Saudi-led coalition may have committed war crimes in Yemen

Saul Bowman
August 30, 2018

The governments of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen may have been responsible for war crimes including rape, torture, disappearances and "deprivation of the right to life" during more than three years of fighting against rebels in Yemen, three UN experts have said. The 41-page report will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council next month to determine the next steps.

Since March 2015, at least 6,660 civilians have been killed and more than 10,500 injured in the conflict, according to the OHCHR report.

The experts also chronicled the damage from coalition airstrikes, the single most lethal force in the fighting, over the previous year.

Since then, fighting has devolved into proxy warfare, with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates arming and fighting alongside a disparate group of Islamist, tribal and regional militias against the Houthis, who control Sanaa, the capital, as well as the major port of Hodeida and their ancestral territories along the Saudi border.

The Saudi coalition, which has had U.S., French and British logistical and intelligence support, has carried out strikes in Yemen to reinstate the internationally recognized presidency of Abdu Rabbo Mansour Hadi, whom rebels drove into exile three years ago.

The conflict in Yemen may be a complex worldwide issue, but United Nations investigators have just found a depressing common denominator: A new fact-finding reports suggests that all parties to the conflict are guilty of war crimes, reports the BBC.

They also called on all sides to halt hostilities, and urged support for United Nations efforts to broker a peace deal. Civilians report widespread detentions, along with torture and rape.


Fresh allegations of potential war crimes by the Saudi-led coalition battling the Houthi rebels in Yemen are putting strain on flagging U.S. support for the mission.

"Despite the severity of the situation, we continue to witness the total disregard of the suffering of the people of Yemen", Charles Garraway, one of the experts, told reporters.

Sixty coalition attacks on residential areas reviewed by the experts killed more than 500 civilians, including 233 children, they said.

The attacks came as tens of the military unit's members began to withdraw from their positions in the face of a massive assault by Yemeni forces backed by Ansarullah fighters.

While the remarks have not been made public, both the Pentagon and the US State Department have allegedly delivered direct messages of concern to the coalition, the report stated. "Our conduct there is to try to keep the human cost of innocents being killed to the absolute minimum".

Yemeni children gather outside their classroom in December 2016, at a school that was recently damaged in a Saudi-led air strike in the country's third-city of Taez.

"The USA, UK and other states should do everything in their power to prevent further violations and address the catastrophic humanitarian crisis", Lynn Maalouf, the Middle East research director for Amnesty International, said in a statement.

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