Illustrating how European arms exports fuel the war in Yemen
11:30 – 12:30 (London time), 13:30 – 14:30 (Sana’a time)
Online: Zoom – The event will be held in English
After six years of devastating war, Yemen is the world’s largest humanitarian crisis of our times. Thousands of civilians are killed and wounded and millions suffer from starvation and disease. Since March 2015, two of the European arms industry’s largest customers – Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – lead a military coalition, carrying out scores of indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks on civilians, civilian infrastructure and cultural heritage sites. Despite the vast public documentation of violations of international humanitarian law allegedly committed by the coalition in Yemen, governments and the defense industry from Europe continue to export arms, components and spare parts, as well maintenance, training and support Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
In December 2019, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), Mwatana for Human Rights and their European partner organizations called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the criminal responsibilities of corporate and government executives of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. In a 350-pages communication submitted to the ICC the organizations argue that by issuing export authorizations and exporting arms to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, these European actors may be contributing to serious violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen, including war crimes.
Graphic and cartographic techniques were applied to information obtained from extensive field research, open-source investigation, and legal analysis, to build an interactive cartographic platform based on Forensic Architecture’s Timemap software. The platform presents information that aims to support both international and domestic prosecution authorities in investigating the criminal responsibilities of corporate and government European actors who are fueling the crimes in Yemen. The platform is also a tool for civil society to better understand the role of European arms trade in the war in Yemen.
The platform, developed by ECCHR and Forensic Architecture together with Yemeni Archive and Bellingcat, exposes the patterns of indiscriminate attacks by the Coalition against civilians and civilian infrastructure in Yemen. It illustrates to which extent arms exporters and governments in Europe continue to profit from arms exports despite their substantial contribution to the military operations of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.
The platform demonstrates the impact of European arms exports in the continuous targeting of civilians and civilian spaces on the ground. It does so by exposing the relationships between documented airstrikes, found remnants of European weapons, and a timeline of arms exports from European countries to the Coalition. The platform also demonstrates that these exports continued despite overwhelming and regular evidence of atrocities in Yemen linked to European arms.
Launching on the 22 June 2021, our speakers will showcase the platform and discuss the importance of visual analysis, open-source investigation and interdisciplinary collaboration among different organizations in the framework of ongoing investigations.
Cannelle Lavite, Legal advisor, Business and Human Rights, ECCHR
Omar Ferwarti, Researcher, Forensic Architecture
Nicolas Zembashi, Research Coordinator, Forensic Architecture,
Salma Amer, Researcher, Yemeni Archive
Nick Waters, Analyst, Bellingcat
Ali Jameel, Researcher, Mwatana for Human Rights
Marina Aksenova, CILRAP Research Fellow and Professor of Comparative and International Criminal Law at IE University, Madrid