The Netherlands

On behalf of the team

On 23 November 2021, the District Court of The Hague rendered judgment on the claim of two foundations and one association v. the State.[1] In these proceedings, the claimants sought an injunction prohibiting the State from allowing the export of (future) military goods and technology for the Egyptian State and/or the Egyptian navy. According to the claimants, Egypt violates human rights on a grand scale and the Egyptian Navy is an integral part of this regime. The (Dutch) State acted unlawfully by allowing and granting a permit for the export of these military goods to Egypt; there is a (highly) plausible risk that the proposed deliveries of military goods to the Egyptian Navy could contribute to or even be used directly in acts of domestic suppression, violations of fundamental human rights, violations of international (humanitarian) law and/or otherwise violate the obligations of the Netherlands under the Common Position and the Arms Trade Treaty.

One of the foundations was declared to have no locus standi because it failed to demonstrate that it meets the requirements of Article 3:305a DCC. The other claimants were however declared to have locus standi.

The District Court held that the claimants were unable to make a sufficiently plausible case that, given the current situation, the Minister could not have reasonably arrived at his decision to grant the current permits for the export of military goods to Egypt. The State monitors and takes all available information into account in the process of its decision-making. The State also made a plausible case that it carefully assesses the granting of permits. In addition, it was not asserted, nor is there any evidence, that other EU countries are currently declining to make similar deliveries to the Egyptian Navy. The claimants’ claims were therefore denied.

[1]District Court of The Hague 23 November 2021, ECLI:NL:RBDHA:2021:12810