On March 6, infamous weapons dealer Viktor Bout was arrested in Bangkok. Boutâ€™s role in supplying weapons to some of the worldâ€™s deadliest conflicts had earned him the nickname â€œMerchant of Death,â€ and he is believed to have inspired Nicholas Cageâ€™s character in the film â€œLord of War.â€
While praising Boutâ€™s capture, Antonio Maria Costa, the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, called on Thailand to ratify the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime. According to Costa, ratifying this treaty would â€œmake it easier to bring criminals of [Boutâ€™s] ilk to justice, for example through mutual legal assistance and extradition.â€ Costa also encouraged states to ratify the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts, and Components and Ammunition, known as the UN Firearms Protocol.
According to the UNODC, nearly 1 billion guns are in circulation throughout the world, and three fourths of them are in civilian hands. Every year, 8 million guns are manufactured, along with twice the amount of ammunition that would be needed to kill the worldâ€™s entire population.
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