Responding to a scathing report published today by the United Nations Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen (GEE) which concludes that all parties to the conflict may be guilty of war crimes, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East research director, said:
“The GEE, in its first report, confirms what we have known for the past three years, namely that all parties to the conflict in Yemen have acted with utter disregard for civilian lives. The Saudi Arabia-led coalition and allied forces, Huthi and Yemeni government aligned forces have consistently carried out unlawful attacks, restricted access to humanitarian aid, carried out widespread arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, child recruitment and other serious violations that have and continue to inflict unimaginable suffering on Yemen’s civilian population.
“Scrutiny and strong action from the international community are more crucial than ever. The USA, UK and other states should do everything in their power to prevent further violations and address the catastrophic humanitarian crisis. They should start by immediately stopping the flow of arms to the country and end the Coalition’s arbitrary restrictions on humanitarian assistance and essential imports.
“The armed conflict is still ongoing, and the GEE’s mandate should be renewed ahead of the 39thsession of the Human Rights Council next month. It is imperative that it can investigate new violations and abuses, and identify those responsible, with the same depth and rigour.”
On September 2017, the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) passed a resolution (number 36/31) to establish a Group of Eminent Experts (GEE) on Yemen involving international and regional experts with knowledge of human rights law and the context of Yemen for one year, renewable as authorized.
On December 2017, three independent experts were appointed and the GEE began its work in February 2018.
The GEE was mandated to investigate violations and abuses committed by all parties to the conflict in Yemen between September 2014 and June 2018, and to identify, where possible, those responsible. It carried out six investigative missions to Yemen between March and May 2018, visiting the governorates of Hodeidah, Sa’da, Sana’a and Aden. It also reported having shared information linking specific violations or abuses with purported perpetrators with the UN High Commissioner confidentially.