Heckler & Koch sued the German Government for not granting exports license 43010154

Defence & Security News - (Heckler & Koch)
Heckler & Koch sued the German Government for not granting exports license
The lights arms manufacturer Heckler & Koch has sued the German Government for not granting an arms exports license for the G-36 rifle deal with Saudi Arabia. The issue was revealed by the German Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper and the NDR and WDR public broadcasters.
Heckler and Koch sued the German Government for not granting exports license
German soldiers with G-36 rifles during an exercise. (Photo: Bundeswehr)

The lawsuit was filed at the Administrative Court of Frankfurt am Main, under Section 75 of the Administrative Procedure Code. According to the German law, a company could use the federal government’s authorities when an application has not been decided, without sufficient reasoning and in reasonable time.

The authority that was sued is the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA), which did not allow H&K to export to Saudi Arabia crucial parts for the construction of G-36 rifles. The deal traces back to 2008, when the German Government approved the creation of a G-35 rifles production line in Saudi Arabia. However, one of the contract terms was that the compression springs, piston ring, fork and extractor of the rifles would be provided by the German company.

Since mid-2014, the German Government through BAFA decided not to allow the export of those parts. Therefore, the Saudi factory did not have the required parts to complete the G-36 construction. The decision was related to the criticism against the German Economy Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, for authorizing the export of weapons to countries with record of human rights violation. Small arms became the most sensitive matter in the country, given that they are not easily traced compared to major platforms such as tanks.

Although the German Government had recently eased the legislation to allow the export of weapons to Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the small arms are still a tough case for the government, which finds itself now under diplomatic and domestic pressure.



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