The 2016 Practice of Italy on Arms Exports

During 2016, the Italian Government was often questioned before the Parliament about arms exports from Italy to countries where either a conflict was occurring or international norms were being violated. The statements by the different members of the Government highlighted a heterogeneous practice, contingent upon different variables, some of which related to the presence of international measures and others to political considerations of the Government itself.

As shown below, this attitude of the Government often mirrored the approach characterising the main domestic legal source on the issue, Act no. 185 of 1990. However, in some cases, the Government seemed willing to exercise its discretion in identifying grounds for which arms exports could be denied. In fact, without a doubt, as emphasised by the Government several times, the assessment of the presence of reasons against the export was characterised by a case-by-case approach and this sometimes led to balancing the presence of possible violations of international norms with considerations regarding the relationship between Italy and the recipient state.

In the following lines, the cases related to the export of arms, emerged during the Parliamentary debate of 2016, are grouped according to the conduct and the view adopted by the Government.


Arms and international sanctions: The cases of Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

In the first category of cases, emerged during the question times, the Italian Government showed its approach on the issue when an arms embargo imposed by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) was involved. As shown later on, it appears that the presence of such an international measure affected the conduct and the approach of the Government itself.

On 28 April 2016, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Paolo Gentiloni Silveri, intervened before the Chamber of Deputies (615th Meeting, XVII Legislature) and replied to a parliamentary question on the actions undertaken by the Italian Government to strengthen the arms and oil embargo imposed by the UNSC on Libya, according to Resolutions nos. 1970 and 1973 of 2011 and 2146 of 2014. The Minister stated:

Theoretically, the rules are established by the United Nations. The embargo is extended and specified through a number of resolutions. The most recent resolution – no. 2278 of last 31 March – sets the rules that serve the aim, very clear in the last resolution, of affirming that both arms and oil transfers that do not pass through the Government of National Accord (GNA) have to be considered as illicit by the international community.

On 13 September 2016, the significance of the arms embargo in Libya and the role of Italy in the enforcement of it were further emphasised by the Minister of Defence, Ms Roberta Pinotti, in her intervention before the Joined Commissions (III Commission – Foreign and European affairs, and IV Commission – Defence of the Chamber of Deputies, as well as 3rd Commission – Foreign affairs, Emigration, and 4th Commission Defence of the Senate). Replying to a question regarding an alleged violation of the embargo by Russia in Libya, the Minister stated as follows:

The issue of the arms embargo […] falls within the scope of the new mission, EUNAVFOR MED. Therefore, this mission will have the role of looking after the concerns that you [the questioning MP, ed.] have brought up.

As mentioned earlier, it appears that the Government considered the presence of international measures, such as an embargo, to be a significant variable to decide whether to transfer arms and to whom. This interpretation appears coherent with a provision, namely Article 1(6)(c), of the main domestic source on this issue, the abovementioned Act no. 185 of 1990. The provision states:

Article 1.6  The export and the transit of armament material are also prohibited: […]

c) towards Countries against which a partial or total embargo of war supplies was adopted by the United Nations or the European Union (EU).

The Government appears to have acted consistently with the provision also in cases characterised by the absence of an embargo or any other forms of international sanctions. This is shown in some cases related to Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

On 12 October 2016, during the 691st Meeting (XVII Legislature) of the Chamber of Deputies, the Minister of Defence, Ms Pinotti, replied to a parliamentary question regarding a photograph of a bomb used in the conflict in Yemen, allegedly bearing the serial number of the Italian Ministry of Defence. The interrogating MP also requested clarification about a visit by the Minister to Saudi Arabia, along with the General Secretary for the Armaments.

After explaining the procedure for issuing an authorisation for armament exports, the Minister clarified that the company quoted by the MP had regularly obtained a licence and authorisation to export, according to the required procedure. Moreover, Minister Pinotti clarified that the bomb displayed in the photograph did not belong to any stock held by the Italian Armed Forces, contrary to what was suggested by the questioning MP, and that her official visit to Saudi Arabia did not have any commercial purpose. The Minister thus replied:

The licenses to export armaments are, as is well known, regulated by Act no. 185 of 1990 and its further modifications. This act provides that the Parliament must be informed regularly through a yearly report regarding the exports, the imports and the transits of armaments; this is done to allow the verification and control activity, as is up to the Parliament.

The requests of the Italian companies are managed by UAMA, Unità per le autorizzazioni di materiale di armamento (Armament material authorisations unit). UAMA acts on a case-by-case basis following the Italian, European and international regulations, after having acquired the final opinion of the advisory committee composed of the representatives of the different ministries.

As for the merit of the question made (by the MP), according to what reported by the technical offices of the Ministry of Defence, I declare that the NATO stock number identifies the material that can be used and not the property, at NATO level. On the artefact portrayed in the article cited and subject of the questioning it is present the manufacture’s number, which identifies the producing firm uniquely and can never be changed.

Therefore, there is no link between the armaments and the Direzione nazionale armamenti (Armaments national department). Moreover, that material is not part of the stock of the Air Force. The company Rwm (quoted by the questioning MP) exported to Saudi Arabia through a license issued according to the current regulations, as said at the beginning.

In response to acts of control by the Parliament, the Government has intervened several times, highlighting that Saudi Arabia is not subject to any form of embargo, sanction or international restriction, by the UN or the EU, regarding the selling of armaments and military equipment. Of course, this does not mean that the Government is not concerned about what is occurring in Yemen.

She then commented upon the State visit she made to Saudi Arabia as follows.

It was not for commercial purposes and no contracts have been signed. In fact, on the contrary, there would be proof somewhere and if that were the case, they would be subject to Act no. 185.

On 26 October 2016, during the question time at the Chamber of Deputies (699th Meeting, XVII Legislature), regarding a similar issue, concerning arms transfers to Saudi Arabia, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Gentiloni, replied to a questioning MP in a similar vein.

Mr Gentiloni was questioned regarding the presence and the possible revocation of arms exports licences towards Saudi Arabia, in light of the conflict occurring in Yemen. After explaining once again the process through which the licences are issued, the Minister highlighted the fact that there are no international or European sanctions towards Saudi Arabia. He stated that:

armament exports are regulated by Act no. 185 of 1990. The answer to every request of export is given after the opinions of the different Ministries and the national authority, UAMA, are given. With regard to the case of Saudi Arabia, the requests by the Italian companies to obtain the licenses to export armaments are assessed in a particularly strict and accurate way, on a case-by-case basis, referring to the Italian, European and international norms.

After all, the law provides that the Parliament be informed – as you know – through a yearly report, to permit the verification and control activity. As can be found in the yearly reports regarding armament exports between 2011 and 2015, Italy exported to Saudi Arabia armament material and, as recently clarified by the Government in this Chamber, RWM, an Italian company part of a German group, exported to Saudi Arabia by virtue of licenses issued according to the current regulation. Contrary to countries such as, for instance, Libya or Syria, Saudi Arabia is not subject to any form of embargo, sanction or international restriction regarding the selling of armaments.

After having explained that other Western countries had exported more armaments to Saudi Arabia than Italy, the Minister continued as follows:

Of course, should the United Nations or the European Union acknowledge any violations, Italy will conform itself to following prescriptions and prohibitions immediately.

In conclusion, firstly, Italy cannot be portrayed as a huge seller of arms to Saudi Arabia. Avoiding to mentioning the United States, I would like to remember that in the last three years for which data are available, namely 2012–2014, France sold 5 billion and 100 million in weapons, the UK 2 billion and 200 million, Germany 1 billion and 900 million and Italy 700 million.  Secondly, our diplomacy is collaborating with the United Nations to pursue the only possible solution to the Yemenite crisis, which is a negotiating solution.

The same approach was adopted by the Government when questioned about Italy’s military cooperation with other countries.

On 13 October 2016, during a question time before the IV Permanent Commission (Defence) of the Chamber of Deputies, the Under-secretary of State for Defence, Mr Domenico Rossi, replied to a question regarding the fact that the signing of a contract for armaments transfers has to be regulated not only by the relevant domestic and international law but also by the presence of human rights violations on the territory of the other signing party, as well as the involvement of this in certain conflicts.

The questioning MP, mentioning the presence of domestic, European and international relevant regulations, argued that the signing of such contracts had to follow an assessment of the alleged violations of international norms on human rights and the conduct of conflict of the state of Qatar. Under-secretary Rossi explained that the ordinary procedure had been followed also in the case of this contract. Moreover, Mr Rossi added, there are no international or European sanctions imposed on Qatar. Here are his words:

The requests of the Italian companies are managed by UAMA, which acts on a case-by-case basis. UAMA complies with the relevant Italian, European and international regulations, after having acquired the final opinion of the advisory committee, composed of the representatives of the different ministries. In this context, the opinions and the authorisations for the contractual negotiations with Qatar were issued according to the provisions of Act no. 185 of 1990, and its further modifications, as well as the European and international regulations.

Moreover, as prescribed by the law, the Parliament is being regularly informed through a specific yearly report regarding the export, the import and the transit of armament material, so that it can perform its function of control. Furthermore, there are no ongoing embargos, sanctions or restrictive measures, neither by the UN nor the European Union, with regard to the countries we are talking about. In this context, therefore, the «Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Italian Republic and the Government of the State of Qatar in the field of Navy cooperation», signed in Rome on 16th June 2016, becomes relevant.

Once again, the absence of international measures, the case-by-case approach adopted by the competent domestic body and the procedure prescribed by the domestic legislation, the Act 185 of 1990, were mentioned as elements that justified the transfer of armaments.

From the statements mentioned above, while, on the one hand, the presence of international sanctions, such as an embargo, apparently affected the decision on the authorisation to export armaments, on the other hand, it seemed that the same element could be counter-balanced by two categories of considerations.

The first group of considerations regards the violations of international norms, including those belonging to the realm of international human rights law and the law of armed conflicts. With regard to those norms, as shown further, the practice of the Italian Government does not seem consistent, with cases where the Government considered this kind of violations as significant enough to stop armament exports, and others where they seemed to be ignored or counter-balanced by the considerations of the second group.


Arms and foreign policy considerations: The Cases of Libya, Somalia, Ukraine, Egypt and Syria.

The second category is linked to the need to stabilise a specific scenario characterised by a conflict, in a region of interest for the Italian foreign policy. In this case, Government’s practice seems more consistent and this clashed often with the first set of considerations regarding international norms.

Regarding the need to balance the presence of an embargo on arms and the need to stabilise a conflict scenario of interest for the Italian foreign policy, two cases, and the related statements, appears relevant: Libya and Somalia.

On 28 April 2016, within a statement already partially quoted above, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Paolo Gentiloni Silveri, intervened before the Chamber of Deputies (615th Meeting, XVII Legislature) and highlighted the difficulty of the enforcement of the embargo, along with mentioning a concrete case of this concerning an attempt to illicitly export 650,000 barrels of crude, occurred on 26 April 2016 and followed by UNSC reaction the day after.

Mr Gentiloni emphasised the necessity of a balance between the respect and enforcement of international legal norms and the backing of actors, officially recognised by the international community, in their counter-terrorism and public maintenance actions.  He expressed in these terms:

In fact, this kind of transfers are both oil traffics and violations of the arms embargo, which is, however, slightly more ambiguous as the arms embargo keeps out the arms provided to fight the terrorism. Here one enters in a huge ambiguity, which does not exist only in Libya, but is present – alas! in Syria as well.

There was a reaction, yesterday (last night in Italy): for instance, the Sanctions Committee of the United Nations added the shipping company of the oil tanker that had made this illegal shipment to the list of sanctioned subjects.

He also pointed out that:

something has to be clear: in order to strengthen and stabilise the al-Sarraj Government (the international recognised government of Libya), it is necessary that they can exercise their own counter-terrorism action. Accordingly, if the embargo has to be modified for counter-terrorism activities, this modification has to be in favour of the legitimate Government. Moreover, they [the legitimate government] have to be able to use the profits of the oil.

Failing these two conditions, the consolidation of the Government is very hard. I want to reassure [the questioning MP] that we are moving towards this direction both on a bilateral and multilateral level.

The mention of the necessity of balancing the presence of an embargo with the goal of stabilising a conflict scenario emerged also with regard to Somalia. In this case, however,  the ambiguous stance of the Government is also shown with regard to exporting arms to countries where international regulations, including human rights norms, are violated.

On 30 June 2016, during the question time before the III Permanent Commission (Foreign and European affairs) of the Chamber of Deputies, the Under-secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Benedetto Della Vedova, replied to a questioning MP, who highlighted that Italy was sending arms to Somalia, where Somali regular armed forces, the recipient of the arms, committed serious international violations regarding the employment and exploitation of child-soldiers.

The Under-secretary clarified that Italy supported the process of reform of the Somali security forces, respecting, at the same time, the measures internationally adopted by the United Nations. A fact that is valid also with regard to the provisions of armament, regulated by the UN embargo and the relevant domestic law. In Mr Della Vedova’s words:

we believe it is necessary to continue supporting the reform process of the Somali security forces through an approach which is inclusive of the several political and social components of the country and in line with the relevant international provisions, with, of course, a particular focus on the norms regarding international human rights and the protection of fundamental freedoms.

Those principles have always been and will always be on the basis of the Italian action in Somalia. Furthermore, this support action is undertaken according to what Act no. 185 of 1990 prescribes and in respect of the UN embargo on armaments export, initially imposed in 1992 and recently renewed through the Security Council Resolution no. 2244 of 2015.

In this context, the only exports to this country authorised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are the ones duly notified to the relevant Sanctions Committee and these are exclusively the ones aimed at strengthening the Somali .

The position here expressed by the Under-secretary seems to reflect the approach adopted by the UN for the Somali case. Therefore, to better understand Mr Della Vedova’s reply to the issue of the possible exploitation of child-soldiers by Somali Security Forces, the framework established by the relevant UNSC resolutions should be outlined.

Until 2013, year of UNSC Resolution no. 2093, the embargo on Somalia was general, as required by Resolution no. 733 of 1992, and extended to advising and training activities and funds. In 2013, Resolution no. 2093 amended the embargo, turning this from general to partial. The admitted exception, besides UN and African Union peacekeeping troops, regarded the armed and security forces of the Federal Government of Somalia. Initially, the UNSC partially lifted the embargo only for a period of twelve months. Then, through Resolutions nos. 2142 (2014), 2244 (2015) and 2317 (2016), this measure has been periodically renewed every twelve months. These exceptions were combined with some control and supervision measures, such as the duty of notification to the USNC Committee about the cases of reception of arms (Paragraph 38 of Resolution 2093).

Regarding the issue highlighted by the questioning MP, the link between the embargo and international norms violations, such as the ones regarding child-soldiers, was indeed established, even though in a very intricate way. Resolution no. 2093, at Paragraph 43, recalls Paragraph 7 of Resolution no. 1844 of 2008. This latter requires the member states to prevent direct or indirect arms transfers, assistance or training to certain categories of individuals and entities. Paragraph 43(d)–(e) of Resolution 2093 also adds to such categories of individuals those responsible for recruiting or using child-soldiers or violating relevant international provisions, including those related to armed conflicts.

Furthermore, while the obligation to enforce the application of international provision regards member states, through the prevention of arms transfers, two resolutions have gradually extended this obligation also to the Federal Government of Somalia. First, Resolution no. 2124 of 2013 requires the Somali Government to train its security forces for the respect and enforcement of international norms, including those of humanitarian, human rights law and concerning child-soldiers (Paragraph 18). Subsequently, Resolutions nos. 2244 and 2317 require the Somali Government to establish civilian oversight over the security forces, the enforcement of international provisions and the prosecution of the related violations.

According to a joint reading of the abovementioned resolutions of the UNSC, after 2013, arms should not be transferred to individual responsible for violations of international norms. The obligation to prevent these transfers is upon UN member states, while the duty to enforce the respect of those norms is upon international bodies, member states and, since 2013, the Federal Government of Somalia.

According to the relevant UNSC resolutions, Italy, with the help of the Somali Government, should assess whether the transferred arms end in the hands of members of the security forces responsible for violating international provisions, including those regarding the recruiting and use of child-soldiers.

In addition to that, the presence of Act no. 185 of 1990 in Italy’s legal framework could further establish a link between violations of international provisions and arms transfers. Its Article 1(6)(d) states as follow:

Article 1.6 – The export and the transit of armament material are also forbidden:


d) towards Countries of which governments are responsible for serious violations of international conventions on human rights, assessed by the competent bodies of the United Nations, European Union or Council of Europe.

Therefore, if any violation of human rights were found by the competent bodies of the organisations quoted above, the State of Italy, according to its legislation, would have to stop the arms transfer. However, it seems that some gaps are still present, both in the UNSC resolutions and the Italian domestic legislation.

First, after 2013, the prohibition to transfer arms in case of international violations regarded only individuals and entities, not the whole Somali Government. Second, the Italian domestic legislation about arms transfers requires that the violations have to be assessed by international bodies. Therefore, Article 1(6)(d) of Act no. 185 of 1990 seems not to apply in the case of general allegations of such violations.

Contrary to what happened in the previous cases, the Italian Government appeared willing to exercise a certain degree of political discretion in authorising arms transfers towards Ukraine and Egypt, balancing the absence of any kind of international measures or restriction with the assessment of the scenario where the arms would arrive. This kind of assessment could be connected to what is prescribed by Act no. 185 of 1990, which comprises a number of provisions allowing a political evaluation, according to, among others, the Constitution of the Italian Republic and Italy’s international obligations, is present. These are Articles 1(1), 1(5), 1(6)(a) and 1(6)(b) of the Act, which provide as follows:

Article 1.1. – The export, the import and the transit of armament material, along with the issuing  of the production licences have to be accordant to Italy’s foreign and defence policy. These operations are regulated by the State according to the principles of the Constitution of the Italian Republic, which rejects war as instrument to resolve international disputes.

Article 1.5. – The export and the transit of armament material, along with the issuing  of the production licences, are forbidden when they are in contrast with the Constitution, with Italy’s international commitments and with the fundamental security interests of the State, of the fight against terrorism and of the maintenance of good relations with other Countries, together when appropriate guarantees on the final destination of the materials lack.

Article 1.6. – The export and the transit of armament materials is also forbidden:

a) towards Countries in a state of armed conflict, against the principles of Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, excepted in the cases when Italy’s international obligations have to be respected or in the case of the different deliberations of the Consiglio dei ministri (Council of the Ministries), to adopt after the opinion of the Camere (Chambers of the Parliament).

b) towards Countries of which politics is in contrast with the principles of Article 11 of the Constitution.

This legislative framework explains and mirrors the statements delivered regarding concrete cases and the hypothesis of arms and military equipment transfers addressed to Ukraine, Egypt and Syria.

On 26 January 2016, during a question time at the III Permanent Commission (Foreign and European affairs) of the Chamber of Deputies, the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Benedetto Della Vedova, explained that the Italian Government stopped the issuing of authorisations to arms exports towards Kiev, concerned by the development of the conflict and despite the absence of any international sanction:

I would like to emphasise that Italy is not among the countries, as said, that would have provided military equipment to Kiev.

Despite the absence of a ban on armament exports, since 2014, the developments of the crisis in Ukraine have strongly discouraged to proceed with the issuing of authorisation for commercial supplies of arms and lethal material, believing that any possible improper use could contribute to the escalation of the hostilities.

The Italian Government has always affirmed that the solution to the Ukraine crisis should necessarily pass through the way of dialogue and of an agreed solution, rather than end up on a military level.

The Government showed a similar approach with regard to the case of the arms and military equipment transfers to the Arab Republic of Egypt.

On 22 June 2016, the Under-secretary of State for Defence, Mr Gioacchino Alfano, intervened before the IV Permanent Commission (Defence) of the Chamber of Deputies and answered a parliamentary question requesting the disclosure of the terms of the technical-military agreement between Italy and Egypt. The interrogating MP had also highlighted that the presence of numerous human rights violations in the country could provide a valid ground to stop such a cooperation. While the Under-secretary disclosed the terms of the contracts for the transfers of military equipment, he also maintained that no transfer had been made yet. Moreover, Mr Alfano admitted that the recent serious events concerning Egypt could change the relationship between Italy and that country. He stated:

Concerning the activities of assistance for the weapon systems related to the cooperation agreements quoted earlier, it is prescribed that the transfer of out of order material of the Armed Forces be made free of charge.

In particular, this agreement regards 40 patrol boats of the Carabinieri Corps, including their onboard equipment, national technical documentation and spare parts and replacement components for F16 aircrafts. In particular, regarding the latter, the prescribed authorisation was added within the document for the extension of the missions for the October–December quarter of 2015 (Decree-law no. 174 of 30 October 2015). This decision was taken because of the previous good relations with Egypt and considering carefully the strategic significance which, because of diverse and concurrent circumstances, connected to the crisis of the Middle eastern area, this Country was building up.

Considering this scenario, since the first months of the current year, with the firm hope that these episodes in question – although very painful – will end with the always comforting approach to the truth, we have learnt some facts that still lead to cautiousness towards a partner that remains very important. Through this perspective, the adding of Article 4.6 to Decree-law no. 67 of 16 May 2016, regarding the material mentioned above, represents only an official fulfilment, adopted after the approval on the merits by the Parliament through the conversion of the previous decree-law, quoted earlier. […]

The prescribed authorisation shows, on the one hand, that the material has not been concretely provided yet and, on the other hand, that this transfer can be revised, in light of the latest and more updated information. Likewise, with regard to the transfer of the patrol boats, this has not been done yet. Only on the level of bilateral relations, the total cancellation of the training activities provided could appear less congruent. Such activities are neutral and, moreover, have already slowed down, even though not suspended, according to the foreign policy of our country towards Egypt, waiting for the indispensable clarification of the general framework.

On 30 June 2016, once again on the case of Egypt, during a question time before the III Permanent Commission (Foreign and European affairs) of the Chamber of Deputies, the Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs ad International Cooperation, Mr Benedetto Della Vedova, explained that the authorisation procedure for arms exports is very strict and contingent upon the domestic political situation of the recipient state. In those days, Italy–Egypt relation was compromised by the episodes following Giulio Regeni’s murder. Mr Della Vedova also added that different considerations may apply according to the nature, lethal or not, of the exported material. These are Mr Della Vedova’s words:

With regard to the military supplies, Act no. 185 of 1990 provides that an accurate analysis is undertaken, case-by-case and on the basis of updated political evaluation, every time one proceeds with the issuing of an authorisation to export armament materials. Regarding Egypt, a particularly strict evaluation of the requests of the companies of the sector is adopted, considering also the different nature of the materials subject to authorisation, of their possible lethal nature, of their final use, such as for the defence of the territory or for activities of public order control.

During the same question time, Mr Della Vedova, interrogated regarding the alleged presence of antipersonnel landmines, produced in Italy, in the Syrian city of Palmyra, affirmed that Italy had promptly complied with and enforced – even earlier than the majority of the other countries – the obligations imposed by the Ottawa Convention on the ban on landmines:

Italy has always been engaged with the scrupulous implementation of the Ottawa Anti-Personnel Landmines Convention, ratified by our country with Act no. 106 of 1999.

This is shown by the fact that, even before the ban imposed by the abovementioned act, through Act no. 374 of 1997 Italy had already ordered the complete destruction of landmines and prohibited their production, the storage and the export abroad. This programme was completed in October 2002, in advance of twelve months from the date fixed by the Convention.

With regard to the facts reported by the questioning MP about the alleged finding of landmines produced in Italy near Palmyra, we are waiting watchfully for the developments of the case and a possible official confirmation. However, I reaffirm the existence of a strong normative framework on this issue – the already quoted Acts nos. 374 of 1997 and 106 of 1999 – and of systemic administrative controls of every movement of military equipment put in place by Act no. 185 of 1990. This latter, I would like to recall, fully incorporates the international norms in this sector and explicitly prohibits the movements of anti-personnel landmines.


Final Remarks

Considering the cases analysed, the Italian diplomatic practice with regard to arms transfers seems characterised by two different approaches. Firstly, the Italian government seems to regard the presence of a UNSC arms embargo as a decisive element to prevent arms transfers and exports to a certain country. This is confirmed by the statements regarding Saudi Arabia and Qatar, where such a measure was not present, as well as Libya and Somalia, where Italy showed deference to the regulations imposed by the UNSC.

Secondly, in the cases of Egypt and Ukraine, Italy’s Government seemed sometimes willing to exercise its political discretion to freeze arms transfers to countries where, despite no international sanctions were adopted, transferring arms appeared dangerous or inconsistent with Italy’s Constitution and foreign policy, as also prescribed by the relevant domestic legislation.

Comparing these two different approaches, two final considerations can be put forth. First, in the case of absence of arms embargo, the Italian Government exercised its political discretion to authorise, or not, arms transfers to countries allegedly linked to possible violations of international norms or where armed conflicts were present. Second, the presence of international measures led the Italian Government to renounce undertaking its own assessment of the presence of possible violations of international norms, something that appeared against UNSC resolutions in the case of Somalia.

The original Italian version of the speeches and acts translated or quoted above can be found here below in chronological order:

Legge 9 Luglio 1990, n. 185, Nuove norme sul controllo dell’esportazione, importazione e transito dei materiali di armamento

Bendetto Della Vedova, Terza Commissione Permanente, 26 January 2016

Paolo Gentiloni Silveri, Camera dei Deputati, 28 April 2016

Gioacchino Alfano, Quarta Commissione Permanente, 22 June 2016

Benedetto Della Vedova, Terza Commissione Permanente, 30 June 2016

Roberta Pinotti, Commissioni Riunite – Affari Esteri e Comunitari (III) e Difesa (IV) della Camera dei Deputati, e Affari Esteri ed Immigrazione (3a) e Difesa (4a) del Senato della Repubblica, 13 September 2016

Roberta Pinotti, Camera dei Deputati, 12 October 2016

Domenico Rossi, Quarta Commissione Permanente, 13 October 2016

Paolo Gentiloni Silveri, Camera dei Deputati, 26 October 2016

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