Law & Politics

Berlin Arms Sale to Riyadh ‘Violates International Law’

Karl Justen, the head of Gemeinsame Konferenz Kirce und Entwicklung (GKKE),  a non profit ecumenical has stated that the German government has breached international law by continuing it’s supply of arms to Saudi Arabia. This is despite the fact that the German foreign Minister, Heico Mass,  In late October, had underscored that Berlin should suspend approval of further arms sales to Riyadh until the murder of the Saudi Arabian Journalist, Jamal Khashoggi has been fully investigated.

While presenting a report on German weapon exports to reporters on Monday, Justin addressed the issue of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, which to him is “still waging a war in Yemen with grave violations of international law”. According to him,  “The UN is talking about a humanitarian catastrophe involving almost 20 million people. The maritime blockade of Yemen, which runs counter to international law, plays a significant role in this. I don’t rule out that German patrol boats are involved in this naval blockade. The German government’s arms exports add to the humanitarian catastrophe,” Justin further stated that the supply of arms to Saudi Arabia violate “the rules of arms trade that are mandatory from the point of view of international law and contradict the EU’s common position on the export of military goods and technology, as well as the law on arms control.” To him, the German government does not comply with it’s own principles and key provisions on the prevention of wars and the struggle for peace.

Blaming Berlin for failing to stick to the dialogue on armaments policy initiated by former German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, Justen said that “GKKE demands that the government should immediately withdraw all previously issued permits for arms supplies to the military coalition and finally begin to implement a restrictive export policy in the field of armaments.”

German weapon exports have reported that Berlin issued permits for arms supplies to Saudi Arabia worth about 1.54 billion euros ($1.74bn).

In October, the new German government issued a total of 87 arms export permits, including those related to patrol boats and air defence systems for Saudi Arabia amounting to 254 million euros ($288mln).

The report also singled out the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. This was followed by the German government suspending the supply of weapons to Riyadh, in a ban that was extended just for two months.

The presentation of the report came amid a complicated situation in Yemen, which has been engulfed in an ongoing armed conflict — between the government forces led by President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and the Houthi rebels. The Saudi-led coalition has been carrying out airstrikes against the Houthis at Hadi’s request since March 2015.


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Written by: Ewaoluwa Olasoji

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