Iranian NGO Urges ICC to Probe Saudi-Led Coalition War Crimes in Yemen
Iranian Center for International Criminal Law (ICICL) filed a communication under Article 15 of the Rome Statute to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on Monday, requesting the Prosecutor to open a preliminary examination on war crimes allegedly committed by the so-called Saudi-led coalition since 2015 and during the ongoing non-international armed conflict in Yemen.
The communication is submitted with the aim of supporting Yemini victims by bringing those individuals responsible for the commission of most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole to justice, and fighting against impunity which Yemen has been suffering from for a long time by offering the Prosecutor a path to justice that should be followed.
In its communication, ICICL has provided legal arguments based on publicly available information, disseminated by UN bodies, independent NGOs and the media, in order to convince the Prosecutor to initiate preliminary investigations into the alleged war crimes committed on the territory of Yemen, namely intentionally directing attacks against civilians; intentionally directing attacks against personnel, installations, material, units or vehicles involved in humanitarian assistance missions; attacks against buildings dedicated to hospitals and places where the sick and wounded are collected; intentionally directing attacks against protected objects, including buildings dedicated to education.
Yemen is not a State Party to the Court, and, therefore, the ICC lacks territorial jurisdiction to engage in the situation of Yemen. The communique, nevertheless, has relied on personal jurisdiction of the World’s Criminal Court with regard to Jordanian, and to some extent British, nationals, since Jordan and United Kingdom are both States Parties to the Rome Statute, and have been involved in the current armed conflict in Yemen. Jordan is one of the members of the Saudi-led Coalition, and UK has been supplying the Coalition with weaponry and intelligence information, and as the communication, argues, officials of these States are responsible, whether as the principal or accessory, for the crimes committed by the Coalition in Yemen.
ICC is an international criminal court established in 2002 by the Rome Statute to fight against impunity around the world by prosecuting individuals responsible for the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression. To date, there are 122 States parties to the Rome Statute.
Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen since March 2015 to restore power to fugitive president Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. The Saudi-led aggression has so far killed more than 20,000 Yemenis, including hundreds of women and children. Despite Riyadh’s claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi bombers are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.
Yemen is the world’s largest humanitarian crisis with more than 22 million people in need and is seeing a spike in needs, fueled by ongoing conflict, a collapsing economy and diminished social services and livelihoods. The blockade on Yemen has smothered humanitarian deliveries of food and medicine to the import-dependent state.
The UN has repeatedly criticized the Saudi-UAE-led military coalition’s bombing campaign and placed it on a blacklist of child rights violators last year.
A UN panel has also compiled a detailed report of civilian casualties caused by the Saudi military and its allies during their war against Yemen, saying the Riyadh-led coalition has used precision-guided munitions in its raids on civilian targets.