UN: US, allies may be complicit in Yemen war crimes

UN: US, allies may be complicit in Yemen war crimes
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The U.S., the U.K. and France are among the nations accused of being complicit in possible war crimes in Yemen over their supplying of arms to the region, based on a report released by the United Nations Tuesday. 

The report, based on interviews with more than 600 victims and witnesses, accuses the coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates of killing civilians in airstrikes and denying them food, Reuters reports

Yemen's former ruling government has been locked in a civil war with the Houthi armed movement, which has taken over the capital city and other territory. The Trump administration has offered strong support for Saudi Arabia, but has faced resistance from members of Congress in both parties.

The Senate and House have voted to end support for Saudi Arabia in Yemen's war, but not with veto-proof majorities.

The U.N. Human Rights Council’s report said "continued supply of weapons” to parties involved in the war from the United States and other western allies “perpetuates conflict and the suffering of the population.” 

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The report said it is “particularly relevant” for countries with influence or that provide support for parties in the conflict to “ensure respect for international humanitarian law.”

“Furthermore, the Arms Trade Treaty, to which France and the United Kingdom are parties, prohibits the authorization of arms transfers with the knowledge that these would be used to commit war crimes. The legality of arms transfers by France, the United Kingdom, the United States and other States remains questionable, and is the subject of various domestic court proceedings,” it said. 

The U.N. report also accuses the Houthis of a “pervasive lack of accountability” for its shelling of Saudi cities and its use of child soldiers.

Other alleged war crimes committed by parties include arbitrary killings and detention, torture and sexual and gender-based violence. 

“Five years into the conflict, violations against Yemeni civilians continue unabated, with total disregard for the plight of the people and a lack of international action to hold parties to the conflict accountable,” said Kamel Jendoubi, chairman of the Group of Experts on Yemen.

“The international community must multiply its efforts to free the Yemeni people from the persistent injustice they have been enduring.”

The report calls for the immediate cessation of all acts of violence committed in violation of international human rights and humanitarian law.

The report also demands all parties take actions to protect civilians and ensure justice for all victims.