Domestic accountability for international arms transfers: Law, policy and practice

Since the Saudi Arabia- and United Arab Emirates-led coalition began its armed intervention in Yemen in early 2015, it has been widely condemned for serious and repeated violation of international law, including suspected war crimes, using military equipment supplied by many of the world’s major arms manufacturers.

In response, lawyers, non-governmental organisations and activists in at least nine countries have launched a series of legal challenges to stop governments from arming the Yemen war. Almost all of the countries being challenged are parties to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which places an explicit legal obligation on them to avoid transferring arms that risk being used in breach of international law.

This briefing – the eighth in our ATT Expert Group series – examines, compares and contrasts ten separate legal challenges to stop the governments of the UK, US, France, Canada, Italy, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands and South Africa from continuing to supply arms into the Yemen war.

It also considers some of the broader points of law raised by this recent trend, including the implications it might have for the implementation of the ATT and whether the ATT itself might be a factor in this development.

Read the briefing here.

The briefing was launched, in cooperation with the Global Legal Action Network, the International Commission of Jurists and the Government of Netherlands, at a side-event for the seventh Conference of States Parties of the Arms Trade Treaty. Watch the launch webinar here.

Read other briefings in the ATT Expert Group series.

Read more on our work on the arms trade.