To illustrate how European arms industries and governments continue to profit from the war in Yemen by exporting weapons to Saudia Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Forensic Architecture in cooperation with the European Center for Constitutional Rights (ECCHR), Yemeni Archive and Bellingcat developed the interactive cartographic platform European arms in the bombing of Yemen.
Applying graphic and cartographic techniques to information obtained from extensive field research, open-source investigation, and legal analysis, the platform illustrates the impact of European arms exports in the continuous targeting of civilians, civilian infrastructure and cultural heritage sites. 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 shows that these exports continued despite overwhelming and regular evidence of atrocities in Yemen linked to European arms.
In December 2019, ECCHR, Mwatana for Human Rights and their European partner organizations called on the International Criminal Court to investigate the criminal responsibilities of corporate and government executives of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. 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.
“The ongoing war in Yemen caused the killing and wounding of thousands of civilians. International and domestic prosecution authorities who are investigating the criminal responsibilities of corporate and government European actors fueling the crimes in Yemen can use the platform as a tool of support,” explains Canelle Lavite, ECCHR. “However, the platform can be used by everyone who is interested in learning more about the role of European actors in the war.”
“Our platform shows that European arms companies and European countries are instrumental in the ability of the coalition to continue its assault on Yemen’s civilians. The platform also demonstrates how their continued trade of weapons, despite overwhelming documentation of violations, makes European companies and countries inexcusably complicit in potential war crimes,” says Omar Ferwati, Forensic Architecture.