CAAT success in legal challenge over Saudi arms deals

Blog by CAAT

On 4 May, the British court of appeal granted permission for the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) to appeal the legality of British arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

CAAT took its legal case to the court of appeal on 12 April for a one day hearing in an attempt to overturn a high court judgment which allows the UK government to continue to export arms to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen.

On 4 May, two court of appeal judges, lord justice Irwin and lord justice Flaux, granted permission to appeal, and the case will be heard by the court of appeal in the months ahead.

For more than three years the government has refused to stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia – despite overwhelming evidence that UK weapons are being used in violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen.

'Given the evidence we have heard and the volume of UK-manufactured arms exported to Saudi Arabia, it seems inevitable that any violations of international humanitarian and human rights law by the coalition have involved arms supplied from the UK. This constitutes a breach of our own export licensing criteria.' – Parliament's International Development and Business, Innovation and Skills Committees, October 2016

Ignoring massive public pressure to stop the arms sales, the government has instead done everything it can to maintain its relationship with Saudi Arabia, the UK's biggest arms customer.

We can’t and won’t let this stand.

The devastation caused by the Saudi-led attacks on Yemen continues. More than 10,000 have been killed; millions more face starvation and disease and a child dies every 10 minutes from preventable causes.

The complicity of the UK is undeniable. The government itself admits that UK-made combat aircraft, missiles and bombs are being used in the bombing. Instead of stopping arms sales to Saudi Arabia it has licensed the sales of an astonishing £4.6 billion more weapons since the start of the attacks on Yemen.

Topics: Arms trade