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  • 22 Jul, 2024

British company under criminal investigation over arms sales to Israel

British company under criminal investigation over arms sales to Israel

In the UK, arms manufacturers and exporters are under scrutiny for arms sales to Israel and are currently facing criminal charges.

Media reports said directors of 20 British defense companies received notices on Thursday warning them that they could be held liable in court for complicity in war crimes and crimes against humanity over arms sales to genocidal regimes.

Pro-Palestinian activists warned the company directors that it is illegal under UK law to "commit acts abroad that amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity," citing a provision in the 2001 International Criminal Court Act that provides for jurisdiction.

"Individuals who supply arms to Israel are committing a crime, purely and simply," Dearbhla Minogue, senior lawyer at the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN), said in a statement.

"The fact that they hide behind an inadequate licensing regime will not protect them when they face the court of their peers, because the public can see through the politicians' cover-up."

GLAN and three other campaigning groups, including Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), Want War and the International Centre for Palestinian Justice (ICJP), addressed directors of British defence contractors who supply parts for the F-35 fighter jets, which Israel uses in its ongoing brutal campaign in Gaza. Lockheed Martin manufactures the F-35 fighter jets in the US with the support of international partners, including British company BAE Systems, which supplies key components for the manufacture of fighter jets used widely by the Israeli military. Activists warned British companies that they "may face criminal liability for the atrocities currently taking place in Gaza."

"Corporate executives who have decided to supply weapons to a nation whose leaders have made it clear they will not abide by international law and whose armies are committing one atrocity after another have nowhere to hide," said Neil Sammons, a pro-war activist at Want.

The UK and the US are the Israeli regime's most important arms suppliers, along with Germany and Italy.  The US Congress recently approved one of the largest arms sales to Israel since October, including 50 F-15 fighter jets worth more than $18 billion.

The Israeli war machine began its massacre in Gaza in early October. The regime has since killed around 37,400 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injured more than 85,500.