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Report On the Harmonization of National Legislation with International and Regional SALW Instruments (Central African Republic, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania)
Report On the Harmonization of National Legislation with International and Regional SALW Instruments (Central African Republic, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania)

This report makes an assessment of the legislative framework harmonization processes in the Central African Republic (CAR), Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. It was commissioned by the Regional Centre on Small Arms and Light Weapons (RECSA).

It covers the period of September to December, 2015.The key objectives for developing the report were to:

Identify milestones reached by each country in the harmonization of SALW legislation;

Identify major challenges faced by Member States in the harmonization of SALW legislation;

Identify the Government Organs responsible for Harmonization of Legislation and procedures followed in each country of Study; and

Make strategic recommendations that will be followed to speed up the harmonization of legislation.

The report reviewed both the existing laws and draft Bills in the four countries. Tanzania’s Firearms and Ammunition Control Act, the CAR’s Penal Code and the draft Bills of both Uganda and Kenya were reviewed to assess the extent of their compliance and harmonization with regional and international instruments.

Lack of an independent and autonomous Agency, Organization or Commission to act as the NFP. The NFP and similar institutions are departments with the National Police or ministries responsible for interior and government coordination;

The offences do not provide for minimum and maximum sentences for the listed offences as required by the UNPoA. They instead provide for either the minimum or maximum and not both;

Lack of provisions relating to violation of UNSC embargoes in the Firearms Control Bill as required under the ATT and UNPOA;

Lack of provisions for regional and international cooperation including mutual legal assistance in the Firearms Control Bill;

Limitation of Civil Society and private security companies’ participation in membership of the Firearms Vetting and Licensing Board;

Lack or inadequate provisions on tracing and stockpile management in the Firearms Control Bill;

Lack of a decentralized framework and clear institutional framework to deal with SALW in the Firearms Control Bill; and

Lack of specific provision on reciprocal recognition of licenses and permits from other jurisdictions.

The gaps identified in the Bill are however,well provided for in the National Policy on SALW,2014.

The report noted that harmonization of national small arms and light weapons (SALW) laws with SALW regional and instruments in the RECSA region is progressing well, albeit with varying degree of success in each of the four review countries. Tanzania has successfully harmonized its SALW laws with related international and regional instruments. It has a Firearms and Ammunition Control Act, 2015 since May 2015 but had not yet started its implementation by the time of the study. On the other hand, the CAR does not have a specific law that deals with SALW but there are provisions in the Penal Code and Wildlife Code that deal with use of firearms. CAR has also not commenced the harmonization process and has not yet established the Harmonization Committee. Both Kenya and Uganda have specific laws that deal with SALW but their Firearms Acts were enacted before Independence and are thus not harmonized with the regional and international instruments they subscribe to. The two countries have draft Small Arms Management and Control Bill, 2014 and the Firearms Control Bill, 2014 respectively which,when enacted into law will make their laws largely compliant with SALW regional and international instruments.

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