UN urged to investigate Saudi Arabia’s war crimes in Yemen
Dozens of human rights groups have called on the UN General Assembly to create a new panel of independent experts to investigate war crimes by Saudi Arabia and its allies in Yemen for future prosecution.
Some 60 groups, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, called in a joint statement on Thursday for a fresh investigation.
They accused Saudia Arabia and the United Arab Emirates of an "aggressive lobbying campaign" to quash that Geneva-based expert panel set up four years ago.
Bahrain and some other members of the UN Human Rights Council pushed through a vote in October to end its war crimes investigations in Yemen, in a stinging defeat for Western states.
Saudi Arabia has “committed atrocities with impunity," Agnes Callamard, secretary-general of Amnesty International, told a press conference.
The United Nations had failed the Yemeni people who have endured years of widely-documented suffering, she said.
"Bullying and bribing and corruption of the system has won the day," Callamard said.
"Saudi Arabia and the UAE and their allies shamelessly and aggressively lobbied states through their capital cities and got rid of the Group of Eminent Experts."
Saudi Arabia, backed by the United States and regional allies, launched the war on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing back to power the government of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and crushing the Ansarullah movement.
The war has left hundreds of thousands of Yemenis dead, and displaced millions more. It has also destroyed Yemen’s infrastructure and spread famine and infectious diseases there.
Despite heavily-armed Saudi Arabia’s incessant bombardment of the impoverished country, the Yemeni armed forces and the Popular Committees have grown steadily in strength against the Saudi-led invaders and left Riyadh and its allies bogged down in the country.