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On the ground investigations in Yemen show patterns of attack in violation of international law, Mwatana for Human Rights said in a witness statement to the UK court, published today.

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Airstrikes by the Saudi/UAE-led Coalition are carried out using fighter jets sold by the UK and remnants of UK-manufactured weapons have been found at the sites of airstrikes.

Sana’a – London

In May 2021, Mwatana for Human Rights, with the support of Global Legal Action Network (GLAN), has intervened in an ongoing legal action brought in the High Court of England and Wales by the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT). The case challenges the UK government’s decision of July 7, 2020, to renew UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen. Mwatana filed a witness statement by Radhya Al Mutawakel, Co-founder and Chairperson of Mwatana, accompanied by detailed, on the ground investigations of several airstrikes which clearly showed patterns of violations of international law by the Saudi/UAE-led Coalition in Yemen. Mwatana also filed legal submissions explaining the significance of the contents of the witness evidence for the case.

The incidents listed in Mwatana’s witness statement involved airstrikes where remnants of Coalition weapons, including UK-manufactured weapons, were found on the ground. In addition to containing investigation summaries of recent airstrikes in 2020, the annexed evidence bundle included the letter and enclosures Mwatana sent to the UK government in August 2019 containing extensive information about Mwatana’s investigations of dozens of earlier airstrikes. The bundle also addressed a number of reports by the Coalition’s accountability mechanism, the Joint Incident Assessment Team (JIAT), highlighting Mwatana’s continued concerns about its credibility and accuracy. The intervention focused on attacks on civilians, their homes, and critical infrastructure, with the overall objective of demonstrating to the court that the UK government is not adequately scrutinizing the whole picture presented by the evidence. Mwatana maintains that the ongoing horrific human toll of these airstrikes, including the deaths of entire families, cannot be justified under the laws of war.

Mwatana hopes the court will carefully consider the witness statement and the accompanying evidence, bearing in mind the detailed, on the ground research that went into each incident. Mwatana is looking forward to the upcoming court hearing and hopes to see a decision that will bring Yemenis closer to justice.

“The incidents mentioned in the statement demonstrate a pattern of violations against civilians and civilian objects in Yemen. Despite this, the UK continues licensing arms for sale to Saudi Arabia when there is an evident risk that they might be used in similar incidents.” Radhya Al Mutawakel said.

“GLAN is proud to assist Mwatana in putting this vital evidence before the High Court. The quality of Mwatana’s investigations as a highly respected Yemeni organization are such that there is both a legal and moral imperative for the UK government to have to answer to it. UK arms are deeply implicated in widespread civilian harm in Yemen and the licensing of weapons sales ought to be halted” said Dearbhla Minogue, legal officer with Global Legal Action Network.

Notes to editors

GLAN (the Global Legal Action Network) pursues innovative international legal actions, challenging states and other powerful actors involved with human rights violations from outside the jurisdictions where individuals and communities suffer injustice. | | @glan_law | Media Contacts: Dr. Gearóid Ó Cuinn (Director) | | +447521203427.

Mwatana for Human Rights (Mwatana) is an independent Yemeni organization that advocates for human rights through the documentation of civilian harm, the provision of legal support to victims, and through advocacy and legal action. Mwatana has worked extensively to document civilian harm caused by all warring parties in Yemen. | Media Contacts: Ali Jameel (Accountability and Redress Director) | |+967772844655.