A UN panel reported Tuesday that the US, UK and French governments may be complicit in war crimes for their assistance to the Saudi-led coalition that is attacking and starving civilians in Yemen as a military tactic.
The panel’s report, drawn from interviews with more than 600 victims and witnesses involved with the half-decade long violence in Yemen, describes a pattern of human rights abuses. These include indiscriminate bombing of civilian targets, shelling non-military targets and intentionally impeding international aid including food from reaching civilians. In a press release accompanying the report, the panel stated that “the governments of Yemen and the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, as well as the Houthis and affiliated popular committees have enjoyed a pervasive lack of accountability for violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.” In addition, the panel referred a list of more than a 160 people considered “main actors” who are believed to have intimate involvement with the ongoing war crimes to UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet for further inspection. The report called on the international community to monitor the situation in Yemen more closely and ensure protection and justice for the people of Yemen.
In addition, the panel said that it was imperative for “other States to refrain from providing arms that could be used in the conflict,” alluding to the governments of Britain, France and the US. All three countries continue to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia that have been used in the violence. The US Congress passed a bill in July prohibiting the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that would be used in Yemen, but President Donald Trump vetoed the measure. A British court recently held that UK arms sales were unlawful because the British ministers failed to take into account the civilian damage that the weapons could cause.
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