Summary Proceedings (Civil) against the State of Netherlands
Armed Conflict in Yemen, Internal Repression
The third legal challenge, initiated as summary proceedings in November 2021, sought to halt all exports of arms to Egypt in light of the severity of the human rights violations committed by the Egyptian forces.
This case, brought as a collective action on behalf of the claimants, sought to prohibit the export of arms to all parts of the Egyptian armed forces, including its Navy, whose involvement in the commission of human rights violations had also been opposed by the Dutch State in previous challenges. The case focused on the human rights situation in Egypt in general, and, more specifically, on the involvement of the Egyptian Navy in both the blockade of Yemen and the repression of the local population in the North Sinai region.
The claimants’ were granted legal standing and the case was assessed on its merits. However, the courts did not rule in the claimants’ favour and exports to Egypt have been permitted to continue.
Case Development: Judgement of the Hague Court of Appeal on the Appeal against the Decision of the District Court of the Hague
The Hague Court of Appeal upholds the decision of the District Court, ruling that there is insufficient evidence that the specific goods will be involved in IHL / IHRL violations. nnn It concludes...
Case Development: Appeal of the Decision of the District Court of the Hague
The claimants argue, based on the severity of the human rights situation in Egypt and its role in Yemen, the supply of military equipment is in violation of the Common Position.nnn The claimants...
Case Development: Judgement of the District Court of the Hague on the Claim against the Dutch State
The court finds that the claimants, acting in the public interest, have standing to bring civil proceedings but dismisses the request for a ban on future exports of military goods to Egypt.nnn In...
In this civil case, the claimants’ were granted legal standing and the case was assessed on its merits. Despite this progressive development, however, the District Court did not rule in the claimants’ favour.
Although it did recognise the severity of the human rights situation in Egypt, the court maintained that this does not necessarily bar arms exports to the country’s armed forces. In particular, the court held that the claimants had failed to demonstrate a clear risk that the arms in question would be used in these human rights violations, namely that they have or would be used by the units involved in serious violations. The claimants had therefore not been able to demonstrate that the Minister’s decision to issue an export licence was ‘manifestly unreasonable’.
Despite significant evidence pointing to imminent human rights violations at the hands of the Egyptian armed forces, in particular the Navy, as well as the involvement of Navy ships and officers in the conflict in North Sinai, the court considered this as insufficiently concrete to demonstrate the existence of a clear risk that these specific military goods would be involved in human rights violations.
On appeal, the Court of Appeal of the Hague upheld the District Court’s ruling, finding that the Dutch State may continue to export arms to Egypt.
In particular, it concluded that the minister’s assessment that there is no clear risk, as understood under the Common Position, is not unreasonable or incomprehensible. While acknowledging the severity of the human rights situation in Egypt, the court similarly found that there is insufficient evidence that the specific goods in question will be used in violation of human rights, IHL and in the commission of internal repression.
11 Oct 2021
Case enters the courts. Claim submitted to the District Court under summary proceedings to immediately halt all arms exports to Egypt in light of the severity of human rights and IHL violations by the Egyptian forces internally (in the North Sinai conflict) and in Yemen.
09 Nov 2021
The Summary Proceedings take place in the District Court.Read the claimants pleadings here
23 Nov 2021
Judgement issued by the District Court. Claims dismissed.Read the judgement here
20 Dec 2021
The claimants appeal the ruling of the District Court.Read the appeal submission here
31 Mar 2022
Appeal hearing at the Court of Appeal in the Hague.
17 May 2022
Judgement on the appeal on the District Court ruling is issued by the Hague Court of Appeal. Decision upheld and the claims are dismissed.Read the judgement here
Appeal of the Decision of the District Court of the HagueRead the document in full
Pleading Notes for the Claim submitted to the District Court of the Hague against the Dutch GovernmentRead the document in full