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February 2020

Third Administrative Challenge launched by ASER against the Prime Minister of France (Urgent Request)




Armed Conflict in Yemen

Recipient State

Saudi Arabia

Case Type

Administrative Challenge




This claim did not challenge export licences, but rather called for the cancellation of customs permits authorising the transit of a Saudi cargo ship that would allegedly transport French arms to Saudi Arabia from the French port of Cherbourg. The quantity and value of the war material to be transported is unknown. The basis of the claim was that there existed a clear link between the authorisation of the export of war materiel to Saudi Arabia and serious violations of IHRL for the civilian population of Yemen, namely the right to life and freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment. The claimants also declared this was a matter of extreme urgency to be resolved immediately in light of the imminent departure of the Saudi cargo ship containing such arms and military goods.

The Administrative Court of Paris dismissed the claimant’s request, arguing that a link between the contested customs permits and the infringement of the invoked rights had not been sufficiently established.

Case Details

The claimant relied on governing domestic law to ground their request that urgent measures must be taken to protect the fundamental freedoms of the Yemeni population from being infringed upon by the administrative decision to issue the contested customs permits. Code of Administrative Justice, Article L.521-2. 

The Court dismissed the claimant’s request.

While it recognised that both the right to life and the right to freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment fall within the scope of the relevant legislation and are placed at risk by the export of arms for use in Yemen, it concluded that the claimant had not provided sufficiently precise and detailed information on how the specific customs permits would directly infringe on these rights.

In turn, the court concluded: ‘Under these conditions, even though there is a link between such authorisations and the suffering of the Yemeni population, the conditions likely to characterise an emergency situation of such a nature as to justify the use of the specific powers … by Article L. 521-2 of the Code of Administrative Justice are not met. As a result, the application is manifestly unfounded.


05 Feb 2020

Case enters the courts. Urgent request submitted at the Administrative Court of Paris.

06 Feb 2020

Saudi cargo ship ‘Bahri Yanbu’ expected to arrive at the port of Cherbourg, and subsequently transport French arms to Saudi Arabia.

07 Feb 2020

Judgement issued. Claim dismissed as manifestly unfounded.

Read the judgement here

Case Documents


Judgement by the Administrative Court of Paris on the Claim submitted by ASER on 05.02.2020

Read the document in full

Contact the Claimants

This case was brought by Action Sécurité Éthique Républicaine (ASER).

If you would like to know more about this case, please get in touch with our primary contact Matteo Bonaglia (ASER) by email.