London, 20 June 2019 - The British Government must suspend the licences for the sales of arms to Saudi Arabia used in the war in Yemen. The landmark verdict has been issued this morning by the judges of the Royal Court of Justice in London. Solicitors of the well know firm Leigh Day won the case brought to the court by CAAT, Campaign against arms trade.
Solicitor Rosa Curling explains in the video the verdict favourable to the team led by QC Martin Chamberlain: "The verdict says the decision of the Secretary of State [for International Trade] on licences has been unlawful because the process has been done on an unlawful basis, the Secretary of State has to reconsider the decisions in relation to existing licences and in relation to the decision not to suspend licences. But on top of that we have and undertaking from the Secretary of State that no new licences would be granted in the meantime".
CAAT spokesperson, Andrew Smith said "Tens of thousands of people have been killed in a war supported by UK Government. Five billion pounds in bombs and jets have been spent for arms to Saudi used in Yemen creating an humanitarian catastrophe. This (the verdict) has been a brutal condemnation of UK foreign policy and a strong judgement against it". Asked by Talk Europe if the verdict is based on EU law, Smith answered "As long as UK is in the EU is bound by EU common position and there is no sign the UK government is going to stop that. However as the law stopped the UK government from awarding any other licence this (verdict) may have to be taken on board by other countries as the UK is not the only arms exporter in Europe".
While showing a copy of the verdict for the press, Martin Butcher, advisor on arms issues at Oxfam, said the immediate consequence of the verdict is UK will have to stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia
Labour Cooperative MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle stressed Yemen war is a British war with hundreds of thousands of victims killed with weapons made in UK. "There's still a long way to go" he said to journalists today referring to international implications in the Yemen proxy war.
Landmark verdict: UK Government must stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia used in the war in Yemen. CAAT wins the battle with Leigh Day at Royal Courts of Justice