict organised by Union Chapel. The webinar took place on April 28th, 2022 but can still be viewed online. October 20, 2022 there will be a new event by Union Chapel on the current situation in Tigray. You can regi

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and arms transfers in the framework of international law

April 11, 2022

The international crisis and threat to world peace presented by the massive Russian invasion of Ukraine in early 2022 has thrown up difficult questions, not least of which is how the international community can assist the Ukrainian armed forces defend the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. In doing so, it is tempting to think of the situation only in military terms, leaving aside wha

Africa armed violence and the illicit arms trade

December 1, 2021

Brian Wood and Peter Danssaert recently contributed a chapter on Africa’s illicit arms trade to ‘Gun Trafficking and Violence. From the Global Network to the Local Security Challenge’ edited by David Pérez Esparza, Carlos A. Pérez Ricart, and Eugenio Weigend Vargas (2021). Abstract: In this chapter the authors consider major structural factors contributing to the illicit trade of small a

The management of lethal materiel in conflict settings: existing challenges and opportunities for the European Peace Facility

September 8, 2021

This paper, which is a collaboration between Eric G. Berman (Director of the Safeguarding Security Sector Stockpiles (S⁴) Initiative) and IPIS, shows that levels of loss of uniformed personnel serving in peace operations in the Lake Chad Basin region under the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), as well as the seizure of lethal materiel from state stockpiles, are astonishingly high. Reporting

Contributions to ‘The Arms Trade Treaty. Weapons and International Law (2021)’

June 1, 2021

IPIS is happy to present Peter Danssaert and Brian Wood’s contributions to ‘The Arms Trade Treaty. Weapons and International Law’ edited by Clare Da Silva and Brian Wood (2021). Peter Danssaert co-authored ‘Article 8: Import’ and ‘Article 9: Transit or Trans-Shipment’. Brian Wood co-edited the book and wrote ‘Article 10: Brokering’, and co-authored ‘Article 7: Export and Export Assessment’. Read t

Africa and the regulation of transnational arms brokering: challenges to implement international standards

December 1, 2020

Brian Wood and Peter Danssaert contributed a chapter on transnational arms brokering for the Ethiopian Yearbook of International Law 2019, edited by Zeray Yihdego, Melaku Geboye Desta, Martha Belete Hailu (2020). Abstract: African countries face an ongoing threat from the consequences of unregulated arms brokering but this cannot be solved by remedial action in Africa alone. Cases show t

Module 01

E-learning: The Arms Trade Treaty

August 27, 2020

In June 2017, IPIS launched its e-learning digital education package to support the early ratification and effective implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty.The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) was adopted by the UNGA on 2 April 2013 and entered into force on 24 December 2014. There are currently 92  States Parties and 130 Signatories. Implementation of the Treaty is the responsibility of States Parties, w

Annual Report 2019

August 26, 2020

This 2019 annual report provides an overview of IPIS’ research projects, capacity enhancement and outreach activities throughout last year. Read the full activity report to see what IPIS has been up to in 2019.