The continuing transfer of arms to Saudi Arabia in 2015, given the Yemen crisis, shows that a number of States Parties are not meeting their legal obligations under the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).
In March 2015 a long-running political crisis in Yemen erupted into full-blown conflict. A coalition of nine States, led by Saudi Arabia, began aerial bombing in Yemen, with an aim of restoring the government which had been deposed when Houthi rebel forces seized control of the capital city. The conflict has raged for a year, and there is increasing evidence of serious violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL) by all parties to the conflict.
Several ATT States Parties and Signatories have continued to issue export licenses to Saudi Arabia in 2015. Based on the limited information in the public domain, the total reported value of licenses and announced sales to Saudi Arabia in 2015 by States Parties and Signatories to the ATT was more than US$25 billion. As many States have not yet made trade data for 2015 publicly available, the full scale of the arms trade with Saudi Arabia is likely to be far higher.
In this Case Study, ATT Monitor outlines the context into which arms are being transferred, provides an illustrative summary of the arms transfers taking place between ATT States Parties and Signatories and Saudi Arabia, and questions whether these deals violate legal obligations under the ATT.