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Arms for Israel: CAAT threatens government with court if 'illegal' weapons exports continue

Sale of weapons and components 'unlawful' if used in crimes against human rights law, says legal firm Leigh Day

Arms campaigners will take the coalition government to court if PM David Cameron continues to export weapons to Israel.

The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) said yesterday that Britain’s current sales policy appeared to be illegal and threatened the government with legal firm Leigh Day.

CAAT highlighted the sale to Israel of £41.5 million worth of weaponry components that could be used in drones, radar, targeting systems and other military hardware.

In a letter to business secretary Vince Cable, CAAT said such components “may have been — and may continue to be — used in the commission of grave breaches of international humanitarian law and/or international human rights law.”

If there is a risk that components could be used in atrocities in Gaza, such as the widely-condemned air strike on a UN school in Rafah, then the exports would be illegal, the campaign said.

It added that if the government did not suspend the arms trade with Israel, campaigners would continue to instruct law firm Leigh Day and Co to issue proceedings for a judicial review.

Leigh Day human rights team-member Rosa Curling said: “If arms from the UK are being used to commit crimes against humanitarian law, and human rights law, then export licences for these materials must be revoked immediately.

“If this is not done, the government’s current policy is unlawful and susceptible to legal challenge.”

A Department for Business, Innovation and Skills spokesman said it would consider the letter “in due course.”


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