Campaign against Arms Trade, R(on the application of) v The Secretary of State for International Trade  EWHC 1754 (Admin) – read judgment
A challenge to the legality of UK’s sale of arms to Saudi Arabia has failed. The claim sprang from the conflict in Yemen and the border areas of Saudi Arabia. It focussed on airstrikes conducted by a coalition led by Saudi Arabia in support of the legitimate government of Yemen against the Shia-led Houthi rebellion. UK arms export policy states that the government must deny licenses for sale of arms to regimes if there is a ‘clear risk’ that the arms ‘might’ be used in ‘a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law. This in turn is based on the EU Common Position 2008/944/CFSP on arms export control, which explicitly rules out the authorising of arms licences by Member States in these “clear risk” circumstances.
The claimant argued that the body of evidence available in the public domain not only suggested but dictated the conclusion that such a clear risk exists. It was therefore no longer lawful to license the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia.
The High Court dismissed their claim. The CAAT intends to appeal this decision. Continue reading