British High Court: Saudi-Led Coalition in Yemen Has Upheld International Humanitarian Law

A judgment issued today by the British High Court of Justice rejected claims that the Saudi-led Coalition Supporting Legitimacy in Yemen has violated international humanitarian law. This ruling—based on extensive political and military engagement to determine Saudi Arabia’s conduct in Yemen—allows the UK to resume its arms sale to Saudi Arabia.

The court concluded:

“In conclusion, in our judgment, the open and closed evidence demonstrates that the Secretary of State was rationally entitled to conclude as follows: (i) the Coalition were not deliberately targeting civilians; (ii) Saudi processes and procedures have been put in place to secure respect for the principles of International Humanitarian Law; (iii) the Coalition was investigating incidents of controversy, including those involving civilian casualties; (iv) the Saudi authorities have throughout engaged in constructive dialogue with the UK about both its processes and incidents of concern; (v) Saudi Arabia has been and remains genuinely committed to compliance with International Humanitarian Law; and (vi) that there was no “clear risk” that there might be “serious violations” of International Humanitarian Law (in its various manifestations) such that UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia should be suspended or cancelled under Criterion 2c.”

To date, the Coalition has launched an independent assessment team, fostered active partnerships with relief organizations and focused on safeguarding Yemen’s urban centers as part of a concerted effort to uphold international humanitarian law.

Saudi Arabia remains the single largest donor of humanitarian aid to Yemen, contributing more than $900 million in relief, establishing more than 100 health facilities and supplying more than 350,000 gallon of fuel to 88 hospitals and 19 health facilities across the disaster-stricken nation.