United Nations points to possible 'war crimes' in Yemen conflict

Posted August 30, 2018

"The Group of Experts has reasonable grounds to believe that the Governments of Yemen, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are responsible for human rights violations, including unlawful deprivation of the right to life, arbitrary detention, rape, torture, ill-treatment, enforced disappearance and child recruitment, and serious violations of freedom of expression and economic, social and cultural rights, in particular the right to an adequate standard of living and the right to health", according to the 41-page report released Tuesday in Geneva.

The experts documented some 6,475 deaths from March 2015 up until June of this year, but said the "real figure is likely to be significantly higher".

The experts say they also received information indicating all parties had conscripted or enlisted children - some as young as eight years old - and used them to participate actively in hostilities.

The coalition has announced its own probe into that raid.

Sixty coalition attacks on residential areas reviewed by the experts killed more than 500 civilians, including 233 children, they said.

"There is little evidence of any attempt by parties to the conflict to minimize civilian casualties", said Kamel Jendoubi, chairman of the Group of global and Regional Eminent Experts on Yemen. "I call on them to prioritize human dignity in this forgotten conflict". It covers the period from September 2014 to June 2018 and analyzes abuses of worldwide human rights and global criminal law committed by parties to the conflict.

The experts also found evidence of widespread arbitrary detention throughout the country by all parties, and ill-treatment and torture of some facilities.

"The group of experts characterization of the restoration of Hodeidah from Iranian-backed Houthi militias as an "aggression" by the legitimate government & the coalition is highly questionable and raises questions about the neutrality, objectivity and overall content of the report", AlJabir tweeted.

The experts have also chronicled the damages from coalition air strikes, the single most lethal force in the fighting, over the past year.

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Witnesses told the Group of Experts that Security Belt Forces and United Arab Emirates personnel have perpetrated sexual violence against displaced persons, migrants and vulnerable groups.

More than 10,000 people have been killed in the war in Yemen and 8.4 million are on the brink of starvation, the panel said.

"The USA, UK and other states should do everything in their power to prevent further violations and address the catastrophic humanitarian crisis", Lynn Maalouf, the Middle East research director for Amnesty International, said in a statement.

The governments listed in the report have yet to respond despite receiving an advanced copy.

Spindler said the offensive has resulted in the displacement of over 50,800 families, citing the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The panel said it did not examine the individual contribution of the United States and Britain, which supply weapons and intelligence to the alliance, or Iranian support for the Houthis.

The Yemeni conflict has escalated over the last few months, especially in Al Hudaydah.

Restrictions at air and sea ports that have prevented aid, medicine and other supplies from entering Yemen may also constitute a violation of worldwide humanitarian law, the United Nations investigators said.

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