UK High Court confirms Saudi Arabia’s respect for the principles of International Humanitarian Law


Judicial review on UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia 

The High Royal Court of Justice in UK has dismissed the claim brought by the Campaign Against Arms Trade against the UK Secretary of State for International Trade

There are a number of key conclusions made by Lord Justice Burnett and Mr. Justice Haddon-Cave in their judicial review. In summary, the Court held that “…the Open and Closed evidence demonstrated that the Secretary of State was rationally entitled to conclude as follows:

  1. the Coalition were not deliberately targeting civilians;
  2. Saudi processes and procedures have been put in place to secure respect for the principles of International Humanitarian Law;
  3. the Coalition was investigating incidents of controversy, including those involving civilian casualties;
  4. the Saudi authorities has throughout engaged in constructive dialogue with the UK about both its processes and incidents of concern;
  5. Saudi Arabia has been, and remains, genuinely committed to compliance with International Humanitarian Law; and
  6. there was no ‘real risk’ that there might be ‘serious violations’ of International Humanitarian Law (in its various manifestations) such that UK arm sales to Saudi Arabia should be suspended or cancelled”

In its conclusion, the review also notes the Saudis continue to seek to improve their process and increase the professionalism of their Armed Forces. It also states that Saudis have been receptive to high-level military visits from the UK and have shown willingness to learn from UK experience and take on board UK advice.

The full judicial review can be read here. A summary of the judicial review can be read here

  • July 13, 2017