Civil Complaint by Yemeni nationals to seek injunctive relief and damages
United States of America
Armed Conflict in Yemen
Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates
On 2 March 2023, a group of seven Yemeni nationals filed a lawsuit in the district court of Washington DC in the US. The plaintiffs have brought this action on their own behalf, and of others similarly harmed by the strikes carried out by the Saudi Arabia-led Coalition in Yemen. The plaintiffs specifically represent the victims of two separate bombings in the country: a wedding in Sanaban on 7 October 2015 and a funeral in Sana’a on 8 October 2016.
The lawsuit has been brought against defence contractors Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and General Dynamics on the grounds that they “knowingly benefit from aiding and abetting the indiscriminate airstrikes conducted by the Saudi/UAE-led coalition targeting Yemeni civilians”.
It also names the following Saudi Arabian and UAE military officials as defendants because “each of them knowingly perpetrated war crimes, extra-judicial killings, and other crimes against the plaintiffs and other civilians”: Mohamed Ben Zayed Al-Nahyan in his capacity as Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the UAE; Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in his capacity as the Vice President, Prime Minister, and Minister of Defence of the UAE; Mohamed Bin Salman Al Saoud in his capacity as Supreme Commander of the armed forces of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; Hamad Mohamed Thani Al Rumaithi in his capacity as Chief of Staff of the UAE Armed Forces; Abdulrahman Ben Saleh Al-Bunyan in his capacity as Chief of Staff of the Saudi Armed Forces until February 2018; and Fayyadh Al-Ruwaili in his capacity as Chief of Staff of the Saudi Armed Forces since February 2018.
The complaint also named US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Pentagon Chief Lloyd Austin, because they were responsible for the decisions to approve arms sales to the Saudi-led coalition that helped perpetuate the conflict, the failure to evaluate the consequences of these sales, and the neglect of the “widespread violations of international law” in Yemen.
The plaintiffs are currently awaiting a response from the defendants.
Press Release: Yemenis sue top US defence contractors for 'aiding war crimes'
This article provides coverage of the complaint against the US defence contractors Saudi Arabia and UAE military officials, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin....
Case Development: Class Complaint for injunctive relief and damges
Seven Yemeni nationals file a lawsuit in the district court of Washington DC in the US against three defence contractors, Saudi Arabia and UAE military officials, and US Secretary of State Antony...
The submitted arguments proceeded on eight counts, with the plaintiffs claiming:
First, injunctive relief and monetary damages under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) against the named leaders of the Saudi Arabian and UAE military forces, on the basis that they knowingly committed war crimes and extrajudicial killings, including against the plaintiffs.
Second, the Saudi Arabian and UAE officials violated the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA) by conducting extrajudicial killings without any judicial proceedings or legal processes.
Third, injunctive relief and monetary damages under the ATS against the named US defence contractors. The complaint states that the Saudi and UAE officials violated international law by committing war crimes, extrajudicial killings, and torture against the plaintiffs, and that the defence contractors’ supply of weapons to the former significantly allowed for the aiding and abetting of the stated crimes.
Fourth, the named defence contractors violated the TVPA by intentionally aiding and abetting the Saudi and UAE officials in committing extrajudicial killings and violating international law.
Fifth, injunctive relief based on the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) against the US Departments of State and Defence on the basis that the decisions to approve arms sales were arbitrary and capricious because there is no evidence to show that the Houthis are an “existing threat to US national security, or that they are premeditating attacks in the US territory”. As such, these decisions are in violation of various US statutes inter alia the Foreign Assistance Act and the Arms Export Control Act.
Sixth, the defence contractors have been “unjustly enriched” because of the large profits obtained from the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia and the UAE that were misused.
Seventh, all defendants failed to exercise due care by failing to supervise, prohibit, control, or regulate their employees and/or agents, and are therefore liable for the injuries caused to the plaintiffs.
Eighth, the defence contractors as well as the Saudi and UAE military officials intentionally and continually inflicted emotional distress and physical damage, by participating in the venture of the sale of weapons used to commit the aforementioned crimes.
02 Mar 2023
Complaint filed in the district court of Washington DC in the US seeking injunctive relief and damages.Read complaint here
Contact the Claimants
The claim has been brought by seven Yemeni nationals who are being represented by Terrence Collingsworth of International Rights Advocates York. The plaintiffs represent the victims of two separate bombings in the country: a wedding in Sanaban on 7 October 2015 and a funeral in Sana’a on 8 October 2016.
If you would like to know more about this case, please get in touch with our primary contact Terrence Collingsworth by email.