LiNCSA Showcases Gains at Geneva Confab – Grigsby Says Liberia Complies with Int’l Arms Control Protocols
MONROVIA – Liberia fought a brutal civil war that lasted 14 years, leaving hundreds of thousand lives destroyed, as well as an unquantifiable number of properties and infrastructures razed. The Accra Comprehensive Peace Accord of August 18, 2003, among other things, ended the war, and mandated the establishment of several governance structures that will sustain the attendant peace and stability of a war-ravaged nation. Eighteen years down the dusty road to peace, the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms (LiNCSA) has outlined the gains made since its establishment in 2012, and provided insight into current legislation that has transformed it into the Liberian National Commission on Arms (2022), thus expanding the scope of operations of the amended Small Arms Commission.
Making the case recently in Geneva, Switzerland, at the Eighth Conference of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty (CSP8), the Chairperson of LiNCSA, Attorney Teklo Maxwell Grigsby, informed the gathering that the Government of Liberia through the National Legislature has also enacted “An Act to Amend the Act Establish the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms of 2012 and thus Established the Liberia National Commission on Arms of 2022”, which is major achievement in curtailing the proliferation of small arms, especially in postwar countries like Liberia.
“I am pleased to inform you all that in addition to signing and ratifying the ATT, the Liberian Legislature has unanimously enacted “An Act to amend the Firearms and Ammunition Act of 2015” to domesticate the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).
“Mr. President, as you may be aware, Liberia, like many other countries in this Conference, is not a known producer of Small arms and Light Weapons (SALW) but a victim of its proliferation. The decade and half long civil war in Liberia fueled by illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons in the hands of Non-State Actors is a testament to this fact. Liberia therefore attaches great importance to the central role of the Arms Trade Treaty as the global instrument regulating the trade and transfer of conventional arms.
“As a state party, Liberia aligned to the statement of Niger on behalf of the African Group and in its National capacity committed to firmly implementing the ATT and has taken a number of bold steps aimed at fully implementing the ATT. The government of Liberia in 2012 formally established the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms (LiNCSA) as the National Competent Authority to regulate all aspects of SALW. Liberia signed and ratified the Arms Trade Treaty in 2012 and 2015 respectively. Over the years, Liberia has participated in several Preparatory Meetings and Conferences of State Parties to the ATT and appreciates its sponsorship at the CSP 8.
“Liberia has benefited from the 2018/2019 Grant Cycle of Arms Trade Treaty Voluntary Trust Fund (ATT/VTF) to promote the drafting of legislations to support the domestication of the ATT in Liberia. The National Broker’s Registry was reviewed and consultation with concerned ports and security personnel were held.
“Furthermore, in 2020, Liberia was awarded a grant to implement the Project “Filling National Arms Recordkeeping Gaps” in collaboration with the Center for Armed Violence Reduction (CAVR), an Australian based organization with specialization in database and recordkeeping management. The project aims to ensure ATT compliance arms control system through upgrading Liberia’s State and Civilian arms record-keeping, licensing, tracing and international reporting with Arms Tracker. The Project involves scoping, customization, installation, training and ongoing system upgrades and support.
“Mr. President, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to inform you all that in addition to signing and ratifying the ATT, the Liberian Legislature has unanimously enacted “An Act to amend the Firearms and Ammunition Act of 2015” to domesticate the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).
“The Government of Liberia through the National Legislature has also enacted “An Act to Amend the Act Establish the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms of 2012 and thus established the Liberia National Commission on Arms of 2022”.
“The Establishment of the Liberia National Commission on Arms as the National Competent Authority to regulate trade and transfer control of Conventional Arms by the National Legislature is in compliance with Article 5.5 of the ATT. This decision is a milestone in West Africa as Liberia is the first amongst the 15 Member States of the Economic Community of West African States to domesticate the ATT and stands ready to collaborate with and assist other Member States of the African Union to domesticate the ATT,” Atty. Grigsby stated.
The LiNCSA boss further said that Liberia has fully complied with Article 13 of the ATT by submitting Initial Report in 2017 and subsequent reports as required by the Treaty. Liberia, as a State Party and Nation ravage by over 15 years of civil conflicts states is readiness to fully comply with all provisions of the Treaty including Article 16 for adequate support to the Secretariat of the ATT, and that the Government of Liberia celebrated on August 18, 2022, 19 uninterrupted years of Peace since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Accra, Ghana in 2003.
“Liberia welcomes the discussion on post shipment controls and states that beyond the requirements of the ATT, ECOWAS Convention on SALW and other Internal Instruments, it has in its national arms control legislations, administrative sanctions on all vessels, flights and other means of transport for illegal Import and Export of Conventional Arms thereby facilitating diversion.
The Government of Liberia, Atty. Grigsby stated, extends special appreciation to the Federal Republic of Germany for the continue support to Physical Security and Stockpile Management (PSSM) Regional Trainings in West Africa and the European Union for support to the United Nations Office on Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), the African Union and Regional Centre on Small Arms (RESCA) for support to Silencing the Guns Initiative.