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  • Activists protest UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia in London.

    Activists protest UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia in London. | Photo: Reuters

Published 17 September 2019

The decision by the court came in June after the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) complained that the weapon sales were against international humanitarian law. 

The U.K. government apologized for selling weapons to Saudi Arabia breaching a court ruling against arms sale to the kingdom. 

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International trade secretary Liz Truss said Monday she informed the Court of Appeal of two "inadvertent breaches,” in a letter to MP Graham Jones, chair of the Committees on Arms Export Controls. The court ruled against weapon sales because the weapons could have been used in the war in Yemen. 

"During the course of this investigation, all decisions made on licences for the export of military goods to KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) and its Coalition partners will be subject to additional compliance processes to ensure that no further licences are issued in error for possible use in the conflict in Yemen," Truss wrote. 

According to Tuss, the sales were worth US$545,150. 

The decision by the court came in June after the London-based Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) complained that the weapon sales were against international humanitarian law because the weapons are used against civilians in Yemen. The court said the government failed to assess whether there was a risk of violation of international humanitarian laws. 

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have been leading a war against Yemen’s Houthi rebels to restore their preferred government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi. Since the war started in 2015, more than 50,000 people were killed, millions are suffering from famine. 

The Labour Party rejected Tuss’s apology Monday saying that it was not enough. 

"The people of the United Kingdom do not want to be complicit in fuelling the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and the Secretary of State must immediately suspend all arms sales to Saudi Arabia," Shadow Trade Secretary Barry Gardiner said in a statement. 

"Thousands of people have been killed in this war and it is staggering that the Trade Secretary thinks an apology will get her off the hook."

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