Britain’s opposition Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn has criticized a UK High Court ruling that allows London to continue arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Corbyn said on Monday the court may have provided a legal basis for the arms exports, but this does not mean the government is acting ethically. He made the comment in a parliamentary session where Prime Minister Theresa May welcomed the High Court judgment as a proof that the British export control regime is functioning properly. The development came after the High Court reviewed a plea against the country’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia in light of the fact that Riyadh is waging a bloody war against Yemen, deciding that the government’s weapons sales are not in contravention of the law.
The court had been studying the case lodged by the UK-based NGO ‘Campaign Against the Arms Trade’ since February. It issued its ruling on Monday. The NGO had also unsuccessfully sought an order to block export licenses for the multi-billion-pound arms with Saudi Arabia. Amnesty International has also condemned the court ruling as “a potentially deadly blow to Yemeni civilians.”
The human rights group said the ruling is deeply disappointing and leaves the UK open to aiding violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen. “The verdict is a deadly blow for Yemenis under attack from a Saudi Arabia-led coalition bolstered by UK-manufactured weapons,” said James Lynch, head of Arms Control and Human Rights at Amnesty. “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,” Lynch said. The United States has also been generously rewarding the kingdom with hefty arms deals during the invasion.
Both the UK and the US are lending intelligence and logistical support to the bombing campaign. Saudi Arabia has bombed hospitals, mosques, markets and other civilian infrastructure, and frequently carried out disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks that have killed and injured civilians.
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