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Lesotho
Source
: National report on the implementation of the PoA, 2010 and 2008  
Date
: 06/05/2011
National Report
:
 
Contact
: Mrs 'Malejaka Evelyn Letooane, Commissioner of Police
Email
: letooane@leo.co.ls
 
 
 
 


National laws, regulations and administrative procedures:

Internal Security (Arms and Ammunition) Amendment Bill 2008: The amendment addresses the problem of illicit firearms and ammunition and includes harsher sentences aimed at playing greater role in deterring criminals. This piece of Law is in tandem with International instruments, inter alia, the International Tracing Instrument (ITI). It introduces control over the import and export of firearms and ammunition by requiring that such consignments, even those in transit, should have accompanying documentation such as a movement permit stating full particulars of the firearms or ammunition. The Bill further requires that firearms be marked with a unique number at the time of import or manufacture.

 

 
 
 


National Marking Practices:

Lesotho does not manufacture small arms and light weapons. All small arms and light weapons that are in possession of government security forces and civilians are imported from other countries. The process of marking SALW in-country will be done in line with the Regional Action Plan for the implementation of the SADC Protocol. Under this plan, marking of state and civilian firearms should commence in 2011.

Marking at the time of import:

The law of Lesotho requires that all firearms that are imported in the country must bear unique markings of the country of manufacture. The revised Internal Security (Arms and Ammunition) Act would require that firearms be marked with a unique number at the time of import or manufacture. The process of marking SALW in the country shall be done in line with Regional Action Plan for the implementation of the SADC Protocol.

Marking of SALW in the possession of government armed and security forces:

The process of marking small arms and light weapons in possession of the government armed and security forces has not yet been fully implemented.


Measures against the removal or alteration of markings:



 
 
 


Accurate and comprehensive records for all marked SALW within their territory:

The Firearms Licensing Office maintains records of all firearms in private owenership. The records are kept manually. Efforts to source funds to computerize the licensing office are ongoing. Currently there are no time limits for keeping and destroying or records with the licensing office. They are kept indefinitely. The standard operating procedures for the implementation of the SADC Protocol have recommended that records should be kept for minimum period of 10 years. Lesotho will consider this issue when developing a National Policy on SALW in the course of this year.

 
 
 


Measures taken for undertaking traces and responding to tracing requests
:

Lesotho has in place a deliberate policy to trace the origin of all confiscated before they can be destroyed They are subjected to the process of etching. This exercise is always done with the assistance of the South African Police Service - Lestho Police Service needs to train experts in the actual tracing, ethcing and destruction of illegal SALW.

Operational Informaton Exchange:

In terms of bilateral cooperation in tracing, Lesotho has conducted Joint Operations with the Republic of South Africa, which yielded positive results. Joint tracing and etching Operations are presently conducted annually by Lesotho Mounted Police Service and the South African Police Service. Lesotho also has a National Focal Point in place to facilitate information sharing within the SADC. Lesotho has in place deliberate policy to trace the origin of all confiscated firearms before they can be destroyed, They are subject to the process of etching. This exercise is always done with the assistance of the Government of Republic of South Africa though the Sourth African Police Service.

Needs and Request for Assistance::
There is need to build adequate capacity of men and women to ensure effective cooperate in tracing, storing and ultimate destruction of illegal small arms and ammunition. Lesotho also needs technical and financial assistance to build capacity in the areas of marking and record keeping in order to support the effective implementation of their international tracing instrument. If marking is to go ahead in 2011 under the SADC Action Plan, Lesotho will need technical and financial assistance to buy machines and to train foficers to safely and effectively use the marking machines. There is a need for the records of all illegal firearms and ammunition to be computerized because manual recordkeeping may result in inaccuracies. This is very important if we are to effectively share information throughout the country, in the southern African region and on the international plane. A total of 48 computers would ease the problems inherent in keeping manual records. Relevant software and training would also be a necessity if we are to develop local expertise for sustainability of the project. Lesotho Police need to train experts in the actual tracing, etching and destruction of illegal SALW.

Implementation challenges and opportunities:

It is difficult for states, lacking technical and financial muscles to fully implement this international tracing instrument on their own. Lesotho bears witness that bilateral joint tracing operations bear positive results in tracing the origin of illicit small arms and light weapons. The police operatives and investigators are better informed, as they get feedback about the origin of the illicit small arms and light weapons, which are picked up either from the crime scenes or as a result of bilateral Joint Operations. There are fundamental challenges facing the country's efforts to effectively and sufficiently combat illegal trafficking of SALW and include: - Manual record keeping of firearms - Lack of hardware and software to improve the country's stockpile management