Yemen and Crimes Against Humanity
The U.N. has been investigating war crimes in the war on Yemen, and their monitors have confirmed what critics of the bombing campaign feared:
A Saudi-led coalition fighting in neighboring Yemen has targeted civilians with air strikes and some of the attacks could be crimes against humanity [bold mine-DL], United Nations sanctions monitors said in an annual report to the Security Council.
While the report acknowledges that all parties to the conflict have committed war crimes, the coalition’s attacks appear to have been carried out in a “widespread and systemic manner,” and that is what potentially qualifies as crimes against humanity. The report has prompted human rights groups to call on the U.S. and U.K. to halt weapons shipments to the Saudis and their allies. In Britain, Labour has demanded details from Cameron about British involvement in the war, and Human Rights Watch has charged that the report proves that the British government lied about the way that weapons sold to the Saudis were being used:
David Mepham, the U.K. Director of Human Rights Watch, said the report’s findings “flatly contradict repeated statements made by British ministers about the actions of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.”
“For almost a year, (Foreign Secretary Philip) Hammond has made the false and misleading claim that there is no evidence of laws of war violations by the U.K.’s Saudi ally and other members of the coalition,” he said. Hammond made the comments to lawmakers in the House of Commons this month.
The U.N. report found the coalition was responsible for scores of attacks in which their forces bombed civilian targets:
The panel documented that the coalition had conducted airstrikes targeting civilians and civilian objects, in violation of international humanitarian law, including camps for internally displaced persons and refugees; civilian gatherings, including weddings; civilian vehicles, including buses; civilian residential areas; medical facilities; schools; mosques; markets, factories and food storage warehouses; and other essential civilian infrastructure, such as the airport in Sana’a, the port in Hudaydah and domestic transit routes.
It should go without saying that the U.S. should have no part in this appalling and unnecessary war, and the findings of this report should prompt the administration to cut off all support that it has been providing to the Saudis and their allies. Unfortunately, we know that the administration isn’t going to do this, and so the U.S. will continue to enable an atrocious war that appears to include the commission of crimes against humanity.