UK 'selling arms' to Saudi Arabia despite court ban, new BAE report reveals

UK 'selling arms' to Saudi Arabia despite court ban, new BAE report reveals
The UK has been accused of continued arms sales to the Kingdom despite a court ruling to district the trade.
3 min read
21 June, 2020
The UK has been accused of continuing arms sales to the Kingdom [Getty]
The United Kingdom stands accused of continuing to sell arms to Saudi Arabia despite a court ruling effectively banning UK arms sales to the kingdom.

The judgement, which was handed down one year ago found it was “unlawful” for the government to have allowed the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen.

The kingdom is engaged in a proxy war that has created the biggest humanitarian crisis in recent history, according to the United Nations.

The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen has been accused of violating international humanitarian law.

Un experts have said the coalition may be responsible for war crimes.

At a news conference in London in March, Col Maliki reaffirmed the "coalition's commitment to the provisions and rules of international humanitarian law and to holding violators of the rules of engagement and violators of international humanitarian law - if any - in accordance with the laws and regulations of each country in the coalition", according to the official Saudi Press Agency.

The coalition had sent "files of the results of investigations of incidents of presence of a mistake and violation of the rules of engagement to the concerned countries", he said, adding that "the judicial authorities have begun the procedures of the trial".

The ruling prevented the UK government from approving new licenses to Saudi Arabia, and forced it to review decisions on existing ones.

Aerospace company BAE, the UK’s largest arms exporter to Saudi Arabia, found in its 2019 report that it continues to fulfil the 2018 Typhoon support services contract, Guardian reports.

In response a group of MPs, including international trade secretary Liz Truss, Labour shadow international trade secretary Emily Thornberry signed an open letter writing:

Read also: Yemen in Focus: HRW says UN move to remove Saudi-led coalition from child-killer blacklist 'shameful'

“We are left to assume that – despite being ordered to review these licences by the courts, and having 12 months to do so – your department has simply chosen not to comply.”

They said the government’s failure to comply “creates the illogical situation where a UK company that applies for a licence today will have that application rejected, but another company that was granted its licence prior to 20 June last year may export exactly the same arms without restriction”.

More than 100,000 people have been killed in the Yemen conflict, which was exacerbated in March 2015 when the Saudi-led coalition militarily intervened to fight the rebels.

On Monday, the United Nations was criticised for removing the Saudi-led coalition from a blacklist of warring parties responsible for the deaths and injuries of children, three years after it was first shamed for its devastating intervention in the Yemen war.

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