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December 2017 - October 2017

Second Administrative Challenge against the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation


The Netherlands


Armed Conflict in Yemen, Internal Repression

Recipient State


Case Type

Administrative Challenge




The second administrative challenge brought by the same claimants in December 2016 also sought to challenge the Minister of Foreign Affairs’ decision to grant a licence to export arms to the Egyptian Navy. In this case, the claimants challenged the decision to renew the licence that was at issue in the previous case. The claimants first filed a ‘notice of objection to the permit’, which the Minister declared as inadmissible due to a lack of standing. This was the subject of the challenge before the District Court. 

The District Court dismissed the claim under the same reasoning as the previous case, namely a lack of standing. This decision was upheld on appeal.

Case Details

Violation of the EU Common Position

The basis of the claim was the same as the previous case, namely that in dismissing their initial ‘notice of objection to the permit‘, the Minister had failed to correctly apply the EU Common Position in light of the compelling evidence that the Egyptian Navy was directly involved in the commission of IHL and IHRL violations in the armed conflict in Yemen.


Discussion in this case continued to centre on questions of legal standing. The claimants maintained that as an organisation defending collective interests, they were entitled, under Dutch law, to take legal action against the administrative decisions of public authorities.

Decision of the District Court

The Claim was dismissed by the District Court under the same reasoning as the previous case.

Notably, the court maintained that the applicable law was the Union Customs Code Regulation, which requires the claimants to be ‘directly and individually affected’ by the decision and that this had not been established in the case.

The claimant’s argument based on EU law was also dismissed as it was held that the claimants did not have a ‘direct interest’ in the case as defined by EU law.

Decision on Appeal

This decision was upheld on appeal. The Court of Appeal held that ‘the appellants are therefore not individually concerned by the permit they challenge and are therefore not entitled to a right of objection and appeal.’


19 Oct 2017

Appeal Judgement Issued. Decision of the District Court upheld and case dismissed.

Read the judgement here

15 May 2017

Claimants submit appeal to Court of Appeal.

20 Apr 2017

Judgement Issued by District Court - Claim Dismissed.

15 Feb 2017

Challenge 2 enters the courts. Claim submitted to the District Court to recognise claimants’ legal standing and provisionally suspend licence.

Read the claimants' submission here

10 Feb 2017

Minister dismisses notice of objection filed by the claimants.

23 Dec 2017

Notice of objection is filed by the claimants against the extension decision.

21 Sep 2016

Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs extends the licence for arms export to the Egyptian Navy, which was the subject of proceedings in Challenge 1, until 31 October 2017.

Case Documents


Submission to District Court of Noord Holland against the Minister of Foreign Trade and Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation

Read the document in full


Judgement on Appeal against the Decision of the District Court of Noord Holland

Read the document in full


25 March 2022

Raakt Nederland Betrokken Bij Mensenrechten-Schendingen in Egypte?

Jenne Jan Holtland and Ludo Hekman | de Volkskrant

This news article (in Dutch) provides coverage of the investigations by Lighthouse Reports that discovered indications of human rights violations by the Egyptian forces.

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.

11 August 2016

The Public Interest Litigation Project Case against Arms Trade

Jelle Klaas and Merel Hendrickx (PILP) | Humboldt Law Clinic Blog

This blog post provides a critical overview of the 2016 case submitted by PILP as part of a group of NGOs that sought to challenge arms export licensing decisions by the government.

Contact the Claimants

This case was brought by three Dutch NGOs – the Public Interest Litigation Project (PILP-NCJM), PAX, and Stop Wapenhandel.

If you would like to know more about this case, please get in touch with our primary contacts Rosa Beets and Jelle Klaas (PILP-NCJM) via email.