Britain's arms exports to Saudi 'lawful' - court

2017-07-11 05:26


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

London - Britain's High Court ruled on Monday that UK arms exports to Saudi Arabia are "lawful", after campaigners argued the weapons were used to violate international humanitarian law in bombing Yemen.

"We have concluded that the material decisions of the secretary of state were lawful. We therefore dismiss the claim," Lord Justice Burnett said at the court in London.

He added it was not established that there was "a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law".

Half the evidence presented in the case was heard in secret after the government argued it could not be heard in public for national security reasons.

Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), the non-profit organisation behind the legal challenge, said they are pursuing an appeal.

Amnesty International described the ruling as a "deadly blow for Yemenis", while Save the Children said the evidence showing the Saudi-led coalition had repeatedly violated international humanitarian law in Yemen "is overwhelming".

"It has been documented by UN reports, by aid groups on the ground and by credible human rights organisations," it said in a statement.

Civil war

For the past two years, Yemen has been plunged into a civil war between Shi'ite Huthi rebels and government forces backed by a Saudi-led Arab military coalition.

The World Health Organisation estimates that more than 8 000 people have been killed in the conflict - most of them civilians.

The UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs has described Yemen as the "largest humanitarian crisis in the world".

Mark Goldring, Oxfam's chief executive, said that despite the ruling, "there is a clear moral case for the government to suspend its sales".

"It must now put its diplomatic weight behind a search for peace," he added in a statement.

Saudi Arabia is Britain's largest trading partner in the Middle East, with exports of more than $8.4bn in British goods and services to the country in 2015.

The government welcomed the court's ruling, with Prime Minister Theresa May telling parliament on Monday that it shows the UK operates "one of the most robust export control regimes in the world".

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox added that the government "will continue to defend the decisions challenged" if the CAAT appeals.

Read more on:    saudi arabia  |  uk  |  yemen  |  military

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.