UN details possible war crimes in Yemen

BBC

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UN human rights experts believe war crimes may have been committed by all parties to the conflict in Yemen.

In their first report, they allege Yemeni government forces, the Saudi-led coalition backing them, and the rebel Houthi movement have made little effort to minimise civilian casualties.

They point to attacks on residential areas in which thousands have died.

The warring parties are also accused of arbitrary detentions, torture, enforced disappearances and recruiting children.

The experts will present their report to the UN Human Rights Council next month.

War in Yemen
Yemen has been devastated by a conflict that escalated in early 2015, when the Houthis seized control of much of the west of the country and forced President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi to flee abroad.

Alarmed by the rise of a group they saw as an Iranian proxy, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and seven other Arab states intervened in an attempt to restore the government. They have received logistical and intelligence support from the US, UK and France.

At least 6,660 civilians have been killed and 10,563 injured in the fighting, according to the United Nations. Thousands of civilians have died from preventable causes, including malnutrition, disease and poor health.

The fighting and a partial blockade by the coalition has also left 22 million people in need of humanitarian aid, created the world’s largest food security emergency, and led to a cholera outbreak that is thought to have affected 1.1 million people.

Way forward
The experts say they have identified, where possible, individuals who may be responsible for war crimes and passed a confidential list of their names to the UN high commissioner for human rights.

They also urged the international community to “refrain from providing arms that could be used in the conflict”, an apparent reference to Western countries, who are selling weapons to the coalition, and to Iran, which the coalition alleges is smuggling weapons the Houthis.

Nneka Ukachukwu