MOSCOW (Sputnik) — In early February, the court began a judicial review of the continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia where the government was defending against the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), which hired a law firm to prove to court that UK arms should not be sold to Saudi Arabia as there was a clear risk of the arms being used to target civilians and violate human rights in war-torn Yemen.
The court ruled that the decision not to suspend or cancel arms sales to Saudi Arabia was "irrational or unlawful."
"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," Head of Arms Control and Human Rights James Lynch said.
Yemen has been suffering from a brutal conflict between the government and the Houthi movement backed by army units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh since 2014. In March 2015, the Saudi-led coalition of mostly Persian Gulf countries started carrying out airstrikes against the Houthis at the request of the Yemeni authorities.
The UK government has been blamed by humanitarian organizations, like the Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch for fueling the Yemeni conflict by supplying Saudi Arabia with arms. In late 2016, a parliamentary report urged for the suspension arms sales and accused the government of willfully ignoring their misuse.