Government to face landmark legal case on Saudi Arabia arms sales

Government face landmark case against arms sales to Saudi Arabia

The war in Yemen began in 2015

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Government is facing a landmark case against arms sales to Saudi Arabia, after campaigners brought a judicial review.

The campaigners are accusing the Government of being complicit in Saudi atrocities during the conflict in Yemen, Middle East Eye reported. 

They say that the UK should compelled to stop arms sales due to global arms treaties and international law, if the weapons are used to commit war crimes or breach humanitarian law.

Today the case will begin in the High Court and it is expected to last for three days. It has been brought by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) and includes submissions from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

The case will determine the legality of the government’s arms transfers to Saudi Arabia.

The UK has licensed more than £3.3 billion of arms to Saudi forces since 2015. This includes fighter jets, bombs and missiles.

This case could have major repercussions for defence exports, and comes as the Ministry of Defence is facing criticism for not determining whether Saudi Arabia has committed war crimes in Yemen.

Spokesman for CAAT Andrew Smith said: "UK fighter jets and bombs have played a central role in the bombardment, and UK political support has helped to underpin and legitimise it.

"We are always being told that the UK stands for free speech and democracy, yet it has sold billions of pounds worth of arms to one of the most brutal and repressive regimes in the world to use against one of the poorest countries in the region."