Saudi-led coalition rejects UN's Yemen 'war crimes' report

Saudi-led coalition rejects UN's Yemen 'war crimes' report
2 min read
30 August, 2018
In their first report released on Tuesday, a team of UN-mandated investigators said all parties in Yemen's bloody conflict have committed a "substantial number of violations of international humanitarian law".
The UN has described the situation in Yemen as world's worst humanitarian crisis. [Getty]
A Saudi-led coalition battling in Yemen on Wednesday dismissed as inaccurate a report by UN investigators that highlighted possible war crimes in the conflict-torn country including deadly airstrikes by the alliance.

"We affirm the inaccuracies in the report and its non-neutrality," the coalition said in a statement released by the official Saudi Press Agency.

"The report did not mention Iran's role in the continuation of the war... and its continued support for the Houthi" militias.

The coalition added that it would later provide a "comprehensive and detailed legal response" to the report.

In their first report released on Tuesday, a team of UN-mandated investigators said all parties in Yemen's bloody conflict have committed a "substantial number of violations of international humanitarian law".

Many of these violations may amount to "war crimes", the report said, pointing to widespread arbitrary detention, rape and torture.

The report said coalition airstrikes had caused "most of the documented civilian casualties", pointing to a large number of strikes on residential areas, markets, funerals, weddings and medical facilities.
[Click to enlarge]

It said there were "serious concerns about the targeting process applied by the coalition," pointing out that in many cases there were no apparent military targets in the vicinity of the attacks.

The Saudi-led coalition's investigations into alleged war crimes in Yemen have lacked credibility and failed to provide redress to civilian victims, Human Rights Watch said in a report released last week.

"For more than two years, the coalition has claimed that JIAT was credibly investigating allegedly unlawful airstrikes, but the investigators were doing little more than covering up war crimes," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

In October 2016, a coalition airstrike killed 140 people at a funeral in the rebel-held capital Sanaa.

In the most recent deadly incident, forty children were among 51 people killed in a Saudi-led coalition airstrike on a bus in rebel-held northern Yemen in August.

Yemen's devastating conflict has left nearly 10,000 people dead since March 2015, when a Saudi-led coalition intervened to fight Houthi rebels closing in on the last bastion of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi's government.

The UN human rights office said Tuesday that some 6,660 civilians were among the dead, while more than 10,500 had been injured.

The UN has already described the situation in Yemen as world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab