Days after a UN report said that some of the air raids carried out by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen may amount to war crimes, the U.S.’ Deputy Ambassador to Yemen has called for speedy and transparent probe into these raids.
Deputy U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Ana Escrogima in an interview to Qatari news channel Aljazeera called for the perpetrators of the attacks that have killed hundreds of innocent Yemenis to be held accountable.
Escorgima's calls came after a team of UN-mandated investigators said in a report they had "reasonable grounds to believe that the parties to the armed conflict in Yemen have committed a substantial number of violations of international humanitarian law."
Like this month’s attack on a school bus carried out by Saudi-Arabian air force which killed 44 school children, the report notes that coalition air strikes have caused the most direct civilian casualties. The report confirms that coalition airstrikes have hit residential areas, markets, funerals, weddings, detention facilities, civilian boats and even medical facilities.
The report added that a blockade of Yemeni ports and airspace may have violated international humanitarian law as it has led to 22 million Yemenis in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.
Kamel Jendoubi, who heads the UN team, said the investigators had identified a number of alleged perpetrators. "A confidential list of these individuals will be presented today to the [UN] High Commissioner" for Human Rights, he told journalists in Geneva.
"The group of experts has reason to believe the government of Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, are responsible for violations of human rights," said Jendoubi.
But, the deputy ambassador’s statements are a recent voicing of concern from the Trump Administration which has supported Saudi Arabia and has even supplied it with laser-guided precision missiles which have been used in the attacks on Houthi rebels. But, these missiles were found to have been used in the air raids that killed 44 children earlier this month.
Escorgima’s statement follows a warning by U.S. Defence Secretary James Mattis on Tuesday. Mattis said that the support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen is "not unconditional" and urged them to "do everything humanly possible to avoid any innocent loss of life."