Germany regularly publishes reports outlining its policies regarding arms exports. The last edition of this report is of May 2014. This report contains information regarding policies and official protocols governing Germany’s trafficking of military equipment. In particular, the German government’s “Adopted Principles” limit the dispersal of weapons to countries where human rights violations are suspected.
Goals: Germany aims to maintain a so-called “restrictive” policy of export regarding arms exports while safeguarding peace and human rights and encouraging sustainable development through the arms trade.
Relevant Clauses [i]
All applications for export licences are decided on a case-by-case basis following careful consideration in particular of the arguments in terms of foreign policy, security policy and human rights. Important criteria for each decision include conflict prevention and the upholding of human rights in the country of destination.
I. The German Control System for Military Equipment Exports
2. Application of the “Political Principles”
>The observance of human rights is of special importance for every export decision, regardless of the potential consignee country. Military equipment exports are […] not approved where there is “sufficient suspicion” of the involved military equipment’s misuse for internal repression or other ongoing and systematic violations of human rights. The human rights situation in the consignee country plays an important role in connection with this question. […]
Political Principles Adopted by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany for the Export of War Weapons and Other Military Equipment
I. General Principles
2. […] respect for human rights in the countries of destination and end-use is a key factor in deciding whether or not to grant licences for the export of war weapons and other military equipment.
3. […] export licences for war weapons and other military equipment shall not be granted where there are reasonable grounds to suspect that they will be used for internal repression as defined in the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports or the sustained and systematic abuse of human rights […]
II. NATO countries, EU member states, countries with NATO-equivalent status
4. The Federal Government will raise objections […] against such exports […]:
> exports to countries involved in armed conflict,
> exports to countries where an outbreak of armed conflict is imminent or where exports may stir up, perpetuate or exacerbate latent tensions and conflicts,
> exports where there are reasonable grounds to suspect they may be used for internal repression as defined by the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports or the sustained and systematic abuse of human rights,
III. Other countries
5. No licences will be granted for the export of war weapons and other military equipment related to war weapons to countries
> involved in armed conflict or where armed conflict is imminent,
>where the outbreak of armed conflict is imminent or where such exports would stir up, perpetuate or exacerbate latent tensions and conflicts. […]
EU Council Common Position (2008/944/CSFP) of 8 December 2008 defining common rules governing control of exports of military technology and equipment
4. Member States are determined to prevent the export of military technology and equipment which might be used for internal repression or international aggression or contribute to regional instability.
9. The European Council adopted in December 2003 a strategy against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction […]
Criterion 1: Respect for the international obligations and commitments of Member States […].
An export licence shall be denied if approval would be inconsistent with, inter alia:
a) the international obligations of Member States and their commitments to enforce United Nations, European Union and Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe arms embargoes;
b) the international obligations of Member States under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention;
c) the commitment of Member States not to export any form of anti-personnel landmine;
d) the commitments of Member States in the framework of the Australia Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Zangger Committee, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Wassenaar Arrangement and The Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation.
[…] Member States shall:
a) deny an export licence if there is a clear risk that the military technology or equipment to be exported might be used for internal repression;
b) exercise special caution […] taking account of the nature of the military technology or equipment, to countries where serious violations of human rights have been established […]
c) deny an export licence if there is a clear risk that the military technology or equipment […] might be used in the commission of serious violations of international humanitarian law.
(3) Criterion 3: […] deny an export licence for military technology or equipment which would provoke or prolong armed conflicts or aggravate existing tensions or conflicts […]
(4) Criterion 4: Preservation of regional peace, security and stability.
Member States shall deny an export licence if there is a clear risk that the intended recipient would use the military technology or equipment to be exported aggressively against another country or to assert by force a territorial claim
(6) Criterion 6: Behaviour of the buyer country with regard to the international community, as regards in particular its attitude to terrorism, the nature of its alliances and respect for international law.
Member States shall take into account […] the record of the
buyer country with regard to:
b) its compliance with its international commitments, in particular on the non-use of force, and with international humanitarian law;
c) its commitment to non-proliferation […] arms control and disarmament […]
[i] Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) Public Relations. (2014: Report by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany on Its Policy on Exports of Conventional Military Equipment in 2013.