Saudi Arabia is committing systematic war crimes, verging on genocide in Yemen

Saudi Arabia is committing systematic war crimes, verging on genocide in Yemen
Saudi Arabia is committing systematic war crimes, verging on genocide in Yemen

Five children have lost their lives in an attack, which targeted al-Mokha District of Ta’izz Province in Yemen’s southwest. Two other people were also killed in another Saudi air raid in Dhamar province in central Yemen.

The United Nations has warned about the dire humanitarian situation in the impoverished Arab country, as Saudi Arabia presses ahead with its war on Yemen.

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A war crimes lawyer believes Saudi Arabia is committing “systematic war crimes” in Yemen, adding that its crimes are “verging on genocide” under the Geneva Conventions, because Riyadh is systematically targeting children.

According to the analyst, there should be some sort of institution where its members can hold Saudi Arabia to account and start legal proceedings, because certainly there is plenty of evidence that Riyadh is committing war crimes in a systematic way.

“First I want to say that because of the Geneva Conventions and the specific protections accorded to children, it is clear that … in my opinion if a court were to look at this, they may come out with a verdict of genocide,” Alfred Lambremont Webre told Press TV in an interview on Sunday.

The analyst also opined that Saudi Arabia’s “rogue regime” is in a “state of turbulence” itself.

Webre further criticized the international institutions, including the International Criminal Court (ICC), for their inaction with regard to Saudi Arabia’s war crimes in Yemen.

According to the analyst, there should be some sort of institution where its members can hold Saudi Arabia to account and start legal proceedings, because certainly there is plenty of evidence that Riyadh is committing war crimes in a systematic way.

Saudi Arabia has been incessantly pounding Yemen since March 2015 in a bid to reinstall the country’s former government and crush the Houthi Ansarullah movement.

In a report released on Thursday, Yemen’s Legal Center for Rights and Development, an independent monitoring group, put the civilian death toll in war-torn Arab country at 12,041.

The fatalities, it said, comprise 2,568 children and 1,870 women.

The rights body said the bombings have also wounded 20,001 civilians, including 2,354 children and 1,960 women, while more than four million others have been displaced.

A military intervention was launched by Saudi Arabia in 2015, leading a coalition of nine Middle Eastern countries, to influence the outcome of the Yemeni Civil War. Code-named Operation Decisive Storm, the intervention initially consisted of a bombing campaign and later saw a naval blockade and the deployment of ground forces into Yemen. The Saudi-led coalition has attacked the positions of the Houthi militia and loyalists of the former President of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, allegedly supported by Iran (Saudi Arabia and the United States claim, denied by Iran) , in response to a request from the internationally-recognized but domestically opposed government of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi.

Fighter jets and ground forces from Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain also took part in the operation. Djibouti, Eritrea and Somalia made their airspace, territorial waters and military bases available to the coalition. The United States provided intelligence and logistical support, including aerial refueling and search-and-rescue for downed coalition pilots. It also accelerated the sale of weapons to coalition states. US and Britain have deployed their military personnel in the command and control centre responsible for Saudi-led air strikes on Yemen, having access to lists of targets. Pakistan was called on by Saudi Arabia to join the coalition, but its parliament voted to maintain neutrality. On 21 April 2015, the Saudi-led military coalition announced an end to Operation Decisive Storm, saying the intervention’s focus would “shift from military operations to the political process”. The kingdom and its coalition partners said they would be launching political and peace efforts, which they called Operation Restoring Hope. However, the coalition did not rule out using force, saying it would respond to threats and prevent Houthi militants from operating within Yemen.

The war has received widespread criticism and had a dramatic worsening effect on the humanitarian situation, that reached the level of a “humanitarian disaster” or “humanitarian catastrophe”. After the Saudi-led coalition declared the entire Saada Governorate a military target, the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen and Human Rights Watch said that air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition on Saada city in Yemen were in breach of international law. On 1 July UN declared for Yemen a “level-three” emergency – the highest UN emergency level – for a period of six months. Human rights groups repeatedly blamed the Saudi-led military coalition for killing civilians and destroying health centers and other infrastructure with airstrikes. The de facto blockade left 78% (20 million) of the Yemeni population in urgent need of food, water and medical aid. Aid ships are allowed, but the bulk of commercial shipping, on which the country relies, is blocked. In one occasion, coalition jets prevented an Iranian Red Crescent plane from landing by bombing Sana’a International Airport’s (SIA) runway, which blocked aid delivery via air. As of 10 December, more than 2,500,000 people had been internally displaced by the fighting. Many countries evacuated more than 23,000 foreign citizens from Yemen. More than 168,000 people fled Yemen for Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan and Oman.

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