15 January 2016

Leigh Day: Britain's sale of arms to Saudi Arabia violates international law

Law firm Leigh Day has accused the British government of violating international law by enabling the export of British-made arms to Saudi Arabia, which may have been used to kill civilians.

The trade is lucrative, with almost £6bn worth of British arms being licensed to the Gulf state since Prime Minister David Cameron took office in 2010.

Call for suspension of trade

The letter was sent on behalf of Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) and condemns the targeting of civilians and non-combatants in Yemen, as well as the targeting of facilities vital for sustaining basic humanitarian needs. It called on the government to confirm if it accepts there is concrete evidence that Saudi Arabia’s conduct in Yemen has breached international law and verify if sale of arms to the Gulf state will be suspended until a full review of their legality is carried out.

Threat of legal action

Leigh Day asked for a full response to its letter within two weeks. Failure to do so will spark legal proceedings against the government, forcing it to explain in the high court what it has done to ensure British arms are not being used in violation of international law.

Refusal to suspend military licenses

Despite the gravity of the allegations and the fact they are supported by organisations including the European Parliament, the British government has refused to suspend military licenses governing arms’ exports to the Gulf state. It has also failed to call for an inquiry into whether Saudi Arabia has violated international law. Source: RT