UK Questioned With Breaching International Humanitarian Law For Recent Saudi Arabia-Yemen Attack
Apr 14, 2016 04:21 AM EDT
The attacks of Saudi Arabia over Yemen recently shed light on another character in the story and that is United Kingdom's weaponries. According to news reports, UK's weapons and in turn the British government are challenged regarding the issue of the breach on international humanitarian laws.
According to The Guardian, UK has legally licensed the sale of £6.7 billion worth of weaponry to Saudi Arabia, including an estimated £2.8 billion worth and this is on light of the recent feud between Saudi Arabia and Yemen which kicked off in March 2015.
The weapons, which further gave the capability to Saudi Arabia in attacking Yemen, are now in question as to whether UK did their due diligence in ensuring that they are not breaching any international humanitarian laws.
In fact, Phillipe Sands QC of Matrix Chambers is challenging the idea saying that the civilian casualties caused by Saudi Arabia towards Yemen are putting UK in a bad light in terms of supplying the weaponries, the publication reports.
Furthermore, Sands urges that UK should be inquiring on the usage of the weapons that Saudi Arabia had been purchasing since last year. The statement of Sands then pushed the UK government to send a memorandum, as per the news agency, saying that Saudi Arabia are not targeting civilians.
"In carrying out analysis the Ministry of Defence had access to a wide range of information, including Saudi-led coalition operational reporting data, imagery and other reports and assessments including UK defence intelligence reports and some battle damage reports," the memorandum said, as per the news outlet.
In addition the memorandum stressed that "The government is currently satisfied that extant licences for Saudi Arabia are compliant with export licensing criteria."
To disprove the claims even more, David Cameron explicitly denied the involvement of their government with the Saudi-Yemen feud in a statement last January. "Just to be absolutely clear about our role: we're not a member of the Saudi-led coalition, British military personnel are not directly involved in the Saudi-led coalition's operations, personnel are not involved in carrying out strikes, directing or conducting operations in Yemen or selecting targets and we're not involved in the Saudi targeting decision making process," Cameron said, as per the publication.
Meanwhile, the lawyer questioning the British involvement, Sands, reportedly spoke in his capacity as a barrister but is also a law professor at University College London, Middle East Eye reports.
In other news, the Human Rights Watch revealed that the two strikes in the northern village of Mastaba last March believed to be U.S.-supplied bombs used by Saudi Arabia to Yemen that "caused indiscriminate or foreseeably disproportionate loss of civilian life, in violation of the laws of war," the group said in a statement obtained by the news agency.