Rights organizations call for renewed probe into possible war crimes in Yemen

The call by rights organizations comes a day after The Guardian revealed that Saudi Arabia had used a mixture of threats and inducements to persuade countries to vote down an extension of the probe into possible war crimes in Yemen

December 03, 2021 by Peoples Dispatch

A day after the damning report by The Guardian which revealed that Saudi Arabia both threatened countries and offered them financial and diplomatic incentives to vote down a resolution regarding a war crimes investigation in Yemen, 60 human rights and other groups called upon the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to carry on the investigations, according to multiple news reports on Thursday, December 2. The groups, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and Avaaz, among others, urged the UN to create a new panel of independent experts to collect and preserve evidence of possible war crimes by all parties, adding that the new body should “”investigate and publicly report on the most serious violations and abuses of international law committed in Yemen.”

In their statement to the UNGA, the groups said, “the undersigned organizations call upon the UN General Assembly to move quickly and establish a new international accountability mechanism for Yemen. The suffering already inflicted on civilians in the country demands this step to address impunity in the ongoing conflict and send a clear warning to perpetrators on all sides that they will be held accountable for war crimes and other serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.” The groups also denounced the efforts by Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, the two major members of the Saudi-led Gulf military coalition intervening in Yemen, to lobby and influence member countries of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to vote against the resolution.

The report by The Guardian released on Wednesday detailed how the Saudi regime coerced countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia, Togo and Senegal into changing their votes against the investigation into the war crimes. The Yemen war, going on since 2014, has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians, with tens of millions of Yemenis internally displaced. The Saudi-led military coalition intervened in the war in March 2015 with the aim of defeating the Houthis and restoring the Western-backed Yemeni government to power. It has been accused of tens of thousands of  indiscriminate and devastating air strikes on civilian areas, killing and injuring thousands of civilians, further worsening an already dire humanitarian crisis.