Issue Brief posted May 20, 2013
U.N. Arms Trade Treaty: U.S. Decision to Sign Treaty Shows Review Process Was Rushed
On May 15, Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Countryman stated that the U.S. would sign the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) “in the very near future.” The treaty opens for signature at the United Nations on June 3.
The fact that this decision was announced only six weeks after the treaty was negotiated shows that the U.S. rushed its internal review process. Before it…
Issue Brief posted May 10, 2013
In Meeting with Cameron, Obama Should Advance the U.S.–U.K. Special Relationship
President Barack Obama will host British Prime Minister David Cameron at the White House on May 13. Publicly, it has been announced that the visit will be dominated by events in Syria, economic cooperation, countering terrorism, and priorities for the next meeting of the G-8.
Privately, David Cameron is likely to raise a number of sensitive issues, such as the U.S.…
Issue Brief posted May 7, 2013
European Court Errs in Decision on Terrorist Suspect Extradition
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has given an interim ruling that Britain cannot extradite Haroon Aswat to the United States. Aswat has been indicted in the U.S. on conspiracy charges related to the establishment of a terrorist training camp for radical Islamists in Bly, Oregon, in 1999.
By this decision, the ECHR, unless its decision is overturned, will have…
Issue Brief posted April 4, 2013
Arms Trade Treaty: Problems with Substance and Process
On April 2, the U.N. General Assembly (GA) adopted the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) on a vote of 154 nations in favor (including the United States), 23 abstentions, and 3 against (Iran, North Korea, and Syria). The treaty will open for national signature on June 3 and will enter into force for its signatories when it has been signed and ratified by 50 nations.
The concept of…
Issue Brief posted March 27, 2013
U.N. Arms Trade Treaty and the Customary International Law Standard
One of the most important disputes in the negotiation of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) at the United Nations is the question of whether the treaty should include a customary international law (CIL) criterion. This is a complex question. It is also one fraught with considerable risks for the United States, which should firmly oppose the introduction of such a criterion into…
Backgrounder posted March 13, 2013
The U.S. Cannot Fix the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty
The initial U.N. negotiating conference for the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) on July 2–27, 2012, failed to produce an agreed treaty. On January 4, 2013, the U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution agreeing to hold another, supposedly “final,” negotiating conference on March 18–28, 2013, on the basis of the treaty text as it stood at the end of the July conference.