Criminal Complaint against Dassault Aviation, Thales and MBDA France
Armed Conflict in Yemen
Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates
Mwatana, ECCHR and Sherpa supported by Amnesty International France have filed a criminal complaint in France requesting the investigation into the potential complicity of three French arms manufacturers in aiding and abetting the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity for their role in supplying and maintaining weapons of the Saudi-led Coalition. Specifically, the claimants call on the Paris Judiciary Tribunal to launch a criminal investigation into arms companies Dassault Aviation, Thales and MBDA France.
The complainants presented the same facts as those put forward in the communication to the ICC, namely a series of 26 airstrikes allegedly perpetrated by the Coalition on civilians and civilian infrastructure in Yemen that is argued could constitute war crimes and/or crimes against humanity. The claimants also relied on evidence that fighter jets, as well as missiles and guidance systems produced by Dassault, Thales and MBDA France, have been used in the conflict in Yemen. Unlike the ICC communication, this criminal complaint is directed solely against the named arms companies as legal entities, rather than export authorities.
The impact of the Lafarge case
This case was initiated in the aftermath of the ruling of the French Supreme Court in the Lafarge case in September 2021, which clarified the legal framework under which a company may be charged with complicity in crimes against humanity. Critically, the court specified the scope of intent and considered that in order to become an accomplice in an international crime, it suffices that the company knows that the perpetrators were committing crimes and that its actions facilitated or contributed to the commission of these crimes. This precedent is crucial in efforts to hold companies, including arms manufacturers, to account; as there is no requirement to prove that these companies intended for their weapons to be used in the commission of war crimes, but merely that they had knowledge that their goods could be involved in these crimes.
Contact the Claimants
This case was brought by European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR).
If you would like to know more about this case, please get in touch with our primary contact Cannelle Lavitte (ECCHR) by email.