UN Panel Concludes Saudi Strikes in Yemen May Amount to War Crimes

Jan 30th, 2017 | By | Category: News Posts

An investigation, conducted by an expert UN panel, on ten separate airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen found that a large number of the attacks were the result of an “ineffective targeting process” or deliberate attacks on peaceful targets.

The 63-page report was presented to the UN Security Council on Friday and stated: “In eight of the 10 investigations, the panel found no evidence that the airstrikes had targeted legitimate military objectives… For all 10 investigations, the panel considers it almost certain that the coalition did not meet international humanitarian law requirements of proportionality and precautions in attack.”

The experts said “the panel considers that some of the attacks may amount to war crimes,” which support statements made by independent observers of the conflict.

RT reports:

“The small subset of attacks, which took place between March and October last year, resulted in the deaths of over 100 women in children. Earlier this month, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, estimated that more than 10,000 people have been killed in the war so far, with many of them the victims of airstrikes.

Saudi Arabia’s UN Ambassador, Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, flatly denied responsibility, saying the coalition – which includes Gulf states such as Qatar and Kuwait – was exercising maximum restraint and rigorous rules of engagement.’”

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The panel finds that violations associated with the conduct of the air campaign are sufficiently widespread to reflect either an ineffective targeting process or a broader policy of attrition against civilian infrastructure,” read the report. “All coalition member states and their allies also have an obligation to take appropriate measures to ensure respect for international humanitarian law by the coalition.”

The UN group dismissed Saudi explanations that the naval blockade of Yemen had been imposed because Iran was supplying Shia Houthi rebels with weapons: The panel has not seen sufficient evidence to confirm any direct large-scale supply of arms from the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, although there are indicators that anti-tank guided weapons being supplied to the Houthi or Saleh forces are of Iranian manufacture.”

RT reports that both the US and the UK have avoided directly criticizing Saudi Arabia for their role in the Yemen conflict:

“Both the US and the UK have been major suppliers of arms to the Saudis. In September 2016, Reuters reports, the US Senate cleared the way for a $1.15 billion sale of tanks and other military equipment to kingdom. Saudi Arabia has also been buying arms from the UK – with estimated purchases at some 3.3 billion pounds. That includes more than 2.2 billion worth of warplanes, helicopters and drones.”

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