Britain Broke the Law on Saudi Arms Exports Due to Yemen Concerns, Court Rules (excerpt)
(Source: Reuters; published June 20, 2019)
By Paul Sandle and Guy Faulconbridge
Activists celebrate outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London as the verdict is announced that ruled that the British government broke the law by continuing to deliver arms to Saudi Arabia due to concerns about the war in Yemen. (CAAT photo)
LONDON --- The British government broke the law by allowing arms exports to Saudi Arabia that might have been used in the conflict in Yemen, a British court ruled on Thursday.
While the court’s decision does not mean Britain must immediately halt arms exports, it does mean that there is a stay on the granting of next arms export licences to Saudi Arabia - Britain’s richest Arab ally.
“The Court of Appeal has concluded that the process of decision-making by the government was wrong in law in one significant respect,” judge Terence Etherton said as he handed down the ruling.
He added that the government made “no concluded assessments of whether the Saudi-led coalition had committed violations of international humanitarian law in the past, during the Yemen conflict.”
London will have to reconsider the way it handles such export licences to Saudi Arabia. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Reuters website.
UK Arms Sales to Saudi for Use In Yemen Ruled Unlawful
(Source: Campaign Against the Arms Trade; posted June 20, 2019)
In the last few minutes the Court of Appeal has ruled that UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen are unlawful.
The Court of Appeal concluded that it was ‘irrational and therefore unlawful’ for the Secretary of State for International Trade to have granted licences without making any assessment as to whether violations of international humanitarian law had taken place.
This historic judgment means that the government must now stop issuing new arms exports licences, and retake all decisions to export arms to Saudi in accordance with the law.
We celebrate this historic verdict. But these weapons sales should never have been licensed in the first place. It should not take a group of campaigners taking the Government to court to force it to apply its own rules.
It shouldn’t take four years of schools, hospitals, weddings, and funerals being bombed. It should not take tens of thousands of deaths and the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.
We must also question a system – and the priorities of government – that have allowed the continuing provision of arms in these circumstances.
This isn’t the end.
The government is likely to continue to fight this decision, even now. So now is the time to ramp up the pressure and make sure they finally prioritise human lives over arms trade profits.
Click here for the verdict and related documents, on the Court of Appeals website.