Licensed to kill: The United Kingdom's arms export licensing process

Stavrianakis, Anna (2008) Licensed to kill: The United Kingdom's arms export licensing process. Economics of Peace and Security Journal, 3 (1). pp. 32-39. ISSN 1749-852X

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The article addresses the U.K. government's arms export licensing process to try to account for the discrepancy between its rhetoric of responsibility and practice of ongoing controversial exports. I describe the government's licensing process and demonstrate how this process fails to prevent exports to states engaged in internal repression, human rights violations, or regional stability. I then set out six reasons for this failure: the vague wording of arms export guidelines; the framing of arms export policy; the limited use (from a control perspective) of a case-by-case approach; the weak role of pro-control departments within government; pre-licensing mechanisms that facilitate exports and a lack of prior parliamentary scrutiny, which means the government's policy can only be examined retrospectively; and the wider context of the relationship between arms companies and the U.K. state. I conclude that the government's export control guidelines do not restrict the arms trade in any meaningful way but, rather, serve predominantly a legitimating function.

Item Type: Article
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Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
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Depositing User: Anna Stavrianakis
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:27
Last Modified: 12 Nov 2020 10:04
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