Amnesty International France and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights jointly filed a complaint in a Paris court to force French customs to disclose records of arms exports to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The two non-governmental organizations (NGOs) released a statement on Thursday confirming that the case had been brought before the Paris Administrative Court on “Documents relating to arms sales in connection with the conflict in Yemen”.
“Given the considerable risk that French weapons will be used to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law against civilians in Yemen, the refusal to disclose this customs information constitutes a disproportionate interference with the fundamental right of the public to receive information”, Amnesty International said.
This lack of transparency is a major obstacle to the parliamentary, judicial and democratic control of French arms exports.
Both organizations argued that France continued to “Deliver war material and ensure maintenance and training” despite there being “Overwhelming evidence of attacks by the Saudi Arabia-UAE military coalition” in Yemen “Against civilian populations and infrastructure”.
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A Saudi-led coalition has been embroiled in the Yemen conflict since 2015, backing the government against the Iran-backed Houthis, with fighting dragging on for more than six years in what is considered a proxy war between Riyadh and Tehran.
In 2020, a UN report warned that military equipment supplied by Western countries was fueling the conflict, after international agency investigators said airstrikes against Yemen could constitute war crimes. .
French customs have so far not responded to the NGO press release.
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