The British government ignored the advice of its own arms control experts and refused to suspend the exports of arms to Saudi Arabia, a London court heard on Tuesday.
The revelation came in evidence during a landmark judicial review at the High Court.
The review, brought by Campaign Against The Arms Trade (CAAT), is set to determine the legality of the UK government’s arms transfers to Saudi Arabia amid the current armed conflict in Yemen.
Despite human rights fears over Saudi Arabia’s ongoing bombing campaign in Yemen, Britain has exported £3.3bn of weapons to the kingdom since 2015.
UN experts said last week that 10 air strikes by the Saudi coalition which killed at least 292 civilians may have been war crimes. The Saudis denied the claims. The panel said the Houthis were probably also guilty of war crimes.
Kuwaiti civil society is one of the most vibrant in the Gulf, hence its early rejection of the GCC Internal Security Pact, which was interpreted as yet another attempt to silence dissent in their own country. Many Kuwaiti activists resented Saudi hegemony, which the pact is meant to strengthen not only in the small emirate but the other ones, too. It is evident now that criticizing Saudi Arabia is taboo, the violation of which definitely leads to perhaps several years in prison. Kuwaiti apprehensions were not unfounded but they couldn't do much about the treaty that was ratified by their parliament. Several opposition groups boycotted the elections that eventually produced a docile body.
On the other side of the border, there was no debate or controversy related to the pact as Saudis are completely disenfranchised. The only consultative council they have is appointed by the king and has no power to discuss security pacts with the GCC or other countries.