By Ian Krietzberg
U.N. officials created a confidential report on Sept. 3, potentially implicating France, the U.S., the U.K. and Iran in the commission of war crimes in Yemen, according to CNN.
The list is derived from the latest investigations into the four-year conflict involving Yemen, according to Reuters. The conflict began in 2011, when Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh was forced to step down — a move that was meant to stabilize the country, but instead, according to the BBC, resulted in civil war.
The fighting broke out in 2014, when a Houthi Shia rebel cell began to seize territory, first taking control of the northern portion of the Saada province and neighboring areas, according to the BBC.
According to The New York Times, the conflict has claimed at least 7,000 lives so far, although those numbers may be a “gross underestimate.”
“‘The parties to the conflict in Yemen are responsible for an array of human rights violations and violations of humanitarian law,’” said Melissa Parke, a member of the U.N. panel responsible for the report, to CNN. “‘Some of these are likely to amount to war crimes.’”
According to the BBC, Parke also argued that the supply of weapons is only prolonging the conflict and suffering of Yemeni people.
According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the expert panel at the U.N. conference further expressed in its Sept. 3 report that the investigation has found evidence and allegations of torture, rape and possible starvation, as well as “indiscriminate” airstrikes — all peformed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates against the Houthi movement. By supplying the anti-Houthi coalition with weapons and intelligence, the U.S., the U.K. and France possibly become complicit in the potential crimes being committed in the war.
Iranian spokesman Alireza Miryousefi also responded to the allegations against his country, saying that the claim that Iran may be responsible for the commission of war crimes is “‘beyond ridiculous,’” according to CNN.
“‘The Saudi coalition, with assistance from the West, is waging war on Yemen and committing documented war crimes, while Iran has repeatedly asked for negotiations to end the war,’” he said, according to CNN.
This U.N. investigation seems even more poignant, as the panel happened not long after one of the deadliest airstrikes in the Yemen conflict, where the Saudi coalition attacked a Houthi prison, killing more than 100 people, according to CNN.
“‘There are no clean hands in this conflict,’” said Charles Garraway, member of the expert panel, according to The New York Times, “‘Everybody, everybody is responsible.’”