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Al-Haq and Partners Win Case Against COGES: Israeli arms companies, their affiliates and all Israeli delegations or intermediaries are barred from EUROSATORY arms fair
15، Jun 2024

On June 6, a coalition of organizations including Al-Haq, ASER, Stop Fuelling War, AFPS, Urgence Palestine and Stop Arming Israel France, supported by more than fifty organizations took legal action against COGES (the organizer of the EUROSATORY, the world's largest arms fair). The action sought effective measures to prevent Israeli arms companies and their subsidiaries from attending the EUROSATORY to sell their technologies when the Israeli army is committing war crimes, crimes against humanity, and what the International Court of Justice has qualified as plausible genocide. It also called for Israeli delegations to be barred from buying weapons at the Villepinte trade show from June 17 to 21, which could contribute to the aforementioned crimes.

This action follows an initial summons sent to the COGES on May 24, 2024, giving it eight days to take all necessary measures to prevent the show from contributing to aggravating the situation of absolute emergency in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Our coalition of organisations called on the French Ministry of the Armed Forces, to ban all Israeli stands from the show on May 31, 2024: leading to a first victory for the associations, which have been campaigning for months in parallel against the arming of Israel.

However, several declarations by Israeli companies indicated that they would circumvent this ban, by being present at other companies' stands, and through subsidiaries or other affiliated companies. The associations showed that at least seven subsidiary companies were majority-owned by Israeli companies, were still registered for the show. In addition, even though the stands of the Israeli arms companies were effectively banned from the show, COGES still allowed those responsible for Israeli crimes in Palestine to come and secure foreign arms purchases for the next few years.

There was therefore still a high risk that the exhibition would contribute to international crimes, and violations of international humanitarian law, the compliance with which was nevertheless required under COGES' general terms and conditions of sale and French criminal law. The associations, represented by lawyers Matteo Bonaglia and Dominique Cochain, petitioned the Bobigny Tribunal Judiciare in France, to prevent the risks of imminent harm and manifestly illicit acts, through the June 6 subpoena, and at a hearing on June 13 held at 9:30 am.

The COGES' lawyers argued that the court lacked jurisdiction and further submitted that the associations lacked legal standing. They asserted that attendance at the world's largest arms trade show was in no way a commercial transaction and therefore could not contribute to crimes in Palestine. They stressed that the Court did not have the power to ban Israeli buyers from the show.

The judges dismissed all COGES arguments, and ruled in favour of Al-Haq and partners on all grounds. The Court ordered a ban on the Israeli delegations, intermediaries and companies in any form at the show. They also ordered the decision to be posted at all entrances to the show.

This decision sets an important precedent, in that it recalls that private companies such as COGES are bound by the law, to prevent any risk of contributing in any way to serious international crimes regardless of the measures taken by the executive.

Following the government's decision on May 31 to ban the presence of Israeli arms manufacturers, the court decision vindicates those who have been advocating for human rights in Palestine and further actions to ban Israeli arms transactions in France. The complementarity of action and legal strategies makes it possible to take legal action domestically, to prevent breaches of international law.   

Taking advantage of the momentum created by this victory, the plaintiff associations and collectives supporting this legal action are calling on everyone to join the a rally organized on Monday June 17, starting at the same time as the EUROSATORY, 8:30 am, on the forecourt of the Villepinte Exhibition Centre in Paris, “Against EUROSATORY and its world, for an immediate halt to all arms trade arms trade with Israel” and at the “Anti-SATORY, disarmament week” counter-show from June 16 to 21 at AERI in Montreuil.

Associations/collectives of the coalition:

The subpoena was filed by:

This action was born out of the work of a coalition of some twenty collectives, lawyers and non-lawyers, coordinated within a collaborative workspace that gives access to legal strategy, including:

Civil society associations/collectives who signed the press release announcing the initial summons, 1st stage of the legal action (in alphabetical order):

  • Action Justice Climat
  • Alofa Tuvalu -Attac France
  • Avocats pour la justice au Proche Orient
  • BAOBAB 16
  • BDS Provence
  • Collectif des Elèves Avocat.e.s Solidaires avec la Palestine (CEASP)
  • Comité Palestine de Jussieu
  • DAL16
  • Emancipation, tendance intersyndicale
  • Europalestine
  • FIDH
  • FSU
  • Fondation Danielle Mitterrand
  • Kessem
  • Féministes Juives Décoloniales
  • Ligue des Juristes pour la Paix
  • Le Bruit Qui Court
  • Les Rayonnantxes
  • Mouvement pour une Alternative Non-violente (MAN)
  • Le Mouvement de la Paix
  • TEJE (Travailler Ensemble Jeunes et Engagé·e·s)
  • Terres de Luttes
  • Union Juive française pour la paix
  • Citoyennetés pour la paix de Colombie-France
  • Collectif Palestine de Créteil
  • AFPS
  • Collectif Palestine du biterrois pour une paix juste/Béziers
  • The Liberation March (TLM)
  • Tsedek!
  • Union Syndicale Solidaires
  • Union Syndicale Solidaires Ariège
  • Utopia 56

New civil society groups or associations supporting the legal action (in alphabetical order):

  • Amis de la Terre France
  • Association des Sahraouis en France
  • Association de Solidarité Interpeuples
  • Assemblée féministe Paris Banlieue
  • Attac France
  • BDS France
  • Charente Palestine Solidarité
  • Collectif Judeo Arabe et Citoyen pour la Palestine (CJACP)
  • Collectif Palestine Nord Essonne
  • Collectif 69 de soutien au peuple palestinien
  • Collectif Vietnam-Dioxine
  • Comité Palestine Unistras
  • Comité étudiant de soutien à la Palestine de Evry-Courcouronnes
  • Couserans
  • Palestine Ariège
  • Femmes Plurielles
  • Justice Sans Frontiere (JSF)
  • Marseille Gaza Palestine (MAGPAL)
  • Pour une Santé Engagée et Solidaire
  • Relève Féministe
  • Stop Précarité
  • TEJE (Travailler Ensemble Jeunes et Engagé·e·s)
  • Unitedvoices_unitedaswat (UV_UA)
  • Union Décoloniale
  • Juifs Arabes Musulmans (UD-AJM)

Press Contacts:

  • Stop Arming Israel France, collectif formé en novembre 2023, en réponse à l'appel de plus de 30 syndicats palestiniens demandant aux pays complices d'Israël de "mettre fin à toute complicité - arrêter d'armer Israël": [email protected], 06 21 04 25 90 ;
  • Urgence Palestine: le Collectif Urgence Palestine rassemble des citoyen-ne-s, des organisations et mouvements associatifs, syndicaux et politiques mobilisés pour l'autodétermination du peuple palestinien: [email protected];
  •  ASER, association spécialiste des questions d’utilisation et de transferts d’armes dans le domaine du droit international : [email protected], 07 72 33 40 45;
  •  Al-Haq, Organisation non-gouvernementale indépendante fondée en 1979 pour compenser le manque de mécanismes protecteurs des droits de l'homme en Palestine, membre affilé de diverses organisations internationales, y compris la Fédération Internationale des Droits de l'Homme et le Commission Internationale de Juristes : [email protected];
  • AFPS: Association France Palestine Solidarité, [email protected] 07 68 29 02 17 ;
  •  Stop Fuelling war: [email protected]