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Britain's court declared arms sales to S.Arabia unlawful

Britain's court declared arms sales to S.Arabia unlawful

The court of appeal has declared British arms sales to Saudi Arabia unlawful.
20.06.2019 - 14:21

UK weapons exports to Saudi Arabia have been declared unlawful as they have contributed to high levels of civilian deaths and casualties in the bombing of Yemen by Saudi-led coalition forces, Britain's court of appeal said Thursday.


The ruling was passed down by three senior judges after they accepted the legal challenge from the Campaign Against Arms Trade group, which has accused the government of licensing arms sales when it was clear their sales could breach international law.

According to Campaign Against Arms Trade, around £4.7bn worth of arms exports to Saudi Arabia have been licensed by the government since the Saudi-led intervention began in 2015 with record sales taking place before 2018.

The UK 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, and made no attempt to do so,” the court said.

British weapons exports are signed off by the foreign, defense and international trade ministries and Tory leadership candidates Boris Johnson, former foreign secretary, and Jeremy Hunt, the current foreign secretary, have defended the UK’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

An estimated 8.4 million people are at risk of severe famine and more than 22 million people, 75 percent of Yemen’s population, are in need of humanitarian assistance.