11/12/2019

Press Conference – “Made in Europe, bombed in Yemen. How the ICC could tackle the responsibility of arms exporters and government officials”

In Yemen, all parties to the armed conflict are responsible for the commission of serious violations of international humanitarian law, some of which may amount to war crimes. Yet, most of the indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks on civilian homes, markets, hospitals and schools are carried out by the military coalition (the “Coalition”) led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – two of the largest customers of the European arms industry.

The arms exports to Coalition members are a flagrant example of non-compliance with national and international arms export control laws. Despite many documented violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen, countries like Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK continue to export arms, components and spare parts as well as providing maintenance, training and support services to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The direct perpetrators of potential war crimes committed in Yemen – Coalition officials and military personnel – might not be prosecuted at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at this point in time. However, their suppliers – arms corporations and state officials in Europe – potentially bear criminal responsibility.

Under which circumstances may managers be liable under international criminal law when exported arms are used for war crimes? How can government officials be held accountable for their role in armed conflicts? Is the ICC a forum to tackle the individual criminal liability for arms exports under the Rome Statute?

To discuss these questions, the European Center for Constitutional and Human RightsMwatana for Human RightsCentre d’Estudis per la Pau J.M. DelàsCampaign Against Arms Trade,Rete Italiana per il Disarmo and Amnesty International (International Secretariat) organized a press conference in The Hague this comming Thursday 12th. Speakers include:

Radhya Almutawakel, Mwatana for Human Rights, Mwatana (Yemen)

Linde Bryk, European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, ECCHR (Germany)

Jordi Calvo Rufanges, Centre d’Estudis per la Pau J.M. Delàs (Spain)

Sam Perlo-Freemann, Campaign Against Arms Trade (United Kingdom)

Francesco Vignarca, Rete Italiana per il Disarmo (Italy)

Patrick Wilcken, Amnesty International (International Secretariat)

Moderated by: Miriam Saage-Maaß, ECCHR

When: 10:00am, Thursday, 12 December 2019

Where: at Internationaal Perscentrum Nieuwspoort, Lange Poten 10, 2511 CL Den Haag (The Hague)

The press conference will be live streamed via Twitter @ECCHRBerlin.