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UN investigators: US, Western allies may be complicit in Yemen war crimes

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A first responder searches for bodies of victims from under the rubble of a destroyed building in Dhamar District, south of the country’s capital Sana’a, on September 1, 2019, after it is hit by an air strike of the Saudi-led coalition. (Photo by AFP)

The United Nations’ investigators say they suspect the US and its chief Western allies, the UK and France, of complicity in “war crimes” in Yemen, citing their provision of arms, logistics, and intelligence to a Saudi-led coalition invading the country.

The experts offered the findings in Geneva on Tuesday, saying “the legality of arms transfers by France, the United Kingdom, the United States, and other States remains questionable, and is the subject of various domestic court proceedings.”

The trio has been giving out arms to the Saudi regime and a coalition of its vassal states, which have been engaged in a bloody military campaign against Yemen since early 2015.

The weapons include various precision armaments, which have been used on numerous occasions against densely-populated areas.

Observers say the coalition’s deployment of such guided munitions against civilians refutes its claim that the non-combatant casualties resulting from its attacks have been caused “by accident.”

Washington’s logistical support for has featured aerial refueling for the Saudi-led aircraft. Washington has stopped the support, but only after the coalition grew independent of it. The Western trio has also been giving bombing coordinates to the coalition and lending military advisors to the campaign.

The military aggression has unsuccessfully been seeking to reinstall Yemen’s former Saudi-allied government.

The ex-officials fled the country before the invasion amid a domestic political deadlock and refused to negotiate power with Yemen’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement. The group has been running the country’s affairs in the absence of any responsible administrative mechanism.

Individuals in the former Yemeni administration and the coalition, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, “may have conducted airstrikes in violation of the principles of distinction, proportionality, and precaution,” the UN report said.

They “may have [also] used starvation as a method of warfare, acts that may amount to war crimes,” the report added. It was referring to a siege of Yemen’s lifeline ports of entry, which Saudi Arabia and its allies have been employing ever since the invasion began.

Tens of thousands have died in Yemen since the onset of the coalition’s military campaign. The whole nation is also teetering on the brink of countrywide famine as the invaders keep obstructing inflow of direly-need supplies.

The UN report said its independent panel had sent a secret list to UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, identifying “individuals who may be responsible for international crimes.”

Its appendix lists the names of more than 160 “main actors” among Saudi, Emirati, former Yemeni top brass and the Houthi movement as well, although it did not specify whether any of these names also figured in its list of potential suspects.

The UN panel, meanwhile, said it had received allegations that Emirati and affiliated forces have tortured, raped, and killed suspected political opponents detained in secret facilities.


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