WORLD

UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia 'lawful', top court says

UK ARMS SALES TO SAUDI ARABIA LAWFUL, TOP COURT SAYS

U.K. arms sales to Saudi Arabia are "lawful", the High Court ruled Monday.

The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) had demanded the judicial review of the British government's decision to carry on granting licenses for arms exports to Saudi Arabia over concerns for civilian deaths in Yemen.

"We have concluded that the material decisions of the secretary of state were lawful. We therefore dismiss the claim," Lord Justice Burnett said.

British and EU arms trade rules prohibit export licenses if there is a clear risk of using the equipment to breach international humanitarian law.

"The open and closed evidence demonstrated that the secretary of state was rationally entitled to conclude" the Saudi-led coalition does not deliberately target civilians and it properly investigate civilian casualties, the judges said.

The CAAT said it would appeal the ruling.

Saudi Arabia is U.K.'s biggest weapons client and it has bought more than £3 billion ($3.85 bn) of British arms in the last two years.

Saudi Arabia has led a coalition of Gulf nations in a campaign to end a Houthi-led insurgency in Yemen, since March 2015.

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