I have shared deep concerns about potential violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen for several years now. This is why I have repeatedly called on the Government to immediately suspend the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia for use in the war on Yemen pending a comprehensive and independent investigation of all alleged war crimes.
The Court of Appeal judgement on 20 June 2019 shows that the Government wilfully disregarded the evidence behind these concerns. I believe we now need a full parliamentary or public inquiry to find out how that was allowed to happen, and which Ministers might have been responsible for breaches in the law.
I believe the judgement also shows beyond doubt why we need root-and-branch reform of our arms export rules so that these decisions are never again made by Ministers in such a careless and arbitrary way.
The Government has said it will not grant any new licences for arms exports that might be used in the conflict in Yemen. It must now also suspend all existing arms exports for use in the Yemen conflict until there has been a full and independent, UN-led investigation into all breaches of international humanitarian law.
The people of Yemen have suffered so much throughout this conflict and resolving it could not be more urgent. A political settlement is absolutely vital for the peace, security and stability of Yemen and the health and well-being of the Yemeni people.
The Government should end its support of the Saudi-led coalition’s conduct in the war and use all its influence to play its part in bringing about the peaceful, negotiated resolution that is so desperately needed.
Please find my article in The Scotsman talking about this issue and the situation in Iran.