Groups take UK government to court over arms exports to Israel | ICJP
Legal action has been taken
Today (≈2023-12-08), we announce that together with our partners, we will be filing a case against the UK government at the English High Court of Justice. This comes after we have written to the Secretary of State for international trade, asking her to suspend all weapons export licenses to Israel. Under the government’s strategic licensing criteria, weapons may not be exported where there is a clear risk that they may be used in violations of international law.
The UK must demonstrate its compliance with its obligations and responsibilities under international law in all situations. There is no place for double standards, selectivity, and hypocrisy in respecting and adhering to the rules of international law.
(The Ramallah-based Al-Haq, Global Legal Action Network GLAN, and the International Center of Justice for Palestinians ICJP. )
Ahmed Abofoul (Al-Haq)
We will be filing a case against the UK government at the English High Court, asking the court to order the government to suspend all licenses for the sale of arms to Israel. UK law provides that where there’s a clear risk of UK weapons being used in international law violations, the government must suspend arms licenses.
(We have written several letters to the UK government, ) however, they have confirmed to media outlets and an open parliament that they have no plans to stop arms exports to Israel.
We’ve heard warnings that we may be witnessing a second Nakba, the forcible displacement of the Gaza population and genocide. We’ve heard representatives of the Israeli state openly indicating their intention to commit and continue to commit these actions.
Let us be clear, the law demands that as soon as there is a clear risk of UK weapons being used in war crimes, the government is required to suspend arms licenses. As soon as there’s a serious risk that genocide might occur, the government is required to take action to prevent that.
It’s overwhelmingly clear on the evidence that we have that we’ve long passed this threshold of risk. It’s utterly untenable and irrational for the government to conclude that no such risk exists and continue to allow arms sales to Israel.
The UK has duties under the Genocide Convention to take all reasonable measures to prevent genocide from taking place. A number of different organizations have now said that there’s a plausible and credible case based on powerful factual evidence that Israel is attempting to commit, if not actively committing, the crime of genocide in the OPT and specifically against the Palestinian population in Gaza.
As a state party to the Genocide Convention, the UK must refrain from not only taking an active part in the crime of genocide, but must prevent the commission of genocide by others using all means reasonably available and within its power. And this obligation arises as soon as the state is aware that there is a real risk that genocide might occur. The UK is now on notice.
But not only is the UK government failing to prevent genocide, but it is likely to be actively complicit by continuing to supply weapons to Israel in its ongoing assault on the people of Gaza.
For decades, Israel has benefited from complete impunity from the international community.
And I think that we can see this current situation as a result of this lack of impunity, this total impunity and the lack of accountability that the international community has placed on Israel.
And we call on the government to take action immediately to suspend all its licenses and to hold Israel accountable for its obligations under international law.
Ilora Choudhury ICJP
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Last updated on 2023-12-25 by w3admin