People directly responsible for alleged war crimes in Yemen could face charges, a panel of experts at the United Nations said Tuesday. The United States, France, the United Kingdom, and Iran could potentially be complicit, according to the report.
There are reportedly 160 politicians and military officers who have been identified as responsible for the “unprecedented humanitarian crisis” in Yemen including those from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Yemeni government, and the Houthi rebel movement. Allegations of crimes include torture, sexual violence, and siege-like tactics to create a famine.
The secret list has been sent to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, who is the former president of Chile. “The individuals concerned should be investigated with a view to prosecution,” the experts said.
The experts also called for a negotiated peace settlement in Yemen that would include accountability for human rights violations.
According to a member of the panel, Charles Garraway, the experts also recommend that states not authorize arms sales to parties involved in the conflict. “This is because of the prevailing risk that such arms will be used by parties to commit or to facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law,” he said.
“It is clear that the continued supply of weapons to parties to the conflict is perpetuating the conflict and prolonging the suffering of the Yemeni people,” said another one of the experts, Melissa Parke.
According to the U.N., more than 7,000 civilians have been killed directly by the conflict in Yemen between March 2015 and June 2019.
The panel of experts described the devastation there:
The parties to the conflict in Yemen are responsible for an array of human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law. Some of these violations are likely to amount to war crimes. The practical impact of these violations on the lives of ordinary Yemenis has been immense and wide ranging. Shelling and airstrikes hit people going about their daily lives, often without warning in areas where there is no active combat ongoing, creating the sense that there is no safe place to hide from the fighting. Landmines left by the Houthis kill and maim people long after battles have subsided. The blockade, siege-like tactics, attacks impacting objects essential to the survival of the population and impediments to the delivery of aid deprive the population of necessary items while Yemen is undergoing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis.
Lawmakers in the U.S., meanwhile, are pushing to end the country’s aid to Saudi Arabia over the atrocities in Yemen.