UN panel reports violations of embargo against Liberia

A panel of experts reporting to the United Nations Security Council has documented new violations of the arms embargo against Liberia, including the delivery of six cargo aircraft containing some 200 tons of weapons and ammunition supplies, according to a report released today at the UN. The Panel of Experts, set up at the request of the Security Council, says the weapons, drawn mainly from old Yugoslav stocks, were supplied by a dealer in Belgrade. “To avoid detection of these arms and obtain clearance for the flights, a sophisticated trail of double documentation was set up,” the experts write. According to the report, while the flight authorization and cargo manifests indicate that the arms were officially sent to Nigeria, flight requests were issued for the same aircraft to fly to Liberia, fraudulently indicating the cargo on board to be “mining drilling equipment” for a diamond mine in Monrovia. The Panel obtained false end-user certificates from Nigeria used by a non-existent Nigerian company and a number of go-between companies and brokers to carry out illicit arms deals. In response, the experts call for the urgent establishment of a UN working group which would develop a standardized end-user certificate that would contain the licence number, name and contact information of brokers involved in arms-trading. Such end-user certificates should be submitted to all members of the Economic Community of West African States as a condition for granting waivers for the importation of arms into the region. The report also shows that arms continue to reach the rebel Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) through Sierra Leone, Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea. The LURD was found to have mortar rounds that originally had been supplied by the United Arab Emirates to Guinea which the Guinean Defence Ministry claimed had been destroyed during a barracks fire. read more