[Photo Pistol] Photo: AFP
The arms trade in Colombia is a state monopoly run by the weapons manufacturer Indumil, which provides an overview of its available weapons online. Among the imported weapons listed there are also guns and assault rifles from the Ulm-based company Walther, such as the P99 pistol.
German companies wishing to export weapons need to obtain an export permit from the German government. This permit is not granted if »the internal situation of the country concerned is in conflict,« according to government rules.
Colombia's state-owned arms seller, Indumil, features Walther handguns stamped »Made in Germany" despite the South American country being a »conflict« zone.
»We can't answer that,« Manfred Wörz, the managing director of the Carl Walther company said, adding that the company had not delivered any weapons, or technology, to Colombia. »We cannot explain how the weapon could have arrived on the Colombian market,« he said.
Jürgen Grässlin said he doubted that statement. He's part of the Outcry Campaign, which works to stop the arms trade, and said he has filed charges with the prosecutors' office in the southern German city of Ulm accusing the Walther company of suspected illegal arms deals and illegal licensing practices.
There are several ways German weapons could have reached Colombia.
While Walther may have exported the weapons directly, it could also have sold them first to a subsidiary in the United States, which would be legal as the US is a partner in the NATO alliance. Should the weapons have been then sold to Colombia it would run against the end-of-use declarations made by arms exporters detailing which countries the weapons are sent to and what purposes they will serve there.
Heckler & Koch, was permitted to export over 9,000 of its G36 assault rifles to Mexico between 2006 and 2009 under the condition that the weapons not reach the restive provinces of Chiapas, Chihuahua, Guerrero or Jalisco. But that's exactly what happened.
Germany is the world's third-largest weapons exporter, behind only the United States and Russia. The arms industry is responsible for some 80,000 jobs in Germany.
Export licenses worth 8.9 billion euros were issued in 2012, including some 76 million euros for the export of small arms - more than twice as much as in 2011. Nearly half of these exports are to so-called third states, nations that do not belong to NATO, or are not listed as similar to NATO nations.
Voice of Russia, Deutsche Welle, thefirearmblog.com