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February 2021 - June 2021

Fourth Administrative Challenge at the Council of State against the Walloon Government




Armed Conflict in Yemen

Recipient State

Saudi Arabia

Case Type

Administrative Challenge




The fourth challenge, initiated in February 2021 under an ‘extreme urgency’ procedure, challenged new licences, granted by the Walloon government for the export of category ML1 arms to the Saudi National Guard.

The Council of State ruled in the claimants’ favour and called for the suspension of the contested licences.

Case Details

Key Arguments

The same arguments as the second and third administrative challenges were submitted by the claimants, namely the violation of relevant binding international and domestic law.

Additionally, in this procedure, the claimants submitted evidence, obtained through Open Source Intelligence, which clearly indicated that the Saudi National Guard were in possession of Belgian arms in Yemen, contrary to the government’s long-standing argument that the end users of its equipment were not involved in the conflict in Yemen.

The Council of State agreed with the claimants and suspended all contested licences.

It concluded that the government’s assessment had failed to adequately consider the clear risk that the goods could be used for internal repression or to commit serious IHL and IHRL violations in Yemen. The submitted evidence was a crucial factor in supporting the Court’s final decision that the Walloonian government had acted unlawfully in issuing these licences.


19 Dec 2020

New licences are issued by the Walloon government for the export of ML1 category arms to the Saudi National Guard

20 Feb 2021

Case enters the courts. Claim filed at the Council of State against the Walloon Government, seeking to suspend the new licences, under the 'extreme urgency' procedure.

Read the request to the Council of State here

05 Mar 2021

Judgement issued. The Council of State suspends all contested licences.

Read the judgement here

18 Mar 2021

Suspended licences are cancelled and withdrawn by Walloon regional government.

23 Jun 2021

Judgement issued. Proceedings declared closed due to the withdrawal of all contested licences.

Read the judgement here

Case Documents


Claim filed against Walloon Government under ‘Extreme Urgency’ Procedure

Read the document in full


Judgement by the Council of State Declaring Proceedings Closed

Read the document in full


Judgement by the Council of State on the Claim filed 20.02.2021 against the Walloon Government

Read the document in full


06 December 2021

A Clear Risk of What? The Egyptian Navy, the Dutch Arms Export Policy and Linguistic Inconsistencies in the EU Common Position

Joëlle Trampert | Rethinking SLIC

This blog post reflects on the inconsistencies in the interpretation of the Common Position by English and Dutch Courts, namely the notion of clear risk.

05 November 2020

Are Courts Going to Set a Higher Standard for Human Rights Due Diligence in Arms Exports?

Hans Lammerant (Vredesactie) | First published in IPIS

This article provides a critical overview of the trends in Belgian jurisprudence regarding arms export risk assessment decisions by the government.

16 April 2020

Belgian Arms Exports Halved Due to Court Decision


This article closely analyses Belgian arms exports statistics from 2017 – 2020 to highlight the potential impact and significance of the 9 March 2020 judgement on arms exports to Saudi Arabia.

Contact the Claimants

This case was brought by two NGO claimants, Ligue des Droits de l’Homme (LDH), Forum Voor Vredesactie (FVV), and Coordination Nationale d’Action pour la Paix et la Democratie (CNAPD).

If you would like to know more about this case, please get in touch with our primary contacts Hans Lammerant (Forum Voor Vredesactie) here and Manuel Lambert (LDH) here.