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Three French weapons makers complicit in war crimes in conflict-hit Yemen, three rights groups say

The file picture shows a French-made Rafale fighter jet. (Photo via Twitter)

Three human rights groups have filed a complaint against three top French weapons manufacturers for their complicity in gross war crimes after selling various types of ammunition to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as the major members of the Saudi-led coalition of aggression.

The complaint was lodged by the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), the Mwatana for Human Rights as well as Sherpa International at a Paris court on Thursday.

The non-governmental organizations targeted French aerospace company Dassault Aviation, Thales Group and MBDA France, hoping that the legal action will further enlighten the world public opinion about the acts of aggression by the Saudi-led coalition at a time when the United States and its Western allies are seeking to improve ties with the Riyadh regime.

“The [Saudi-led] coalition's airstrikes have caused terrible destruction in Yemen. Weapons produced and exported by European countries, and in particular France, have enabled these crimes,” Abdulrasheed al-Faqih, Executive Director of Yemeni organization Mwatana for Human Rights, said.

“Seven years into this war, the countless Yemeni victims deserve credible investigations into all perpetrators of crimes, including those potentially complicit,” he added.

Rights groups in France have repeatedly argued that the Paris government's tacit support for the Saudi-led coalition has prolonged and worsened the Yemen conflict.

French prosecutors are already studying similar complaints filed against UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the French customs authority.

The complaint filed by rights groups against French arms makers comes as the United Nations announced that a truce between warring Yemeni sides had been extended for two months.

The initial two-month truce started at the beginning of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan on April 2, and was set to expire on Thursday.

“I would like to announce that the parties to the conflict have agreed to the United Nations’ proposal to renew the current truce in Yemen for two additional months,” UN Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg said.

Grundberg added that the truce extension would come into effect “when the current truce period expires, today June 2, 2022 at 19:00 Yemen time (1600 GMT)”.

The Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NRC) Yemen Country Director, Erin Hutchinson, said in a statement after Grundberg’s announcement, “The announcement of the truce extension today shows a serious commitment from all parties to end the senseless suffering of millions of Yemenis.”

She added, “The last two months have shown that peaceful solutions to the conflict are a real option.”

Saudi Arabia launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in collaboration with its Arab allies and with arms and logistics support from the US and other Western states.

The objective was to reinstall the Riyadh-friendly regime of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and crush the Ansarullah resistance movement, which has been running state affairs in the absence of a functional government in Yemen.

While the Saudi-led coalition has failed to meet any of its objectives, the war has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemenis and spawned the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

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