The use of UK-manufactured arms in Yemen Contents

Formal Minutes

Wednesday 7 September 2016

The Business, Innovation and Skills and the International Development Committees met concurrently, pursuant to Standing Order No. 137A.

Members present:

Business,Innovation and Skills Committee

International Development Committee

Peter Kyle

Jonathan Reynolds

Michelle Thomson

Chris White

Mr Iain Wright

Dr Lisa Cameron

Stephen Doughty

Mr Nigel Evans

Stephen Twigg

Chris White was called to the Chair, in accordance with Standing Order No. 137A(1)(d).

Draft Report (The use of UK-manufactured arms in Yemen) proposed by the Chair, brought up and read.

Ordered, That the draft Report be considered concurrently, in accordance with Standing Order No. 137A (1)(c).

Ordered, That the draft Report be read a second time, paragraph by paragraph.

Paragraphs 1 to 117 read and agreed to.

Summary agreed to.

Appendices agreed to.

[The Committees adjourned.

BUSINESS, INNOVATION AND SKILLS COMMITTEE

Tuesday 13 September

Members present:

Mr Iain Wright, in the Chair

Paul Blomfield

Richard Fuller

Peter Kyle

Jonathan Reynolds

Michelle Thomson

Craig Tracey

Chris White

Question proposed, that the draft Report (The use of UK-manufactured arms in Yemen) proposed by the Chair be brought up and read.

The Committee divided.

Ayes 6

Paul Blomfield

Peter Kyle

Jonathan Reynolds

Michelle Thomson

Craig Tracey

Chris White

Noes 1

Richard Fuller

Question accordingly agreed to.

Paragraph 3 read as follows:

“We heard evidence from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Saferworld and Oxfam on the crisis in Yemen and the evidence of violations of IHL; from Professor Philippe Sands QC on the findings of his and others’ legal opinion on the lawfulness of UK arms exports to Saudi Arabia in the context of the conflict in Yemen; from ADS, the leading trade body for the aerospace, defence and security industries; from leading experts on our relationship with the Gulf and our arms export policies; and from Ministers from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the former Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Ministry of Defence and the Department for International Development. We are grateful to all of those who gave oral and written evidence.”

Paragraph rescinded.

Paragraph 33 read, as follows:

“The Saudi authorities announced on 31 January 2016 the results of an investigation into the October 2015 airstrike on a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) facility in Sa’ada. Tobias Ellwood wrote to us about the steps taken by the Saudis following this investigation177, as follows:

Inviting MSF to Riyadh to discuss the incident and agree on new measures, including a hot line to MSF and greater protection for hospitals;

On 4 August 2016 the Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT), comprising 14 members from coalition states, reported its conclusions to eight further incidents they had investigated. The JIAT found that the coalition had abided by military rules of engagement in six out of the eight incidents and in only one of the instances in which errors were made were there civilian casualties and therefore reparations required. The JIAT reported that “Coalition forces are committed to observing the rules laid down in international conventions on humanitarian law and in particular not directly targeting civilians during military operations and take all measures to preserve their safety and lives.” The JIAT’s legal adviser said that the work of the JIAT in assessing the incidents “depends on ensuring the legal aspects of target operations that are compatible with the international law, and on using the American and British mechanism to assess accidents in addition to the law of armed conflict.178 Mr Ellwood admitted:

I share the Committee’s frustration that that information has been slow to come forward. This is a nation that is not used to sharing information in this manner and to having to expose internationally the details of what it does. This is the first time it has had to do sustained warfare. It must look up and answer to the international standards that we expect. We will make it very clear if we feel that it does not meet those standards, but we require time, and Saudi Arabia will require time, to provide the analysis that needs to be done in all these cases.”

Paragraph rescinded.

Summary rescinded.

Paragraph (now paragraph 3) brought up, read the first and second time, and inserted.

Paragraph (now paragraph 33) brought up, read the first and second time, and inserted.

Summary amended and agreed to.

Resolved, That the draft Report prepared by the Business, Innovation and Skills and International Development Committees be the Fifth Report of the Committee to the House.

Ordered, That the provisions of Standing Order No. 137A(2) be applied to the Report.

Ordered, That Chris White make the Joint Report to the House.

Ordered, That embargoed copies of the Report be made available, in accordance with the provisions of Standing Order No.134 (Select committees (reports)).

[Adjourned till Tuesday 11 October at 9.00 a.m.

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

Wednesday 14 September

Members present:

Stephen Twigg, in the Chair

Fiona Bruce

Dr Lisa Cameron

Stephen Doughty

Jeremy Lefroy

Albert Owen

Mr Virendra Sharma

Question proposed, that the draft Report (The use of UK-manufactured arms in Yemen), proposed by the Chair, be brought up and read.

The Committee divided.

Ayes 4

Dr Lisa Cameron

Stephen Doughty

Albert Owen

Virendra Sharma

Noes 2

Fiona Bruce

Jeremy Lefroy

Question accordingly agreed to.

Paragraph 3 read as follows:

“We heard evidence from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Saferworld and Oxfam on the crisis in Yemen and the evidence of violations of IHL; from Professor Philippe Sands QC on the findings of his and others’ legal opinion on the lawfulness of UK arms exports to Saudi Arabia in the context of the conflict in Yemen; from ADS, the leading trade body for the aerospace, defence and security industries; from leading experts on our relationship with the Gulf and our arms export policies; and from Ministers from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the former Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Ministry of Defence and the Department for International Development. We are grateful to all of those who gave oral and written evidence.”

Paragraph rescinded.

Paragraph 33 read, as follows:

“The Saudi authorities announced on 31 January 2016 the results of an investigation into the October 2015 airstrike on a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) facility in Sa’ada. Tobias Ellwood wrote to us about the steps taken by the Saudis following this investigation179, as follows:

On 4 August 2016 the Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT), comprising 14 members from coalition states, reported its conclusions to eight further incidents they had investigated. The JIAT found that the coalition had abided by military rules of engagement in six out of the eight incidents and in only one of the instances in which errors were made were there civilian casualties and therefore reparations required. The JIAT reported that “Coalition forces are committed to observing the rules laid down in international conventions on humanitarian law and in particular not directly targeting civilians during military operations and take all measures to preserve their safety and lives.” The JIAT’s legal adviser said that the work of the JIAT in assessing the incidents “depends on ensuring the legal aspects of target operations that are compatible with the international law, and on using the American and British mechanism to assess accidents in addition to the law of armed conflict.180 Mr Ellwood admitted:

I share the Committee’s frustration that that information has been slow to come forward. This is a nation that is not used to sharing information in this manner and to having to expose internationally the details of what it does. This is the first time it has had to do sustained warfare. It must look up and answer to the international standards that we expect. We will make it very clear if we feel that it does not meet those standards, but we require time, and Saudi Arabia will require time, to provide the analysis that needs to be done in all these cases.”

Paragraph rescinded.

Summary rescinded.

Paragraph (now paragraph 3) brought up, read the first and second time, and inserted.

Paragraph (now paragraph 33) brought up, read the first and second time, and inserted.

Summary amended and agreed to.

Resolved, That the draft Report prepared by the Business, Innovation and Skills and International Development Committees be the First Joint Report of the Committees to the House.

Ordered, That the provisions of Standing Order No. 137A(2) be applied to the Report.

Ordered, That Chris White make the Joint Report to the House.

Ordered, That embargoed copies of the Report be made available, in accordance with the provisions of Standing Order No.134 (Select committees (reports)).

[Adjourned till Tuesday 11 October at 10.00 a.m.


177 FCO supplementary evidence

179 FCO supplementary evidence




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15 September 2016