End-User Certificate: A Paper Tiger?

Redaksjonen – 14.1.2016

The report investigates the issuance of End-User Certificates as a means to prevent illegal re-exporting of arms and military equipment. Download the report here.

Download the report "End-User Certificate: A Paper Tiger. Investigating Arms Export Control in Norway" (pdf, 4 MB) by Maxime de Taisne and Olga Abilova.

For norsk sammendrag, klikk her.


In 2014, Norway exported defence material for the value of NOK 3.4 billion. Norway has certain regulations in place to control the export of arms and military equipment, part of which is the much-debated issuance of End-User Certificates (EUCs), which binds the end-user either to not re-transfer the arms purchased, or to do so only under certain controlled circumstances. While in theory EUCs may prevent recipients from illegally using or re-exporting to a third party, verification procedures are rarely implemented in practice.

This study finds that monitoring of weapons export is heavily reliant on the cooperation of Norwegian defence companies and independent monitoring is done on an ad hoc basis. More importantly, Norway has never performed post-delivery checks and does not have the capacity to do so. Finally, there are no clear response mechanisms in case of EUC violations.

The report recommends that the Norwegian government should acquire the capacity to better monitor and enforce EUCs while increasing the transparency of the overall weapon export process. To achieve this objective, important lessons can be drawn from the best practices of exporting countries. Effective end-user control is an indispensable component of the broader fight against weapons diversion and can become a powerful deterrent against transgressors. Despite evident costs, neglecting end-use monitoring and control will eventually cause harm to both Norway’s legal weapons exports and Norway’s positive image abroad in the long run.