Subsidiary of German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall to face criminal complaint in Italy alleging co's involvement in Yemen bombing

Yemen_bomb site_Credit_wikicommons via VOA News

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Article
7 May 2018

Death in Yemen: made by Rheinmetall?

Author: urgewald (Germany)

...Rheinmetall AG is...facing legal pressure to justify its actions following the filing of a criminal complaint against its subsidiary RWM Italia...Yemeni human rights activist Bonyan Gamal reported on the research carried out by the NGO Mwatana Organization for Human Rights: According to their research, an airstrike believed to be by the Saudi-led military coalition struck the village of Deir Al-Hajari in Northwest Yemen on 8 October 2016.  The airstrike killed a family of six.  At the scene of the crime, a suspension lug produced by RWM Italia was found...Together with the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and Italy-based organization Rete Disarmo, Mwatana filed criminal charges with the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Rome.  The action aims to clarify the responsibilities of the managing directors of RWM Italia and the responsible Italian authority...Otfried Nassauer from the Berlin Information Center for Transatlantic Security was able to rely on current research to conclude that the deliveries of weapons used in Yemen are part of a wider problem.  “These deliveries seem to show a strategy on the part of Rheinmetall to outsource its responsibility to subsidiaries and joint ventures abroad, and to make profit from the war in Yemen...”...Barbara Happe from the NGO urgewald adds: “The German government also risks bearing part of the responsibility if it fails to finally tighten up its purported ban on German arms exports to states involved in the conflict in Yemen. It also has to ban exports by subsidiaries abroad.” ...

More information:

Briefing: “Business with Death – Germany’s Role in Yemen War” (urgewald, 2018) [Available in German]

Study: “Unrestrained in all Parts of the World – Arms Exports by Rheinmetall AG” (BITS, 2016) [Available in German]

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Article
18 April 2018

Are arms manufacturer and Italian authorities complicit in deadly Saudi-coalition airstrike in Yemen?

Author: European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights

...On 8 October 2016 an airstrike allegedly by the Saudi-led military coalition struck the village of Deir Al-Hajari in Northwest Yemen.  The airstrike killed a family of six...At the site of the airstrike bomb remnants were found, and a suspension lug manufactured by RWM Italia S.p.A., a subsidiary of the German Arms Manufacturer Rheinmetall AG.  To uncover the contributing role of Italian actors in the airstrike through the Italian arms exports, on 17 April 2018 the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), together with its Yemen based partner organization Mwatana Organization for Human Rights, and Italian based Rete Disarmo, submitted a criminal complaint to the Italian Public Prosecutor’s Office in Rome.  The legal intervention calls for an investigation into the criminal liability of Italian authority UAMA that authorizes Italy’s armament exports, and of Italian armament manufacturer RWM Italia S.p.A.’s directors for armament exports to members of the Saudi-led military coalition involved in the conflict in Yemen.  All parties to the Yemen conflict have repeatedly violated human rights and the civilian population is facing a widespread humanitarian crisis.  Numerous airstrikes by the Saudi-led military coalition have been found by the United Nations to be in violation of international humanitarian law.  “The on-going arms exports by European countries further the killing, while corporations like German Rheinmetall AG and its Italian subsidiary RWM Italia S.p.A. benefit from this business...

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Article
18 April 2018

Italian officials and German firm face legal action over Saudi arms sales

Author: Ewen MacAskill, The Guardian

A rare legal action has been launched against Italian government officials and a major European arms manufacturer over alleged involvement in the aerial bombardment of Yemen that has killed thousands of civilians.  A coalition of human rights organisations from Germany, Italy and Yemen filed a complaint on Tuesday with the prosecutors’ office in Rome against officials from the Italian foreign ministry and the local subsidiary of the German conglomerate Rheinmetall, RWM Italia, over arms sales to Saudi Arabia...Saudi Arabia leads a coalition conducting a bombing campaign of Yemen, aided by UK military advisers, against Houthi rebels...The groups mounting the legal challenge in Italy hope that by focussing on a specific incident – a well-documented bombing on 8 October 2016 that left a family of six dead, including four children – they will increase their chances of success.  The legal challenge was lodged jointly by the Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), the Yemen-based Mwatana Organisation for Human Rights and the Italian Rete Italiana per il Disarmo.  The groups have asked prosecutors to investigate whether there is liability on the part of Italian foreign ministry officials tasked with authorising arms exports and RWM Italia directors over alleged arms sales to the Saudi-led coalition.  Attempts by the Guardian to contact Rheinmetall for a response proved unsuccessful...According to the complaint, the serial number on the lug identified it as part of a batch manufactured in June 2014 by RWM Italia...

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