Working alongside ground forces, local security authorities, national governments, and international organisations, CAR field teams document illicit weapons, ammunition, and related material in conflict-affected locations and trace their supply sources.

Looking at rifles

Piles of rifles

iTrace® is designed to aid national arms export control agencies in identifying diversion risks prior to export.

Teams inspect weapons in a variety of conflict-related situations—whether recovered by state security forces, surrendered at the cessation of hostilities, cached, or held by insurgent forces.

CAR’s weapon investigations use multiple methods, including: interviews with weapon users (such as rebel forces); analysis of associated documentation (such as packaging marks, packing lists, bills of lading, and cargo manifests); dialogue with weapon manufacturers and exporters; investigations into shippers, transport agents, and financiers; and liaison with national defence, security, and intelligence agencies.

Photographing bullets

For each weapon documented, CAR’s investigations aim to uncover the chain of supply from manufacture, to illicit possession, through to recovery. In the process, CAR works to identify the likely point of a weapon’s diversion, the actors responsible for trafficking it, and the trafficking routes used. Having verified the chain of supply through a five-stage procedure (see Verification), CAR releases the data onto the iTrace® system.

Unless clearly stated, there is no inference of malpractice on the part of manufacturers or parties located at earlier stages in the supply chain.