Connecticut Law Review Volume 46 - Issue 1

Starving the Dark Markets: International Injunctions as a Means to Curb Small Arms and Light Weapons Trafficking

International arms sales are a big business. This understatement fails to elucidate the extensive industrial and economic impact of the weapons trade between nations. One of the most influential portions of is the production and sale of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW). Yet despite SALW sales valued at billions of dollars per year, little international regulation exists to control these sales.

While most SALW sales occur within the legitimate sphere of business, a large number of SALW are sold and resold through the “grey” and “black” markets: illegal methods of sale that do not conform to any international norms. Combating the growth of these markets has been frustrating not only due to the lack of comprehensive regulation but also because the markets are designed to be as difficult to detect as possible.

This Note sets out an alternative path of preventing SALW from entering the grey and black markets. After engaging in an analysis of existing international law, this Note suggests adoption of stronger export controls and an injunctive mechanism to aid in their enforcement. It draws inspiration from the British Mareva injunction, and after suggesting modifications to international export regulations this Note demonstrates how an injunctive process similar to the Mareva injunction may be used at the International Court of Justice to prevent weapons from entering the grey and black markets.

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