Sunday, January 29, 2017

Saudi Airstrikes on Yemen May Amount to War Crime: UN Report
Sun Jan 29, 2017 6:56PM

A man who was wounded in a Saudi airstrike on a funeral in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, lies on a hospital bed on October 9, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

The United Nations says Saudi Arabia's deadly airstrikes against Yemen "may amount to war crimes," strongly urging Riyadh's allies in the campaign, including the US, Britain and France, to respect international humanitarian law.

An annual report prepared by UN experts, who monitor sanctions and the conflict in the war-torn Yemen, investigated 10 Saudi-led coalition strikes from March to October last year that claimed the lives of at least 292 civilians, including about 100 women and children.

"In eight of the 10 investigations, the panel found no evidence that the airstrikes had targeted legitimate military objectives," the experts said in the 63-page report, which was presented to the UN Security Council on January 27.

The report, as was quoted by Reuters on Saturday, further said that the panel reached a firm conclusion that the Saudi-led coalition had not met the "international humanitarian law requirements of proportionality and precautions in attack" for all the 10 investigated airstrikes.

According to the UN experts, the member states of the so-called Saudi-led coalition are Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan.

The panel added that the "violations associated with the conduct of the air campaign are sufficiently widespread to reflect… a broader policy of attrition against civilian infrastructure."

Saudi Arabia has been engaged in the deadly campaign against Yemen since March 2015 in an attempt to bring back to power Yemen's former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh, and undermine the popular Houthi Ansarullah movement.

The UN report further said forces loyal to Hadi, including officials and security forces, committed "widespread and systematic violations of international humanitarian law, international human rights law and human rights norms" against the Yemeni people during the abovementioned period.

The Saudi war has so far claimed the lives of at least 11,400 Yemenis, and taken a heavy toll on Yemen's facilities and infrastructure, destroying many hospitals, schools, and factories.

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said recently that the military aggression against Yemen had killed nearly 1,400 Yemeni kids, injuring hundreds more.

Rights groups have described the United States and the United Kingdom as complicit in the bloodletting given their provision of deadly weapons to the Saudi regime during the bombardment campaign.

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