Comment & analysis

UK High Court rules that government arms sales to Saudi Arabia are legal

10 July 2017

The UK High Court today handed down its judgement in the case brought by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) that the government was obliged by law not to allow arms exports to Saudi Arabia. 

The Court found in favour of the government, accepting its argument that there is not a clear risk that UK arms sold to Saudi Arabia might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law in the conflict in Yemen.

Responding to this judgement, which seems to fly in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Paul Murphy, Saferworld’s Executive Director, said:

“This is a dark day for the UK, as well as for the people of Yemen. At the same time that Britain has been arguing there is no military solution to the conflict and has been providing extensive aid to its victims, it has also been providing to one side in that conflict the means to wage war on a massive scale. The conflict has driven Yemen to the brink of man-made famine and into a significant cholera outbreak. Despite the decision of the Court, the government must acknowledge what the whole world can see, that supplying arms to conflict parties is pouring fuel on the flames of this catastrophe and therefore must stop.”