YEMEN Press Agency

Activists: Saudi pressure threatens UN investigation into war crimes on Yemen

SANAA, Oct. 07 (YPA) – Human rights activists said on Thursday that Saudi Arabia had exerted intense pressure against a Western decision extending the mandate of United Nations investigators who documented war crimes in Yemen committed by the Saudi-led coalition.

The proposal, submitted by countries including the Netherlands and Canada, is scheduled to be discussed Thursday at a session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Afrah Nasser, a Yemen researcher at US-based Human Rights Watch, said in a statement: “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a major party to the conflict in Yemen and accused of serious violations including war crimes, along with its coalition allies, is engaged in a campaign Unrelenting pressure to deter states in the Human Rights Council from renewing the mandate of the investigators’ group.”

She added that if the council acquiesced to Saudi pressure and failed to extend the mandate for two years, it would be a “disgrace on the council’s credibility and a slap in the face for the victims.”

A joint statement issued by the “Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies” and the Yemeni human rights group ‘Mwatana’ said that a Saudi pressure campaign appears to be intensifying worldwide in an attempt to cancel support for the decision and thwart the group of investigators.

In his latest presentation of his report last month, Kamel Al-Jendoubi, head of the independent expert group, said the coalition’s airstrikes “continue to inflict heavy casualties on the civilian population.”

Al-Jendoubi added that since March 2015, it is estimated that the coalition has carried out more than 23,000 airstrikes and that more than 18,000 civilians have been killed or injured.

International experts’ report had affirmed that the crimes committed in Yemen amount to war crimes, pointing to the need to refer Yemen’s file to an independent international court, or the International Criminal Court.