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Court case filed against French customs after officials refuse to disclose records of arms exports

Court case filed against French customs after officials refuse to disclose records of arms exports
Amnesty International France and the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights have jointly filed a case in a Paris court to force French customs to release records of exports of weapons to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The two non-governmental organizations (NGOs) released a statement on Thursday confirming that the case had been launched in the Administrative Court of Paris over “documents relating to arms sales in connection with the conflict in Yemen.”

“Given the considerable risk that French weapons are used to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law against civilians in Yemen, the refusal to disclose this customs information constitutes a disproportionate interference with the fundamental right of the public to receive information,” Amnesty International stated.

This lack of transparency is a major obstacle to both parliamentary, judicial, and democratic control over French arms exports.

The two organizations have argued that France has continued to “deliver war materials and provide maintenance and training” despite there being “overwhelming evidence of attacks committed by the Saudi Arabian-UAE military coalition” within Yemen “against civilian populations and infrastructure.”

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A Saudi-led coalition has been involved in the conflict in Yemen since 2015, supporting the government against the Iran-backed Houthis, with the fighting dragging on for more than six years in what’s seen as a proxy war between Riyadh and Tehran.

In 2020, a UN report warned that military equipment provided by Western nations was fueling the conflict, after investigators from the international agency declared that airstrikes that had been launched against Yemen could amount to war crimes.

French customs has not so far responded to the statement from the NGOs.

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