All countries that have the colour dark-red, are rated as ‘critical’ in at least four of the eight criteria. All countries that have the colour light red, are rated as ‘critical’ in at least one of the eight criteria.
Arms Embargoes and other International Obligations
The first criterion checks whether the country is subject to either a UN, EU, or OSCE arms embargo, thereby differentiating between sanctions against entire states and sanctions against non-state actors within a particular state. This information is relevant to the first criterion of the EU Common Position. Depending on the kind of embargo in place, the country is then classified as either ‘critical’ (arms embargo against entire state) or ‘possibly critical’ (arms embargo against non-state actor). If there is no arms embargo in place, the country is classified as ‘not critical’, depending on the results of the additional evaluation indicators.
The User’s Guide explicitly calls upon member states to consider, whether a recipient state has ratified the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, Chemical Weapons Convention, The Hague Code of Conduct, and the Arms Trade Treaty. If a country has ratified fewer than three of these non-proliferation treaties, it is classified as ‘possibly critical’.
Adherence to Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law
This criterion corresponds with the second criterion of the EU Common Position and evaluates a country’s overall adherence to internationally recognized standards of human rights and international humanitarian law. For this purpose, the database first considers the ratification record of a country with regard to international conventions on human rights and humanitarian law; for example the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, or the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
Second, the database takes into account a selection of aggregated human rights indices as they are annually published by international organizations, non-governmental organizations and university institutes. These include the Voice and Accountability Index and the Rule of Law Index of the World Bank, the Freedom House Index on Political Rights and Civil Liberties, the Political Terror Scale and the military interference in rule of law and the political process as measured by the Fraser Institute’s dataset on Economic Freedom of the World (EFW).
Third, based upon the One-Sided Violence Dataset from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP), the database checks whether the government of a respective country has conducted one-sided violence against civilians in the past five years.
Depending on both its membership in important human rights and humanitarian law conventions as well as its overall rating in different human rights-related indices, every country is classified as either ‘critical’, ‘possibly critical’ or ‘not critical’. Here, ‘critical’ indicates that there are serious human rights problems in the country, whereas ‘possibly critical’ points to at least some concern with human rights issues. If the government has conducted one-sided violence against civilians in the last five years, the country is classified as ‘critical’.
This criterion corresponds to the third criterion of the EU Common Position. In order to rate the degree of violent conflict in the recipient state, the database looks at data on internal armed conflicts published by the Uppsala Conflict Database Program (UCDP), and on several indicators for political stability and state fragility, such as the Political Stability and Absence of Violence/Terrorism Index from the World Bank Governance Indicators, the Constellations of State Fragility Index from the German Development Institute (DIE), and the Coup d’ Etat Dataset compiled by Jonathan Powell and Clayton Thyne. Whereas a country classification of ‘critical’ would point to the frequent and organized use of force within the recipient state itself, ‘possibly critical’ could also indicate a state of internal or regional political instability and/or sporadic violence.
Preservation of Regional Peace, Security and Stability
This fourth area considered in the BICC database corresponds to the fourth criterion in the EU Common Position. In order to rate the degree of violent conflict in the region, it looks in particular on data on armed conflicts published by Uppsala Conflict Database Program (UCDP), but also on indicators like the occurrence of a Coup d’Etat or the military interference in the political process as measured by the Fraser Institute’s dataset on Economic Freedom of the World (EFW).
It is important to note here, that while a classification as ‘possibly critical’ could also indicate a state of internal instability, violent conflicts in the region or past violent conflicts, a country is classified as ‘critical’ under this criterion, only if it is a party to an ongoing international armed conflict (according to UCDP data). This does include the participation in military interventions as a secondary party to the conflict, but it does exclude military interventions that are legitimized by the United Nations Security Council, for example UN peacekeeping missions.
Presence of Allied Armed Forces in Fragile Environments
This criterion relates to the fifth criterion of the EU common position which aims at preventing arms exports that would adversely affect the national security of any EU Member State, ally, or friendly country. This, however, remains a highly sensitive and essentially political decision, that the BICC database cannot display. Therefore, the database confines itself to provide information on the presence of EU/NATO armed forces or of UN peacekeeping forces in the recipient country or in neighbouring countries and combines it with data on state fragility and corruption in the defence sector. If such troops are present and the level of state fragility and/or corruption in the defense sector are very high, the country is classified as ‘critical’, as there is a risk that transferred arms might end up in the hands of groups that pose a security threat to the allied armed forces. If allied troops are present and the level of state fragility and/or defense sector corruption is high, the country is classifies as ‘possibly critical’.
Membership in International Conventions
This dimension is of direct relevance to criterion six in the EU Common Position. It checks the degree to which a country has ratified a number of select international conventions concerning humanitarian international law, arms control, terrorism and trans-national organized crime. For every country examined, the website provides updated information on whether all together 29 international conventions and treaties have been ratified or not. If a country is classified as ‘critical’ sufficient ratification of international treaties is clearly lacking. If a country is classifies as ‘possibly critical’ the ratification record is at least problematic.
Arms Export Controls and Transparency
Criterion seven of the EU Common Position asks whether there is a risk that the military technology or equipment will be diverted within the recipient country or re-exported under undesirable conditions. The assessment of the database emphasizes membership in the two central international regimes for the control of the transfers of conventional arms, the ATT and the Wassenaar Arrangement. If a state is neither a member of the ATT nor of the Wassenaar Arrangement, it is rated as ‘critical’.
The database also includes information on the level of transparency with regard to the transfer of small arms and on anti-corruption measures in the defence sector. This is based on the assumption that high levels of intransparency and corruption facilitate illicit diversion of arms. If a country is performs very poorly with regard to these two indicators, it is rated as ‘critical’, too. Respectively, the country is rated as ‘possibly critical’ if it performs poorly here.
Finally, in order to support the risk assessment with regard to diversion, the database provides information on the arms export control regime of a recipient country. It asks, whether national export controls, brokering regulations and enforcement measures are in place; whether measures are taken to mitigate the risk of diversion; and whether a state is reporting on its arms transfers to the UN Register of Conventional Arms and the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) reporting system. The source for these data is the National Transfer Control Database of the Arms Trade Treaty Baseline Assessment Project (BAP). If a country has, according to this data, established only few national arms transfer controls, it is rated as ‘possibly critical’.
Danger of Disproportionate Military Capacities Impairing Development
Criterion eight of the EU common position refers to the risk of the proposed arms export negatively affecting sustainable development in the recipient country. In order to facilitate such an assessment, the database examines whether a country has a low standard of human development according to UNDP criteria, and does, at the same time, invest heavily into its military. For this purpose, the database relies strongly on the BICC Global Militarization Index (GMI) that depicts the relative weight of the military apparatus of a state in relation to its society as a whole. The GMI looks at: the relation of military expenditure of a state to its gross domestic product (GDP) and its health spending; the military and paramilitary personnel in relation to the overall population and to physicians; and the number of heavy weapons in relation to population.
Countries are rated ‘critical’ or ‘possibly critical’ if they have a low standard of human development and at the same time have relatively high military as compared to non-military capacities. Data is obtained from various sources, including the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), as well as from the World Health Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
GMI Rank 2020
Compiled by BICC, the Global Militarization Index (GMI) presents on an annual basis the relative weight and importance of a country's military apparatus
in relation to its society as a whole.