National Implementation of IHL
Ordinance on War Material (War Material Ordinance, WMO), 1998 (Status as of 1 October 2015)
Ordonnance sur le matériel de guerre (OMG) du 25 février 1998 (Etat le 1er Octobre 2015)

Ordinance of  19 September 2014 (RO 2014 3045)
Ordinance of 19 August 2015 (RO 2015 2943)
Recueil systématique du droit fédéral, 514.511, 1er octobre 2015, 28 p. (last accessed on 22.02.2016)
Classified Compilation of Federal Legislation, 514.511, 1 October 2015, 26 p. (last accessed on 22.02.2016)

On 25 February 1998, the Swiss Federal Council adopted the Ordinance on War Material. The ordinance has been revised several times and notably on 19 September 2014 on the initiative of the Federal Assembly’s Council of Statesfollowing the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty. This revision aims at giving more flexibility to the Swiss Federal Council in granting licenses for the export of war material.
The ordinance regulates initial licenses and specific licenses for the trade, brokerage, import, export and transit of war material as well as the conclusion of contracts for the transfer of intellectual property including the technical know-how and the granting of rights thereto.
The main revisions concern Article 5 of the ordinance, which relates to the licensing criteria for the export of war material. More specifically, new Article 5(1)c establishes that the application for export licenses will no longer be automatically rejected when “the country of destination is listed as one of the least developed countries on the current OECD-DAC list of countries in receipt of development aid”, but will instead be assessed on a case by case basis.
In addition, while the previous text of the ordinance established that licenses should not be granted if “the country of destination violates human rights in a systematic and serious manner”, new Article 5(4) states that a license may be granted if the risk that the exported war material will be used to commit serious violations of human rights is low.
On 19 August 2015, the Swiss Federal Council further modified the Ordinance on War Material in order to regulate transit of civilian aircraft with war material on board. According to the newly introduced Article 5(c), transit of civilian aircraft with war material on board is authorized in the Swiss airspace if it is line with international law, Swiss foreign policy principles and international obligations. In contrast of land transit authorizations, criteria laid down by Article 5 of the Ordinance are not compulsory for air transit but remain a guidance for granting the authorization.
In addition, Article 13(3) provides that the authorization must be addressed to the Federal Office for Civilian Aviation. However, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs is responsible for granted such authorization in consultation with competent services of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (Article 14(2)).
Those provisions entered into force on 1st October 2015.

File TypeSizeFile Name
application/pdf 182 KB Ordinance on War Material (War Material Ordinance, WMO), 1998 (Status as of 1 October 2015) [Fre].pdf
application/pdf 543 KB Ordinance on War Material (War Material Ordinance, WMO), 1998 (Status as of 1 October 2015) [Eng].pdf