Today CAAT was at the Court of Appeal, challenging the Government’s decision to continue allowing arms sales to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen.
So much is at stake. After four years of war, the fighting has killed tens of thousands of people and millions of Yemenis also face starvation and disease as a result of the conflict.
UK-supplied weapons – aircraft, bombs and missiles – are playing a central role in the attacks. Ongoing UK support on the ground in Saudi Arabia is needed to keep the Royal Saudi Air Force flying. Stopping the arms sales could help stop the war.
Our challenge asks the UK Government to enforce its own rules. These rules say arms sales should not be allowed where there is a clear risk the items might be used in “serious violations of International Humanitarian Law.”
Yet, despite overwhelming evidence of such violations in Yemen, the government has licensed the sale of more than £4.7 billion of weapons to Saudi Arabia since the conflict began. Additional weapons are licensed under the secretive ‘Open Licence’ system, meaning the real figure may be much higher.
If arms export rules don’t prevent the use of UK weapons in bombing that has destroyed schools, hospitals, funerals, weddings and food supplies, then what would they prevent?
We hope this case will set a vital precedent and end UK complicity in this terrible war. The case will continue for another two days, until 11 April and it may be some weeks before we get a verdict. Meanwhile, thank you to everyone who has supported our ongoing challenge.
You can also view the legal documents.