Saudi War Crimes in Yemen: UK, US and France Complicit – UN report

Saudi War Crimes in Yemen: UK, US and France Complicit – UN report...
theguardian.com 16/09/2019 Military

Keywords:#, #2015, #Arab, #Arabia, #Britain, #British, #Egypt, #Emirates, #France, #Houthi, #International_Committee_of_the_Red_Cross, #Nations, #Oxfam, #Red_Cross, #Sana’a, #Saudi, #Saudi_Arabia, #Theguardian.com, #UAE, #UK, #US, #United_Arab_Emirates, #United_Nations, #War_Crimes, #War_Crimes_in_Yemen, #Yemen, #Yemen_War, #Yemen_War_Crimes, #Yemeni

Panel lists 160 key actors in Yemen war who could face charges, adding to pressure on UK to end Saudi arms sales
By Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor
Tue 3 Sep 2019 14.43 BST
Last modified on Tue 15 Sep 2019 19.15 BST
Yemen War Crimes An airstrike in Sanaʽa on 11 May 2015

* * * Britain, the US and France may be complicit in war crimes in Yemen by arming and providing support to a Saudi-led coalition that starves civilians as a war tactic, a United Nations report has said.
A UN panel of experts has for the first time compiled a list of 160 military officers and politicians who could face war crimes charges, including from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Houthi rebel movement and Yemeni government military forces. A secret list of those most likely to be complicit has been sent to the UN.
The UN report will very likely be used as further evidence for those demanding that the British government end arms sales to Saudi for use in Yemen.
“This shocking report should act as a wake-up call to the UK government. It offers all the proof needed of the misery and suffering being inflicted on the people of Yemen by a war partly fuelled by UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other coalition members,” said Oxfam’s Yemen country director, Muhsin Siddiquey.
The UK court of appeal on 20 June ruled that arms sales to Saudi Arabia have continued without proper UK investigation of the risk of war crimes being committed by the Saudi-led coalition and required the UK government to set out what it had done to rectify this. The UK government is due to provide its response, possibly this month.
The British government, in defending sales to Saudi Arabia, is largely dependent on a team set up by Saudi Arabia to review alleged coalition violations, but its credibility is repeatedly challenged by the UN report.
The UN panel, which includes a Briton, Charles Garraway, found the Saudi team had failed to hold anyone accountable for any strike killing civilians, raising “concerns as to the impartiality of its investigations”.
It also described the Saudi assessment of the targeting process as “particularly worrying, [since] it implies that an attack hitting a military target is legal, notwithstanding civilian casualties, hence ignoring the principle of proportionality”.
Airstrikes by the Saudi-led military coalition in south-west Yemen on Sunday hit a prison complex, killing scores of people, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Set up by the UN human rights council two years ago, the panel appears determined to introduce some individual accountability into the conduct of the war.
Yemeni government forces, including those backed by the UAE, continue to arbitrarily detain, threaten and otherwise target individuals who openly questioned or criticised them, including political opponents, journalists, human rights defenders and religious leaders, the report said. At least 13 journalists and media workers are in detention in Sana’a on charges relating to their work.
The UN panel said it received allegations that Emirati and affiliated forces tortured, raped and killed suspected political opponents detained in secret facilities at Bir Ahmed prison II, al-Bureiqa and numerous unofficial detention sites. It found many detainees were tortured, including by electrocution, hanging by the arms and legs, sexual violence and long periods of solitary confinement.
It also found Houthi fighters “used anti-personnel and anti-vehicle landmines, in violation of international humanitarian law, notably in the way the mines were emplaced in unmarked locations frequented by civilians, with little or no warning given, which rendered their use indiscriminate. The use of anti-personnel mines is prohibited by the anti-personnel mine ban convention, the application of which has been acknowledged by the de facto authorities.
The governments of Yemen, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt did not cooperate with the UN group or support its work, but the panel said it nevertheless conducted more than 600 interviews.
The UN has documented at least 7,292 civilians killed (including at least 1,959 children and 880 women) and 11,630 civilians injured (including 2,575 children and 1,256 women ) in Yemen as a direct result of the armed conflict between March 2015 (when it began such tracking) and June 2019. The overall death toll is thought to be much higher.
Reports of war crimes
Declaring the entire governorate Sa'ada a military target
Attacks on facilities run by aid organizations
Usage of cluster munitions
Use of white phosphorus
UAE secret prisons
Targeting of wounded and medical personnel
Use of child soldiers
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