The arms contract between the UK government and Saudi Arabia have been ruled lawful by the High Court, after justices saw secret evidence.
The Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), which brought the case against the government, claimed the deal contravened UK humanitarian law. Saudi Arabia continues to use the British-made weapons in the Yemen conflict, where the UN says Saudi air strikes against Houthi rebels have resulted in thousands of civilian deaths.
However, after hearing “closed evidence, that will not be made public on grounds of national security, Lord Justice Burnett and Mr Justice Haddon-Cave found that the secretary of state’s decision to carry on the arms trade was not unlawful.
In a statement following the ruling, the group said:
“We’re disappointed in this verdict and will be pursuing an appeal process. We aim to fight it every step of the way”
Activist Symon Hill, who attended the High Court for the ruling, branded the use of closed evidence that will never be made public a “disgrace to democracy”.
James Lynch, Head of Arms Control and Human Rights at Amnesty International, commented:
“This is a deeply disappointing outcome which gives a green light to the UK authorities – and potentially Saudi Arabia’s other arms suppliers – to continue authorizing arms transfers to the Kingdom despite the clear risk they will be used to commit violations.”