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    NGOs sue Wallonia for arms sales to Saudi Arabia

    © Belga

    Two NGOs have filed suit against Wallonia for lack of transparency in connection with licenses issued for weapons sold to Saudi Arabia, Le Soir and Knack reported on Thursday.

    In their suit, a copy of which the newspapers received, the Belgian human rights league and the National Coordination of Action for Peace and Democracy, CNAPD, question the lack of transparency surrounding the arms deliveries to Saudi Arabia. They filed the suit against Wallonia Region at the Namur lower court, and the presentation hearing will be on 17 September.

    The two NGOs had tried unsuccessfully to obtain the list of export permits from the Premier of Wallonia in May. They then turned to the Commission on Access to Administrative Documents, CADA, in June. In July, the Commission issued a cutting opinion, stressing that the Region’s justifications for not handing over the requested documents were “inadmissible” and ordering it to provide the NGOs with a copy of the requested export licenses.

    The NGOs have now turned to the court to have their rights vindicated.

    “Victory in Namur would mean near-total transparency on the licenses granted in Wallonia over the past two years – mainly to the FN Herstal and CMI – and would open the doors for recourse to the Council of State in cases where certain arms shipments have not yet been delivered to Saudi Arabia and could therefore still be retained.

    Oscar Schneider

    The Brussels Times