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16 May 2022

Amnesty International,
Centre Delàs for Peace Studies,
European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)

Spain: Report claims arms exports by Spanish company Airbus to Saudi Arabia & UAE may have contributed to war crimes in Yemen

"New report reveals: Arms exports by Spanish company Airbus to Saudi Arabia and UAE may have contributed to war crimes in Yemen", 16 May 2022

The report "Spanish Arms Exports and Alleged War Crimes in Yemen" by Amnesty International Centre Delàs for Peace Studies and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) reveals new evidence regarding arms exports by the Spanish company Airbus Defence and Space S.A. to Saudi Arabia (SA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as their use in alleged war crimes in Yemen committed between the start of the conflict in 2015 and June 2021. It documents arms exports to both countries, while highlighting Spain’s role in the production, export and maintenance of the combat aircraft Eurofighter Typhoon, as well as the aerial refueling tanker plane A330 MRTT.

The NGOs are requesting that the Spanish government:

  • establish an independent inquiry involving experts in international human rights law and international humanitarian law to investigate the use of the A330 MRTTs and the Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft by the Saudi-led military coalition;
  • suspend any licenses for the provision of maintenance, training and other associated services related to the A330 MRTTs; and
  • suspend any export licenses for parts and components for the Eurofighter Typhoon.

Based on the report’s findings, official UN and civil society reports indicate that war crimes were committed by SA and the UAE in Yemen. Both Spanish government officials and the decision-making staff of Airbus Defence may have aided and abetted alleged war crimes. [...]

“Airbus is benefiting from the continuous stream of arms licenses granted by the Spanish government for the Coalition, and it needs to be held accountable. Corporations are responsible under international standards to avoid causing or contributing to adverse human rights impacts that are directly linked to their operations,” explained Jordi Calvo Rufanges, Centre Delàs for Peace Studies spokesperson. [...]

Already in December 2019, Mwatana, ECCHR and a group of other NGOs submitted a Communication  to the International Criminal Court, detailing 26 separate airstrikes by the military coalition that can be classified as war crimes. In the Communication, ECCHR and its partners call on the ICC to investigate the legal responsibility of corporate and political actors from Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Airbus responded to the allegations stating that it "is firmly committed to conducting its business ethically, based on its Company values, and in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations." The full statement can be found in the Annex of the Report.