American arms manufacturers face lawsuit for “aiding and abetting” war crimes in Yemen which is suffering a full-blown humanitarian crisis as a result of the 8 year Saudi led war of aggression.
US defense contractors Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and, General Dynamics, have been sued by a group of seven Yemeni nationals for aiding and abetting war crimes and extrajudicial killings by selling weapons to be used in waging war on Yemen.
The lawsuit, filed in the District Court of Washington DC, also names the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman al Saud, and the United Arab Emirates’ leader, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as well as US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, and Pentagon Chief, Lloyd Austin, as defendants.
The lawsuit states: "Year after year, the bombs fell on wedding tents, funeral halls, fishing boats and a school bus, killing thousands of civilians and helping turn Yemen into the world's worst humanitarian crisis. Weapons supplied by US companies through sales unlawfully approved by US officials allowed Saudi Arabia and the UAE through the named defendant officials to pursue an indiscriminate and brutal bombing campaign".
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the victims of two separate bombings in Yemen by the Saudi led coalition, one for a wedding in 2015 and another for a funeral in 2016.
According to Human rights groups, in October 2015 a group of Yemeni people were preparing to celebrate the wedding of a relive when a coalition jet bombed the area killing 43 innocent people, including 13 women and 16 children.
A year later, Saudi led coalition jets dropped a US manufactured laser guided bomb on a crowded funeral killing over 100 civilians.
The Yemeni plaintiffs are filing the lawsuit under the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991, a US law that allows victims of torture to sue for compensation from their tormentors if the accused are in the US.
The lawsuit names the Saudi and Emirati leaders under the Alien Tort Statute, a law that grants federal courts jurisdiction over violations of international law.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the Yemeni nationals, alleges that Western manufactured bombs have killed over 25,000 civilians since the beginning of the Western backed war nearly eight years ago.
In December, the UN declared that at least 11,000 children had been killed or maimed during the war, adding that the true toll of this conflict is likely to be far higher.
The lawsuit comes more than a month after the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) in January said it could be taking legal action against the UK government over its arms sales to Saudi Arabia during the ongoing war in Yemen.
The Saudi led war in Yemen has turned the lives of Yemeni people into a nightmare. Earlier this week more than 70 rights groups came together to protest Washington's support for the war in several states across America.
The United States remains involved in enabling the military actions of the Saudi led coalition in Yemen with US military contractors providing direct support in the form of spare parts and maintenance for approximately two thirds of the Royal Saudi Air Force.
Without this assistance, these aircraft would quickly become non operational.
The Saudi led coalition launched a wide ranging aerial bombing campaign carrying out thousands of airstrikes.
Coalition forces also imposed an economic blockade on Yemen, including a sea and air blockade, worsening economic conditions for millions of Yemenis.
Meanwhile, the United States has no sufficiently compelling interest in Yemen that would justify its involvement in the worst humanitarian crisis in the World. US military aid has failed to upset the balance of the conflict. The Saudi led air war has proven largely futile.
The original objective of the Saudi led coalition was to defeat the popular Ansarullah movement and restore the ousted Western backed president, Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, to power. However, this appears increasingly unlikely as Ansarullah has consolidated its control in Yemen.
Ansarullah has been battling terrorist groups on the one hand and defending the country's territorial integrity on the other.
Senior Yemeni politicians have regularly declared that the US has sent weapons shipments for the Saudis amounting to tens of billions of dollars along with other means of support such as intelligence and training.
Yemeni officials have always referred to their enemies as the US-Saudi coalition due to Washington's full support for Riyadh in its war against the innocent people of Yemen.
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