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Yemen war victims seek ICC probe into alleged war crimes

(Photo: Jordan News)
NICOSIA  — London-based lawyers representing victims of Yemen's ongoing conflict on Monday called for an International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into alleged war crimes by pro-government forces.اضافة اعلان
Yemen's internationally recognized government has been locked in battle with Iran-backed Houthi rebels since 2014.

A Saudi-led military coalition intervened the following year to support the government, shortly after the Houthis seized the capital Sanaa.

Since then, the insurgents have taken control of much of the north, with tens of thousands — mostly civilians — killed in the conflict and millions displaced.

The United Nations has described the situation as the world's worst humanitarian crisis, while UN experts have accused both sides of war crimes.

On Monday, Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers said it submitted evidence to the ICC to back allegations of coalition war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The lawyers, who made the submission on behalf of hundreds of survivors and relatives of those killed, called for the investigation of three incidents, according to a statement.

These include a 2016 coalition air strike that killed 140 people at a funeral in Sanaa, and a 2018 air strike on a school bus in northern Yemen that killed at least 40 children.

The coalition has admitted that "mistakes" were made, and said it would put on trial military personnel suspected of being behind strikes on civilians, including the school bus strike.

"At the time of the attack the coalition claimed they would investigate and hold the perpetrators to account. Of course, they did no such thing," Almudena Bernabeu, co-founder of Guernica 37, said in the statement.

Neither Yemen nor Saudi Arabia are parties to the ICC's founding Rome Statute.

Of the countries making up the coalition, only Jordan has ratified the statute.
The ICC has no obligation to consider complaints filed to the prosecutor by individuals or groups.

The prosecutor can decide independently what cases to submit to judges at the court, and judges then decide whether to allow a preliminary investigation by the prosecutor, which can then be followed by a formal investigation, and if warranted, charges.

In the majority of cases such complaints do not lead to investigations, according to the ICC.

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