Court orders UK to review Saudi arms exports approvals

20 June 2019

The UK’s Court of Appeal has ruled that the UK failed to carry out the full extent of its legal obligations in the granting of licences to export military equipment to Saudi Arabia.

In a judgement released on 20 June the court overturned a decision made in 2017 by the country’s High Court to dismiss an action brought by the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) by accepting its argument that the UK had not complied with the requirement that it systematically assess the risk that exported equipment may be used in violations of humanitarian law.

Although the court was satisfied that the UK has “consistently engaged closely with Saudi Arabia in an attempt to avoid breaches of international humanitarian law and to minimise or avoid civilian casualties in the Yemen conflict”, it concluded that this alone was not sufficient to grant export licences.

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