A critical aspect to achieving an Arms Trade Treaty that effectively applies existing international human rights and humanitarian legal standards to all international arms transfers is the meaningful participation of all state parties to the ATT, regardless of capacity or resources.
In support of a strong and robust Arms Trade Treaty, ATT Legal provides free legal assistance to UN delegations, government officials and civil society organizations in order to facilitate the ratification and effective implementation of the ATT.
ATT Legal was first established in mid-2011 by Oxfam International and the Control Arms Coalition in response to the disparity in the level of legal support and capacity available to delegations handling the ATT negotiations.
Since then, ATT Legal has provided support for each of the preparatory committee meetings, negotiating sessions and conferences concerning the development, negotiation, drafting and eventual adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty.
Since the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty by the United Nations on 2 April 2013, ATT Legal is transitioning its network to provide on-going legal assistance to organizations supporting the entry-into-force and implementation of the ATT, and to governments as they seek to implement their international obligations.
ATT Legal provides general assistance on a variety of issues, such as legal analysis of the ATT text, review of model legislation, and assessment of the ATT in relation to relevant international and regional treaties and agreements. ATT Legal also provides direct legal advice, as it did throughout the ATT negotiations, in support of relevant international meetings at UN Headquarters, regional capacity building workshops and, ultimately, the Conference of States Parties.
Pro Bono Network
ATT Legal receives a variety of requests from governments and civil society organizations for legal advice and support. These inquiries may relate to treaty law, international humanitarian law (IHL), human rights law, trade law, export/import controls and regulations, UN and ATT procedural rules, legislative drafting (region/country specific), maritime and constitutional law. In order to field these requests, ATT Legal maintains a pro bono network made up of leading international law firms, academic institutions, and independent lawyers with expertise in these areas. The Pro Bono Network serves as ATT Legal’s foundation and its depth and breadth allows ATT Legal to provide assistance on a wide range of issues to delegates and organizations in every region of the world.
ATT Legal Core Team
Vital to leveraging the expertise of the Pro Bono Network and critical to the effectiveness of ATT Legal is its Core Team. The Core Team is comprised of a select group of lawyers who are on the ground at treaty negotiations, international conferences and ultimately at the Conference of State Parties. The Core Team provides on site assistance directly to UN delegates and civil society organizations on an ad-hoc basis. When more complex substantive advice, additional research, or specific legal expertise is required, the Core Team will identify and access the appropriate expertise from the Pro Bono Network.
Due to its proximity to the negotiations and conferences, the Core Team plays the essential role of reviewing and tailoring the expert advice received from the Pro Bono Network to ensure it is responsive and appropriate, and can provide further explanation and clarification in person, as needed.
Also, the ATT Legal Core Team maintains contact with and serves as an information source for its Pro Bono Network by producing comprehensive updates during the negotiation sessions and periodic newsletters in between.
The United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs has just
released a publication titled “Arms Trade Treaty: Signature and Ratification.” This brochure acts as a step by step guide that describes the procedures that States must follow in order to sign, ratify, accept, approve, or accede to the Arms Trade Treaty. Click here to read the full brochure.