“Made in Spain, bombed in Yemen”, denounces to the ICC to investigate the possible responsibility of Airbus Defence and Space and Spanish public authorities in alleged war crimes
European and Yemeni organizations denounce to the International Criminal Court to investigate the possible responsibility of Airbus Defence and Space and Spanish public authorities in alleged war crimes in Yemen
Most of the indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks on civilian homes, markets, hospitals and schools in Yemen are perpetuated by the military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – two of the largest customers of the European arms industry. Despite the many documented violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen, countries such as Spain, Germany, France, Italy and the UK continue to export arms, components and spare parts to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as providing maintenance, training and support services.
Setting a precedent by denouncing arms exports, a communication (complaint) on the role of European arms companies and government actors in the situation in Yemen was submitted jointly to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the 11th of December 2019. The complaint calls on the ICC to investigate the potential implication of alleged war crimes committed by the Coalition. With this unprecedented legal action, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and its partners in Spain, the Delàs Centre for Peace Studies, bring to the ICC companies and authorities that have authorized and exported arms to the Coalition in the war in Yemen.
The denunciation has been carried out with the work and joint research of the ECCHR, with its partner organizations: Mwatana for Human Rights in Yemen, Amnesty International, the Campaign Against Arms Trade (United Kingdom), Rete Disarmo (Italy) and the Centro Delàs de Estudios por la Paz (Spain).
“A war-torn Yemen is suffering from what the UN has called the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time, which has cost the lives of nearly 100,000 civilians. With this legal action, the ECCHR and our partners aim to bring potential responsible parties for serious violations of international humanitarian law that could constitute war crimes to justice, but also to demonstrate the need to stop arms exports to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which fuel the armed conflict“. This was explained by the legal advisor of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), Linde Bryk, this morning at the press conference held in Barcelona to make public in Spain the communication made to the International Criminal Court, where the focus was on the contents of the case involving arms companies and government officials in Spain.
As understood by the entities that have promoted this denunciation process, the Coalition depends on the following military products manufactured by European companies: the Typhoon and Tornado fighter planes, indispensable for air combat, are the result of joint productions that include several European companies, BAE, Airbus Defence and Space GmbH (Germany), Airbus Defence and Space S.A. (Spain) and Leonardo for the Typhoon, as well as Leonardo, BAE, Airbus, and Panavia Gmbh (Germany) for the Tornado.
Made in Spain weapons in the Yemen War
As for the Spanish sector, an investigation is requested on the exports of military aircraft and spare parts to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt since 2015. Specifically, this involves A-330 MRTT refuelling aircraft, the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Tornado fighter. All of these exports involve the Spanish branch of the Airbus Group, Airbus Defence and Space.
“Saudi Arabia is one of the main destinations for Spanish weapons. Since the beginning of the war in Yemen in 2015, the Spanish state has exported arms worth more than one billion euros. The exporting arms companies and the government authorities that approve their export are jointly responsible for their use in combat and against civilians. It is time to demand responsibility and to bring to justice those actors who are benefiting at the expense of the rights of those suffering from war“, said Jordi Calvo, researcher and coordinator of the Delàs Centre for Peace Studies.
The Eurofighter is partially manufactured in Illescas (Toledo) and the supply jet is entirely produced in Getafe (Madrid). The Saudi Arabian air force has dozens of Eurofighters that have been manufactured and maintained in Spain and at least six A330s that are 100% made in Spain.
Over the past four years (2015-2018), Spain has authorised arms exports to Saudi Arabia for a total value of 1,248 million euros, and approved export licences to the United Arab Emirates for a total value of 342 million euros.
“The investigation is crucial to provide data and evidence to enable effective denunciation and demand responsibilities, especially when working with open data to which everyone has access,” said Pol Pareja, a journalist at eldiario.es involved in the project “The Fate of Spanish Weapons”.
As evidence of these facts, the Communication presents evidence of war crimes committed through 28 air strikes carried out since 2015. These attacks have targeted hospitals, schools, facilities, civilian buildings and homes, as well as cultural heritage.
“The air strikes carried out by the coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the Emirates have caused terrible destruction in Yemen. The question is: is it possible to carry out these attacks without the weapons produced and exported by European arms companies and without the approval of sales licences by the European authorities? After five years of war, the countless Yemeni victims deserve a reliable investigation into all those responsible for the crimes of which they have been victims, including those potentially complicit”, denounced Ali Jameel, an investigator and activist with the Yemeni human rights organization Mwatana for Human Rights, which has documented the evidence contained in the communication submitted to the International Criminal Court.
The participation of the Centre Delàs d’Estudis per la Pau in this action of denunciation has been possible thanks to the support of the Agència Catalana de Cooperació al Desenvolupament (ACCD).
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