Den Haag

European arms exports and the case of Yemen: How to hold governments and corporate actors accountable for contributing to armed conflicts?

12.12.2019, 18:30 Uhr

The Hague Humanity Hub
Fluwelen Burgwal 58, 2511 CJ Den Haag, Niederlande

European arms exports are regulated by domestic law, the European Common Position on arms export controls and the Arms Trade Treaty. These legal frameworks prohibits arms exports to countries where there is a clear risk that they might be used for internal repression or to commit serious violations of international humanitarian or international human rights law.

The reality, however, is different. The armed conflict in Yemen is a striking example. Despite an abundance of documented serious violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen committed by the military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, many countries including Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and France continue to export arms, components and spare parts and to provide crucial maintenance and support services. European arms companies are profiting, but their wares are fueling the conflict, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis, and may even be contributing to international war crimes.

These exports are a flagrant example of non-compliance with arms export control laws. Can the European defense industry and authorities responsible for authorizing arms exports to regions of conflict be held to account for their roles in serious human rights and international humanitarian law violations? Which legal avenues can be used to address their roles in these violations?  

To tackle these and other questions, ECCHR together with Mwatana for Human Rights, Amnesty International, the Campaign Against Arm Trade (CAAT), Centre Delàs and Rete Disarmo invite you to a panel discussion with:

Radhya Almutawakel, Chairperson of Mwatana for Human Rights (Sana'a, Yemen)

Miriam Saage-Maaß, head of ECCHR’s Business and Human Rights program (Berlin)

Sam Perlo-Freeman, Research Coordinator at CAAT (London)

Robert Heinsch, Associate Professor of Public International Law, Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies & Director Kalshoven-Gieskes Forum on International Humanitarian Law, Leiden University

Marina Aksenova, Professor of Comparative and International Criminal Law, IE University, Madrid

Moderated by Wolfgang Kaleck, ECCHR General Secretary

The event is fully booked. To be put on the waiting list, please send an email to

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