Tuesday, July 28, 2009

AT-4's? Gee... they are around here somewhere.

This qualifies as a pretty clear End-User Certificate violation:
The Swedish government said on Tuesday it had asked Venezuela for information on how Swedish-made weapons exported to the South American country had found their way to rebels in neighbouring Colombia.
For those of you not familiar with the Arms Trade, what that means is serious legal trouble for Hugo Chavez and crew. One does not resell military-grade armaments casually in the modern world and stay out of trouble for long.
(cf. Viktor Bout)

The legal and correct export of those AT-4 light antitank rockets was made by the manufacturer in Sweden based on the certification by Venezuela that *its own armed forces* were the user. Years later (the sale was back in the 1980's), the very weapons so certified have been found in FARC hands inside Colombia. The only legal way that Venezuela is not liable for them being there is if they were reported stolen and certified as lost, which would have meant a bit of legal trouble for losing them *back then*; no such loss is on record.

Unless there is a fall-guy around to take one for the team and be arrested by Venezuela as a thief and arms smuggler, this is going to add another nail to the "Chavez supports the FARC" coffin.


Will said...

Do you honestly think this will make anyone take their heads out of the sand? I think anyone who can be convinced already has been.

L.Douglas Garrett said...


No. I am sure that it will interfere in a major way with Venezuela's ablity to purchase new-made weapons *if the case is proven*.

Even the Russians have to live by End-User certification rules the way things are done these days. Venezuela being determined to be an uncertified reseller makes issuing certification to Venezuela for other purchases outside the convention.

It also might just get H. Chavez listed as a Designated Sponsor of Terrorism (or Venezuela listed as a State Sponsor thereof), either of which brings financial sanctions down on the listee.

That all remains to be seen, however.

Will said...

I was unaware that the international community had actually created a rule with teeth. Ever. [end snark]

Have other violators of these rules actually found themselves severely restricted?

What constitutes 'proven'? If we have to convince France, as a for instance, I would refer you back to my first question.

If there is actually an accepted court of some sort for these cases, where is it and what rules does it follow?

Actually, I suspect 'proven' has enough holes to let Chavez drive a (loaded, armored) truck though it.

Unilateral sanctions are a different matter of course, but we've seen how sanctions (Cuba) can fail (N. Korea) to change (Sadam's Iraq) behavior.

L.Douglas Garrett said...


Two different matters there, compadre.

EUC's -- these are a convention used by *most* major arms trading companies and countries, self-enforced to attempt to prevent the massive flows of arms that fed 3rd World conflicts from the 1960's~1990's. The motivations for that are to prevent there being an International Treaty that would regulate and restrict the Arms Trade... bad for business, that... and to prevent legal culpability being pressed upon the Arms manufacturer by claimants (this has mostly been an issue in Europe). But it has led to some strange things happening... like Iran labeling its domesticly manufactured small arms in English because they want a legit export market and there are very few languages permitted (by convention) in internationally-traded Arms markings.

All that said, the issue of EUC's is a self-policed mechanism... which means that there are certainly sources that don't play along... or cheat at times... but for major purchases by National Governments that require transport/insurance/financing, EUC's are pretty much required to make the buy.

So to attempt to answer your questions re: that ~
...severely restricted? ~ yes. mostly financially, occasionally legal liablity for aiding criminal acts.
... 'proven'? ~ lot numbers, serial numbers, taggants, and traceable components.
... an accepted court ...? ~ none. it is only by convention. However, see below.

The second part, the sanctioning, is based on one of several possibilities. The ones I was specifically mentioning are both U.S. DeptState DeptTreasury implementations of ExOrds mandating financial seizure and ban from the U.S. financial system for Terrorist financing, support, or enablement, by individuals or States. Listing an individual has some effect, but not much unless they are caught with money in the pipeline somewhere. Listing a State can play hell with their access to the international financial markets... but both hit kleptocrats in the pocketbook pretty hard. Much more effective than sanctions against ideologue actors.

Other possible sanctions that can result from strong enough claims against a Supporter of Terrorism are U.N. sanctions (generally these are *bah*, but an embargo on combatant factions and their supporters can bite... see the mis-applied Bosnia Arms Embargo in the 1990's for example), and ICC or in the past special courts claims... these can be effective (Charles Taylor tribunal) or apparently toothless (Omar al-Bashir indictment, at least to date). Those, if prosecuted, are trials for Crimes Against Humanity... and that usually leads to real punishment. But as the al-Bashir indictment shows, getting the accused to trial is the hard part.

How's that for a try at answering?

Will said...

Good answers. Thanks!

Maybe we can start a pool on how long he'll last. I pick the '8 more years' square :(