UN calls out West and Iran for fueling in arms for war crimes in Yemen

September 10, 2020

The six year-long conflict in Yemen is being fueled by weapons and arms supply by Iran and Western powers to warring parties in the country. UN investigators called out West and Iran on Wednesday of the extending conflict in Yemen recently marked by the Houthi shelling and Saudi-led coalition air strikes.

The investigators said that the amount of Houthi movement which is aligned to Iran has caused killings and abuses in Yemen is constituted to war crimes. Also the coalition air strikes performed in past year also amount to war crimes.

The panel of investigators found out for third consecutive year that all parties involved had violated international law. The findings of this year were based on incidents from June 2019 to June 2020.

The UN panel said in its report titled “Yemen: A Pandemic of Impunity in a Tortured Land” that many countries which include US, Canada, France, Britain and Iran continue to support warring sides “including through arms transfers, thereby helping to perpetuate the conflict.”

Kamel Jendoubi, Chairman of the Group of Experts said, “After years of documenting the terrible toll of this war, no one can say ‘we did not know what was happening in Yemen’.” The UN’s committee of three experts have urged the UN Security Council to refer the Yemen’s situation to International Criminal Court (ICC) for the investigations and prosecutions.

In March 2015 the Sunni Muslim coalition, which was led by Saudi Arabia, had intervened in Yemen after Houthi group had ousted the government from power in country’s capital city of Sanaa in 2014.

The conflicts and war in Yemen that has been going on for six years now is largely seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and its regional rival Shi’ite Muslim majority country Iran. This war has already led to over 100,000 people killed and millions on the verge of a famine.

The UN report said regarding the coalition which is supporting Yemen’s exiled president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government, “During the reporting period, the Group verified a further four airstrikes or series of airstrikes involving similar failures to take all necessary measures to protect civilians and civilian objects.”

The report further states, “Disproportionate attacks constitute war crimes under customary international law.” One such attack was the deadly airstrike of 2020 which was launched on February 15 by the coalition on a village in Al-Hayjah area in Al-Jawf province. Approximately 50 civilians were killed and injured in this airstrike.

The UN panel said, “The coalition’s restrictions on imports and access to Al-Hudaydah port have contributed to shortages of fuel and other necessities and to inflation, thereby exacerbating the economic and humanitarian crisis.”

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