First victory the Saudi cargo “of shame” Bahri Yanbu diverted could not load the Caesar guns in the port of Le Havre

10 05 2019

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "bahri yanbu"

PRESS RELEASE

Paris, the 10th of May 2019

 

Today, May 10, 2019, the Saudi cargo ship Bahri Yanbu didn’t load the 8 Caesar guns of the national company Nexter. ACTION SECURITE ETHIQUE REPUBLICAINES (ASER) and Action des Chrétiens pour l’Abolition de la Torture (ACAT) had filed a summary judgment with the Paris Administrative Court on 9 May 2019.

While it is surprising to note that the rejection of the interim release order introduced by ACAT for a reason of « absence of imminent danger » in a war that killed nearly 100,000 people, the court nevertheless recognises the harm to life that would be caused by the transfer of this war material.

However, this urgency is confirmed by the worsening humanitarian situation in Yemen. A report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) estimates the number of deaths at more than 230,000 by the end of 2019, including more than 140,000 children under the age of 5 if the conflict continues with such intensity

This decision, which we regret, in no way prejudges the solution that will be brought by the Paris Administrative Court to the suspension injunction introduced by ASER on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 and even less to the appeal for excess of power filed on May 7, 2018.

The recent publication by the independent media Disclose, which proves that the French government was aware of the use in Yemen of French weapons sold to the coalition, persuaded us of the urgency of this referral.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, who chairs the Interministerial Commission for the Study of War Material Exports, is directly responsible for these exports and is accountable to parliamentarians and citizens for the violation of France’s international commitments and specifically Article 6 of the Arms Trade Treaty.

ASER has been granted ECOSOC Special Consultative Status at the United Nations

ASER is a member of the International Action Network on small arms

Contacts : http://aser-asso.org

For interview requests or participation in a program on the issue of weapons/ human rights : Benoît Muracciole : +337 72 33 40 45





La responsabilité des ministres et du Président de la République Emmanuel Macron est engagée par les livraisons d’armes dans la guerre au Yémen

8 05 2019





French arms sales: the government no longer stops despite war crimes in Yemen

7 05 2019

MBZ Macron

Today, Tuesday, May 7, 2019, the independent media Disclose informs us that the Saudi flagged cargo ship Bahri Yabun is due to arrive tomorrow, Wednesday, May 8, in Le Havre to load Caesar guns produced by Nexter, a company owned by the French government.

If this information is accurate, for Action Sécurité Ethique Républicaines (ASER) – which has filed an urgente procedure in its appeal pending before the Paris Administrative Court – the French goverment will be in flagrant breach of Article 6 (paras 2 and 3) of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

Indeed, since 2016, the first reports of United Nations experts and NGOs have regularly denounced serious violations of international human rights law and the 1949 Geneva Conventions. It is no longer a question of risks of use (Article 7) but of potential uses of French weapons (Article 6(3)).

The French government would therefore continue to violate its international commitments « in full knowledge of the facts » at a time when the report of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) speaks of more than 230,000 deaths to come for this conflict at the end of 2019[1].

Neither the French Head of Government, Edouard Philippe, nor the Head of State, Emmanuel Macron, can ignore the reports of the United Nations and NGOs that regularly denounce serious violations of international human rights law and the 1949 Geneva Conventions.

The repeated negations of the Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly contrast with the evidence of the war revealed by Disclose: French weapons are involved in war crimes in Yemen.

It is unacceptable that on our behalf the French government is adding war to war in this way, against all the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council since 2016 on Yemen.

ASER has special ECOSOC consultative status at the United Nations
ASER is a member of the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA)

[1] if the war keep the same intensity : http://www.arabstates.undp.org/content/rbas/en/home/library/crisis-response0/assessing-the-impact-of-war-on-development-in-yemen-.html

 





ACTION SECURITE ETHIQUE REPUBLICAINES introduces an urgent procedure to stop the sale of French weapons involved in war crimes in Yemen

6 05 2019

EMMBS

PRESS RELEASE

Today, May 6, 2019, ACTION SECURITE ETHIQUE REPUBLICAINES (ASER) filed for interim relief in its appeal before the Paris Administrative Court. ASER calls for the suspension of arms transfers to the countries of the coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, responsible for war crimes, or even crimes against humanity, in Yemen.

The recent publication by the independent media Disclose, which proves that the French government was aware of the use in Yemen of French weapons sold to the coalition, persuaded us of the urgency of this referral.

The Minister of the Armed Forces continued to deny the facts before the Senate on April 30, justifying the continuation of arms sales to fight Al Qaeda.  We remind Florence Parly that ASER has informed the Presidency since 2016 that the war has strengthened Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in particular. The repeated refusal to set up a parliamentary committee of inquiry strengthens our legal approach for ASER.

This urgency is also confirmed by the worsening humanitarian situation in Yemen. A report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) estimates the number of deaths at more than 230,000 by the end of 2019, including more than 140,000 children under the age of 5 if the conflict continues with such intensity.

It is also on the basis of this latest information that the US Senate voted, on Thursday, May 2, for the 3rd time against his government’s military support for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates by 53 votes in favour and 45 against. This is despite President Trump’s announcement that the United States is withdrawing from the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

ASER has special ECOSOC consultative status at the United Nations

ASER is an IANSA member

Contacts : http://aser-asso.org

For interview requests or participation in a program on the issue of weapons/ human rights : Benoît Muracciole : +337 72 33 40 45





French arms sales: the government’s repeated lies in its involvement in the war in Yemen

16 04 2019

ASER_HD

Today Disclose independent media provided evidence that the French government was informed of the use in Yemen of French weapons sold to the coalition: Leclerc tanks, arrow shells, Mirage 2000-9, Cobra radar, Aravis tanks, A330 MRTT tankers, Cougar and Dauphin helicopters, Caesar cannons…

ASER reserves the right to introduce an emergency procedure as part of its appeal pending before the Paris Administrative Court.

ASER welcomes the growing interest of the French media in the serious humanitarian crisis in Yemen. However, we regret that the media do not address, as we presented in our complaint to the Administrative Tribunal, the fact that France, a party to the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, violates article 6 because it sells arms to countries of the coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates responsible for war crimes:

«  A State Party shall not authorize any transfer of conventional arms…, if it has knowledge at the time of authorization that the arms or items would be used in the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, attacks directed against civilian objects or civilians protected as such, or other war crimes as defined by international agreements to which it is a Party. »

Before bringing the matter before the administrative court, ASER had alerted the French government many times, but this did not prevent it from supplying the coalition countries with more than €10 billion worth of weapons and authorising exports for more than €30 billion worth of weapons in 2018.

The scandal is all the more important because since last year the demands of the deputies – Sébastien Nadot (April 2018), Bastien Lachaud (July 2018) and more recently Alexis Corbière (February 2019) – to open an investigation into France’s arms sales have been blocked by the President of the French Republic.

ASER has special ECOSOC consultative status at the United Nations

ASER is a member of the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA)

Contacts : http://aser-asso.org

For interview requests or participation in a program on the issue of weapons: Benoît Muracciole : +337 72 33 40 45





The Merkel government says NO to the involvement of German weapons in the massacre of the Yemeni population

29 03 2019

ASER_HD

Yesterday, Thursday 28 March, the German government extended the suspension of its arms sales to Saudi Arabia until 30 September. This decision is in line with Germany’s international commitments, including the Arms Trade Treaty, in one of the most horrific wars of the early 21st century.

Action Sécurité Ethique Républicaines (ASER) welcomes this decision as a clear response to the moral bankruptcy of the British and French governments. The latter had put pressure on the Merkel government by prioritising the protection of the European defence industry over the protection of the millions of Yemenis living in humanitarian emergency as a result of the war.

The ceasefire was again violated by an air attack by the coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on 26 March. The missile exploded less than 50 metres from Kitaf Field Hospital, located about 100 kilometres north of Sana’a. He killed 7 people, including two children.

Despite this accumulation of grave violations of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, France, Great Britain and the United States continue to fuel this war by selling weapons to those countries responsible for war crimes, or even crimes against humanity.

The blindness of these governments was further illustrated by a new statement by British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt stating: « The crisis in Yemen will not be resolved by stopping British arms exports ». This archaic vision of building peace and security is being realized in a humanitarian disaster where 85,000 children under the age of 5 and more than 50,000 people have died in this conflict.

For the first time in the history of arms exports to France, Action Sécurité Ethique Républicaines (ASER) brought an action before the administrative court to request the suspension of French arms exports to countries that operate militarily in Yemen because they violate Article 6 of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

ASER has special ECOSOC consultative status at the United Nations,

ASER is a member of the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA),

ASER promotes the respect of human rights in the transfers and use of weapons, particularly by the police and security services





“STOP ARMING YEMEN – THE VIEW FROM PARIS”

2 03 2019

A 330 MRTT 2

All parties involved in the war in Yemen continue to plunge the population into what the United Nations Secretary General has denounced as « the planet’s worst humanitarian crisis.” One estimate put the death toll at nearly 60,000 since 2016. Hostilities between the Saudi Arabia-led Coalition and the Houthi and other armed groups, have become increasingly muddled as loyalties have shifted, armed groups and militia proliferated and factions fragmented. The Coalition includes Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates. It supports the beleaguered Yemen government and its militia.Despite a fragile ceasefire agreed in December, clashes have continued, as have attacks on civilians by Yemeni government militia, the Coalition forces and the armed groups.

 

Mobilization by civil society and calls by parliamentarians in many countries following reports of civilian atrocities by NGO, media and UN experts of atrocities have put pressure on governments to stop the flow of all arms that would be used in Yemen. Shock at the brazen assassination of exiled Saudi Arabian journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, by a Saudi state murder squad on 2 October 2018 heightened such calls. In response, States such as Austria, Denmark, Finland, Flanders, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland have announced they will suspend arms exports to Saudi Arabia. This suggests that some governments are beginning to accept responsibility to take measures to ensure respect of international law, particularly that of human rights and international humanitarian law (IHL). However, the United States, France, Italy, Canada and the United Kingdom governments continue as the main suppliers of war material to the Saudi Arabia-Led Coalition and the United States and the United Kingdom, among other States, continue to advise the Coalition.

 

According to a detailed report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Group of Experts in August 2018, the Coalition has continued a pattern of air strikes and military operations causing most of the documented civilian casualties in Yemen. In the past three years, such air strikes using precision munitions have hit residential areas, markets, funerals, weddings, detention facilities, civilian boats and even medical facilities. The use in some cases of “double strikes” close in time, which affect first responders, raises grave concern. The UN Experts Group report accused the Saudi-led coalition of routinely having failed to consult its own “no-strike list” of more than 30,000 sites in Yemen, including refugee camps and hospitals. The Group also said the Saudi Air Force had not cooperated with investigators about its targeting procedures. Similar findings were reported from a UN Security Council panel of experts on Yemen in January 2018.

 

The mounting evidence indicates that these actions are repeatedly violating the fundamental principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution when conducting hostilities, acts which constitute serious violations of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, and may amount to war crimes and even crimes against humanity. Unicef’s Middle East and North Africa director, Geert Cappelaere, said: “Not enough has changed for children in Yemen since the Stockholm agreement on 13 December 2018. Every day since, eight children have been killed or injured. Most of the children killed were playing outdoors with their friends or were on their way to or from school” (The Guardian, 26 February 2019).

 

At the same time, the UN calculated that in 2018 nearly 60% of the aid to alleviate suffering in Yemen came from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the US. The UK is also now stepping up its aid to Yemen. The UN says about 22 million people out of a population of 29 million need help to secure food this year in Yemen, including nearly 10 million who are just a step away from famine. Nearly 240,000 are facing “catastrophic levels of hunger.” More than 250 humanitarian organisations are operating in the country.The UN Experts Group said that millions of civilians were also suffering “devastating effects” from the coalition’s arbitrary restrictions on shipping and air travel because food, medicines and fuel were needed to fend off starvation and diseases. The Coalition’s screening of ships was supposed to prevent arms smuggling to the armed groups but had become a “de facto blockade’ while the UN searches had found no weapons on ships.

 

The United States, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom are signatories to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). As such they are obliged to respect its object and purpose which is to establish the highest possible common international standards for improving the regulation of the international trade in conventional arms, and to reduce human suffering. Moreover, France, Italy and the United Kingdom are legally bound as State Parties to the ATT to respect all the obligations under the Treaty. Those legal obligations include a duty to prohibit any arms transfers if their State knows that the arms would be used for such violations or international crimes.  They and the Saudi Coalition blame the government of Iran for continuing to arm the Houthi forces, as if two wrongs make a right. The UN Expert Group accused Houthi fighters and their allies of violating IHL, including by shelling residential areas, impeding humanitarian aid and using child soldiers. Houthi and other armed groups appear to have acquired most of their arms from Yemeni government stocks and from illicit markets in the region.

 

The UN Security Council has been slow and one sided. In 2013 the Council had condemned the illicit transfer, destabilizing accumulation and misuse of small arms and light weapons in Yemen, and in April 2015 imposed an arms embargo only targeted on the Houthi armed opposition. Total embargoes had been imposed on UN-designated terrorist groups such as Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) affiliate in Yemen, which have become actively engaged in attacks on Coalition as well as armed opposition forces and civilians. In January 2018 the Security Council’s expert panel accused Iran of transferring some missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles used by Houthi forces, although it also reported that been no reported maritime seizures of weapons and ammunition during 2017, and only very limited seizures of arms-related material have been identified on the main land supply route. However, the Security Council has not imposed an embargo on arms transfers to Yemen as such.

 

Civil society organizations, parliamentarians and governments that respect the international rule of law can further step up political pressure as well as take legal actions to compel arms supplying States to implement their ATT obligations and suspend transfers to the Saudi Coalition. Some NGOs have attempted to challenge their home governments in the courts.

 

In the case of France, Article 55 of the Constitution gives supra-legislative status to treaties ratified by Parliament. In the 2018 complaint filed by Action Sécurité Ethique Républicaines (ASER) against the French government’s continued arms exports to the Saudi Arabian-led Coalition, the General Secretariat for Defence and National Security disputed the direct effect legal status of the ATT in its defence brief.

 

A decisive point in the case remains the choice of which article of the ATT applies to the transfer of arms to the Saudi Arabia-led Coalition given the strong prima facie evidence of atrocities being committed with those arms in Yemen. Should the case be based first and foremost on Article 6, which prohibits a potential arms transfer if the State Party “has knowledge” that the arms would be used for the commission of serious violations of IHL or war crimes? Or should the case first rest on Article 7, which requires the exporting State Party to assess whether there is an “overriding risk” that the potential arms export would be used to commit or facilitate serious violations of IHL or of international human rights law, despite “available mitigation measures” first taken by the exporting and importing States?

 

ATT Article 6, paragraph 3 specifies that: « A State Party shall not authorize any transfer of conventional arms or items…[covered by the Treaty] if it has knowledge at the time of authorization that such arms or items would be used to commit genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, attacks directed against civilians or civilian objects and protected as such, or other war crimesas defined by international agreements to which it is a Party.”

 

ASER’s opinion is that before the start of full-blown hostilities in March 2015, litigation based upon the risk assessment procedures required by ATT Article 7 to approve or deny arms exports to Saudi Arabia could have been justified.  Each exporting State Party to the ATT had to assess the risks of using potential exports of weapons in the light of the information it was then aware of.

 

However, Article 7 only applies if a potential export is not prohibited by Article 6, and since 2015, factual evidence of the Coalition’s flawed ‘rules of engagement’ in this armed conflict had quickly become a proven reality. Repeated cases pointing to serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law have been widely documented in United Nations and NGO reports. In particular the UN reports of January 2017, January 2018 and August 2018 provide details of air strikes on civilian targets and other attacks on civilians by Saudi Arabian-led Coalition forces, as well as by Houthi and other armed groups. It is therefore Article 6 of the ATT that must first be applied in litigation efforts in countries that are ATT States Parties.

 

Some NGOs in the European Union began their litigation efforts over the past two years in a general way by referring to ATT Articles 6 and 7 as well as to the EU Common Position on arms exports. Criterion 2 of the Common Position requires that Member States deny an arms export licence “if there is a clear risk that the military technology or equipment to be exported might be used in the commission of serious violations of international humanitarian law.” Although the wording in the Common Position and the ATT is slightly different, Criterion 2 presents similar challenges to ATT Article 7. Neither should be the starting point of litigation ahead of Article 6.

 

Such legal action by NGOs should of course be accompanied by a mobilisation of civil society at the political level. The French Government’s refusal to allow the judiciary any right of scrutiny over the regularity and conformity of French arms export procedures is essentially political and in ASER’s view it contravenes the French Constitution. It reveals a vision of the 19th Century in which citizens were not allowed to speak or question decisions of government that appear illegal or immoral.

 

ASER is determined to convince the judge of the direct effect of the ATT in domestic law and of the illegality of the arms transfers that the government could foresee would be used for atrocities in Yemen. France’s foreign policy affects all citizens living in France, particularly in terms of security and respect for human rights, and that policy must not blatantly violate and be seen to blatantly violate, relevant international law.

 

ASER’s action sets a precedent in France. So far no other French NGO has launched a legal challenge to the State concerning arms export authorisations.

 

For ASER :

Jean Claude Alt

Benoît Muracciole