UN experts cite possible war crimes in Yemen by conflict parties

Source: Xinhua| 2018-08-28 22:51:25|Editor: yan
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GENEVA, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- A Group of Regional and International Eminent Experts on Yemen said Tuesday that information they have gathered strongly suggests that parties to the armed conflict there have perpetrated crimes under international law.

The findings are detailed in a 41-page report published by the Group Experts mandated by the United Nations Human Rights Council to carry out a comprehensive examination of the human rights situation in Yemen.

The report covers the period from September 2014 to June 2018 and analyses the main patterns of violations and abuses of international human rights law, international humanitarian law and international criminal law committed by parties to the conflict.

"There is little evidence of any attempt by parties to the conflict to minimize civilian casualties. I call on them to prioritize human dignity in this forgotten conflict," said Kamel Jendoubi, chairperson of the Group of International and Regional Eminent Experts on Yemen.

The Group of Experts received substantial information indicating Yemen government, the coalition-backed forces, and the Houthi-Saleh forces have all conscripted or enlisted children into armed forces or groups and used them to participate actively in hostilities.

In most cases, the children were between 11 and 17 years old, but there have been consistent reports of the recruitment or use of children as young as eight years old.

The report identifies significant areas where violations and abuses may have been committed but further investigation is required.

Noting that coalition air strikes have caused most direct civilian casualties, the experts say individuals in the Yemen government and the coalition backing it have committed acts that may, subject to determination by an independent and competent court, amount to international crimes.

The coalition intervened in the Yemeni conflict in March 2015 to roll back the Shiite Houthi rebels and support the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

The rebels have seized control over much of the country's north since September 2014, including Sanaa, and forced Hadi and his government into exile in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.

According to the UN Human Rights Office, from March 2015 to Aug. 23, 2018, 6,660 civilians were killed and 10,563 injured; however, the real figures are likely to be significantly higher.