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Amnesty urges UN inquiry into Yemen war crimes

18 August 2015 20:25


Amnesty International has called for a UN-commissioned inquiry into potential war crimes committed during Saudi Arabia’s ongoing aggression against Yemen.

In a report on Tuesday, the rights watchdog called on the United Nations Human Rights Council to establish an international commission of inquiry to investigate “alleged war crimes” committed in Yemen.

Amnesty said “unlawful attacks” which “may amount to war crimes” have been conducted by the Saudi regime in many areas in Yemen.

It also criticized “unlawful coalition airstrikes in densely populated residential neighborhoods.”

Donatella Rovera, a senior crisis response adviser at Amnesty, said Saudi Arabia has “blatantly failed to take necessary precautions to minimize civilian casualties, an obligation under international humanitarian law. Indiscriminate attacks that result in death or injury to civilians amount to war crimes.”

“Perpetrators of the callous attacks against civilians in Yemen need to know that they will pay the price and will be held responsible for war crimes,” Rovera said.
“If the international community fails to investigate and hold violators to account then such attacks and the rampant killing and injuring of civilians is only likely to continue,” she added.

Rovera noted that people in Yemen are grappling with high food prices, damaged infrastructure and limited healthcare.

No respite from Saudi strikes

The development comes as Saudi Arabia keeps pounding areas across Yemen. On Tuesday morning, Saudi fighter jets launched 10 airstrikes against the al-Mina district in the western Yemeni province of Hudaydah, inflicting considerable damage on the area, Lebanon’s Arabic-language al-Mayadeen satellite news network reported.

At least two people were killed and nearly two dozen people injured in the bombardments which completely burnt down warehouses used to keep humanitarian aid. Trucks and cranes were also destroyed in the strikes.

Elsewhere, Saudi jets dropped bombs in Razih district of Sa’ada Province and the Barakish area in Ma’rib Province. Nearly 20 civilians were killed in earlier strikes in Jawf, Ibb and Hajjah.

The offensive against the aid warehouses comes amid Saudi Arabia’s tight siege of Yemen. Aid groups have already complained that the air, sea and naval blockade has prevented relief supplies from entering Yemen.

Saudi Arabia launched its military aggression against Yemen on March 26 – without a UN mandate – in an effort to undermine Yemen’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement and also restore power to the country’s fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh.

The United Nations says the conflict in Yemen has killed more than 4,000 people, nearly half of them civilians, since late March. Local Yemeni sources, however, say the fatality figure is much higher.

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