Arms sales: Paris denies violation of international law


PARIS (Reuters) – The French government on Wednesday rejected criticism of organizations for the defense of Human rights, who accuse him of violating the international regulations on the sales of weapons, in defending a scrupulous evaluation of the destination and the use of these armaments.

Florence Parly has presented on Wednesday to the Defense commission of the national Assembly the report on arms exports French in 2017, which, if it shows a regression of 50% of sales to 6.9 billion euros, compared to 2016, indicates that the Near and Middle East accounted for “slightly more than 60% of exports” for a total of 3.92 billion, down from 1.94 billion in 2016.

The year 2019 will be marked by an accumulation of sales of “well over seven billion euros” thanks to the Qatar and Kuwait in particular, it was specified in the ministry of the Armed forces.

The main customers of France remained Arabia, the united arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar. The first three countries are Egypt among the leading members of the military coalition in the war since 2014 in Yemen against the rebel houthis supported militarily by Iran.

Number of NGOS, including Amnesty International, accuse France of violating the treaty on the arms trade treaty (ATT), which was ratified in 2014.

This text stipulates that any exporting country should assess “objectively and non-discriminatory” if the sale of its weapons can be used to “commit a serious violation of the international law of Human rights or to facilitate the commission”.

“France is surfing so shameless on the crisis between the Gulf countries, engaged in a race worrying for their reset, but also on the war in Yemen”, according to the Observatory of armaments.

“France applies to all of its exports are within the framework of the international conventions” in the first rank of which the TCA, does one respond to the ministry of the Armed forces.

“We have a system of analysis to which it sells, what, in what circumstances, who is extremely driven and contradictory”, assure-t-on.

“When a license request is made, among the assessment criteria, there are, of course, the job that will be able to be made of these weapons is that these weapons will be used in this or that side of the border?”, explain about the Yemen.


Emphasizing “old relationships” linking France to the Gulf States, in a spirit of “strategic stability” regional, the entourage of the minister for the Armed forces conceded that France “cannot dévendre” tanks Leclerc, Mirage-9 and guns Caesar in which the NGOS claim that they are being used in Yemen.

The executive has also responded to the accusations of four NGOS, including the international Federation of leagues of Human rights, which affirm that “the French government and several French companies have participated in the bloody crackdown by egyptian in the last five years.”

They cite in particular the sale of “technologies of personal monitoring, interception, mass, collection of individual data and crowd-control ( … ), which led to the arrest of tens of thousands of opponents or activists”.

“We can refuse the export of such or such equipment, because we know that the State in question has practices in terms of repression that are contrary to the rights of Man,” it is said.

As to the accusation of lack of transparency brought by the NGOS on the sale of French weaponry, the ministry of the Armed stresses not to be “ashamed of the level of information” of the report.

“It was the same when the number of licenses issued, by country, the amounts and type of materials”, argues, pointing out that the industrial issues for Defence and the imperatives of protection of the French forces impose a classification.

(Sophie Louet, edited by Elizabeth Pineau)

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