UK Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia Unlawful

The Supreme Court has ruled that arms sales to Saudi Arabia must be banned.

The Supreme Court on Friday struck down what it said was a prohibition on selling weapons to warring factions of North Korea, saying it was incompatible with international law and violated the human rights rights of the people, particularly in South Korea.

The ruling by the appeals court involved a claim brought against South Korea by a group called Friends of North Korea, claiming to have documents supporting its claim that weapons were flowing from North Korea to South Korea.

The case first arose when North Korean officials threatened the South with nuclear war in 1992. They have been unable to verify the evidence, prompting the court’s decision to block the sale to Iran and the sale to Yemen, which South Korea says are likely to lead to nuclear weapons.

The North Korean government says the weapons should be sold to the Islamic Republic’s allies, such as Egypt and Syria, because the weapons “threaten the safety and security of the countries.”

On Wednesday the High Court agreed with the ruling, meaning that Iran’s arms deals remain “a legal barrier to the successful resolution of the North Korea issue.”

“By striking down South Korea’s ban on exports of arms, the highest court in the country continues to uphold international law,” South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement, referring to a case that had been held up by the Supreme Court.

The weapons-exportation ban could be suspended if, it said, the South Korean government shows it can prove that the North Korea sale to Iran is not in the public interest and is in the interest of the South Korean people.

In its judgment, the appeals court said the high court could order South Korea to prove its case that its weapons export prohibition is compatible with international law, given the South Korean government’s right to freedom of expression and association. It did not take on the matter directly.